Driving the Development of New Therapies for Epilepsy; Accelerating the Advancement of Research from Laboratory to Person Living with Seizures.

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Looking back on the progress in the last generation, it is not surprising that the leaders in epilepsy research believe that a cure may be in sight. For the first time, we can think in terms of "cure"—not just "control."  Now is the time to build on the remarkable progress of the past few years. And we can do it by investing more money in scientific research than we ever have before.

The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation - New Therapy Commercialization Grants Program is to drive the development of new therapies for epilepsy, accelerating the advancement of research from the laboratory to the patient. The Foundation funds innovative senior level research projects led by the nation's leading scientists with the potential to discover new treatment options and ultimately a cure.

Epilepsy Foundation - New Therapy Commercialization Grants Program focuses on:

  • Research with potential to discover new therapies and a cure for seizure disorders.
  • Meaningful grants to senior level scientific and clinical investigators on the brink of new discoveries, working at the nation's leading academic and research institutions, and in industry.
  • Innovative cutting edge projects that could lead to breakthrough discoveries.
  • Research programs that might not otherwise be funded through traditional sources.
  • Projects that encourage collaboration among scientists and industry.  Every day, millions of people lose seconds, minutes or hours of their lives to seizures. These precious moments can never be regained. That's why the
  • Epilepsy Foundation - New Therapy Commercialization Grants Program funds research with the potential to discover new treatment options and ultimately a cure. The following are the most recent Epilepsy Foundation - New Therapy Commercialization Grants Program awards:

In May 2004, the Epilepsy Therapy Project announced its inaugural translational research grant recipient awards. The three grant recipients were chosen based on the breakthrough nature of each proposal and the potential to advance new treatments based on solid scientific and research foundations. These grants are unique in that they focus on projects demonstrating a clear path from research in the laboratory to new treatments for epilepsy.

Since the announcement of our inaugural awards, the Epilepsy Therapy Project and the Epilepsy Foundation formed the Epilepsy Foundation - New Therapy Commercialization Grants Program: a joint venture to fund new, innovative translational research to speed the search for new therapies and a cure for epilepsy. The Epilepsy Foundation - New Therapy Commercialization Grants Program focuses strictly on the field of translational epilepsy research and provides resources to accelerate the progress of breakthrough research and new therapies "from the bench to the bedside." The Epilepsy Foundation - New Therapy Commercialization Grants Program solicits grant proposals biannually.

In addition to the above, the Epilepsy Therapy Project supports the commercialization of research originating either in the private or the academic sector in order to facilitate the development of new treatments. The Epilepsy Therapy Project has made and continues to make investments in promising start-up companies with an emphasis on finding new treatments for epilepsy and assists in finding additional sources of funding for such companies.


Focused Ultrasound for Subcortical Epilepsy (FUSE) Study

Nathan B. Fountain MD
University of Virginia
Awarded $190,000

This clinical trial will use sound waves (focused ultrasound) to selectively destroy a small area of abnormal brain cells deep in the brain, such as hypothalamic hamartomas, that cause seizures. The sound waves are focused by a new technology and directed to the correct location by live ongoing magnetic resonance imaging.

Dry Sensor-based Neonatal EEG Monitoring (NEMO)

Tammy Tsuchida MD, PhD
Children's National Medical Center
Awarded $95,000

The principle goal of this proposal is to design, build and test an initial Neonatal EEG Monitor ("NEMO") prototype headset that can be subsequently developed into a product ready for FDA 510(d) premarket approval as the first medical-grade neonatal dry sensor system. This easy-to-use headset will fit a range of head shapes, enable EEG recording within 10 minutes, not injure delicate neonatal skin and can be used with any conventional EEG recording system, thereby increasing availability of monitoring.


Disposable Chips to Measure Antiepileptic Drug Serum Concentrations at POC

Utkan Demirci, PhD
Stanford University
Palo Alto, CA United States
Awarded $150,000

We propose to develop a disposable AED detection system to detect dose-related side-effects from seizures medication that can be performed anywhere and automated to handle a drop of blood obtained with a finger prick which can give results in approximately 10 minutes.


Prodrug/Enzyme Systems for Intranasal Treatment of Seizure Emergencies

James Cloyd PharmD
University of Minnesota, College of Pharmacy

Seizure emergencies can result in injury, increased medical costs and, if left untreated, can progress to status epilepticus. The only approved out-of-hospital treatment for seizure emergencies is rectal diazepam, but many patients and caregivers object to this route. We propose to develop water-based intranasal benzodiazepines that are easily administered and safely deliver high drug concentrations that rapidly terminate seizures.

Factors determining placebo response in drug-resistant focal epilepsy

Emilia Bagliella, PhD
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
New York, NY, United States
Awarded $100,000

The magnitude of placebo response is an important factor in the outcome of clinical trials, and an inflated placebo response can obscure true drug-placebo differences.  Failure to demonstrate drug–placebo differences where true differences exist encourages sponsors to terminate drug development programs prematurely, thus preventing patient access to effective treatments.  In this project we propose to analyze a large sample of data to determine the factors that affect placebo response in clinical trials.

Two open-label studies of CBD in Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes

Orrin Devinsky, MD
New York University School of Medicine
New York, NY, United States
Awarded $25,000

This is a joint project to investigate the safety and tolerability of a novel anti-epileptic drug, Cannabidiol (CBD).  Further, the two studies outlined in this proposal will provide a first look at efficacy in seizure control in two severe childhood epilepsy syndromes – Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut.   

MR-guided focused ultrasound for treatment of mesial TLE

Ryder Gwinn,MD
Swedish Neuroscience Institute
Seattle, WA, United States
Awarded $30,000

This project aims to be the world's first clinical investigation of MR-guided focused ultrasound as a potential completely noninvasive and radiation-free treatment alternative for medication refractory patients with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy.

Minimally invasive mapping and ablation to treat epilepsy

Gregory Worrell, MD, PhD
Mayo Clinic
Rochester, MN, United States
Awarded $50,000

Minimally invasive surgical techniques have revolutionized many areas of medicine; however, open surgery for epilepsy has remained unchanged for decades.  We propose minimally invasive catheter-based methods to replicate excellent outcomes of epilepsy surgery.  Our goals are improved outcomes, lower morbidity, lower cost and greater access to epilepsy diagnosis and treatment.


Counting seizures in outpatients using a wrist-worn multimodal sensor

Daniel Friedman, MD
New York University School of Medicine
New York, NY United States
Awarded $90,000

We will exam if a new kind of sensor worn on the wrist can easily and noninvasively detect seizures. A reliable and easy to use seizure-sensor can help physicians, patients and researchers to determine the response to treatment without having to rely on the patient’s report, which may be inaccurate.


HE3286 treatment of drug resistant epilepsy

Clarence Ahlem, M.S.
Vice President
Harbor Therapeutics, Inc.
San Diego, CA, United States
Awarded $62,642

HE3286 is an anti-inflammatory drug in clinical trials for other diseases, which may provide a novel treatment for epileptic seizures that are resistant to currently approved drugs. Because brain inflammation is linked to epilepsy, we will test HE3286 in epileptic mice to see if it decreases the number or duration of chronic seizures.