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Epilepsy Foundation Pipeline Conference to Feature Winners of the SUDEP Challenge on Identifying Biomarkers Predicting Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP)

Epilepsy News From: Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Winners Will Present on Their Findings in San Francisco, CA, February 23-24, 2018

February 15, 2018, LANDOVER, MD -

The Epilepsy Foundation Pipeline Conference will feature the winners of the SUDEP Institute’s 2nd milestone of its fourth challenge, “Developing Predictive Biomarkers of Epilepsy Seizures.” This is part of the fourth and final challenge, in partnership with InnoCentive, that will ultimately award more than $1 million in prizes.

Each year, more than 1 in 1,000 adults and 1 in 4,500 children with epilepsy die from SUDEP, or sudden unexpected death in epilepsy. If seizures are uncontrolled, the risk of SUDEP increases to more than 1 out of 150.

“There are few interventions that reliably predict and prevent SUDEP in people with epilepsy. Identifying biomarkers to predict SUDEP is a major unmet medical need,” said Director of the SUDEP Institute Sally Schaeffer. “The SUDEP Institute is eagerly spearheading this biomarker challenge to develop a therapeutic intervention for those at risk. As the new director of the SUDEP Institute and, most importantly, a parent who has lost a child to SUDEP, I am looking forward to the next milestone in the challenge.”

The purpose of the SUDEP Institute challenge is to harness interdisciplinary approaches and alternative perspectives in the science community to find solutions to the SUDEP puzzle.

“It was a privilege to participate with expert colleagues in the field to critically review the applications submitted to SUDEP to determine biomarkers that could identify the likelihood of these terrible outcomes before they occur,” said Holli Hamilton MD, MPH, Senior Medical Officer, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health. “Requiring that the many proposed approaches be inexpensive, rapid and serve as a prognostic biomarker was a challenging benchmark.”

Four winners were each awarded $25,000.

  • “Early Detection of Myocardial Injury as a Biomarker for SUDEP in Living Epilepsy Patients,” by Barbara L. Kroner PhD, John M. Schreiber MD, and Lowell H. Frank MD
  • “Cardio-Respiratory Biomarkers of SUDEP from an Unobtrusive Wearable Monitor,” by Kristen H. Gilchrist PhD, Meghan Hegarty-Craver PhD, and William Gaillard MD
  • “Multivariate computer based classification of biomarkers for SUDEP,” by Peter Carlen MD, Berj Bardakjian PhD, Stiliyan Kalitzin PhD, and Martin del Campo MD
  • “PRESUDE - Brainstem MRI biomarker to Predict the risk of Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy,” by Carolina Ciumas PhD, Philippe Ryvlin MD, PhD, and Samden Lhatoo MD

The winners will present their findings at the Epilepsy Foundation Pipeline Conference February 22-23, 2018, in San Francisco, CA. The conference will bring together decision makers with a stake in the field of epilepsy treatment, therapeutic innovation, and product development.

The third milestone requires results that demonstrates the predictive efficacy of the biomarker(s). Submissions will be accepted until October 17, 2020 and reviewed as they are submitted. The first submission that meets all the challenge criteria will receive the final award of $800,000.


About Epilepsy and SUDEP

When a person has two unprovoked seizures or one unprovoked seizure with the likelihood of more, they are considered to have epilepsy. Epilepsy affects more than 3.4 million people in the U.S. and 65 million worldwide. This year, another 150,000 people will be diagnosed with epilepsy. Despite all available treatments, 3 out of 10 people with epilepsy continue to experience uncontrolled seizures while many more experience less than optimal seizure control. SUDEP is the leading epilepsy-related cause of death; each year in the U.S., SUDEP kills more than 3,000 people with epilepsy. For more information on Epilepsy and SUDEP.

About the Epilepsy Foundation

The Epilepsy Foundation, a national non-profit with more than 50 local organizations throughout the U.S., has led the fight against seizures since 1968. The Foundation is an unwavering ally for individuals and families impacted by epilepsy and seizures. The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation is: to lead the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives. The Foundation works to ensure that people with seizures have the opportunity to live their lives to their fullest potential. For additional information, please visit epilepsy.com.

“Like” the Epilepsy Foundation on Facebook at facebook.com/epilepsyfoundationofamerica and follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/epilepsyfdn.

About the Epilepsy Foundation and the SUDEP Institute

The SUDEP Institute is an initiative led by the Epilepsy Foundation that carries out SUDEP education and awareness programs for people affected by epilepsy and for medical professionals; drives and supports research into the causes of and ways to prevent SUDEP; offers a support network providing counseling, community, and resources for individuals and families affected by SUDEP; and works together with many epilepsy organizations to find the answers to SUDEP. For additional information, please visit epilepsy.com/sudep-institute.

Contact Name

Liz Dueweke MPH

Contact Phone

(301) 918-3783

Contact Email


Reviewed Date

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

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