Finding a cure for childhood epilepsy

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Imagine a future where epilepsy is screened at birth and babies are treated before they have a single seizure.

Until 1995, epilepsy was commonly understood to be the consequence of brain trauma – a bump on the head, a tumour or stroke.

This changed when Professor Ingrid Scheffer, a world-leading epilepsy researcher and clinician from the University of Melbourne, along with Professor Samuel Berkovic and others, found the first gene for epilepsy, kickstarting the global revolution on the understanding of epilepsy – from its definition, to how it can be treated.

It is doubtful if any medical condition has been so universally neglected, due to a combination of social stigma, low profile and lack of resources, as epilepsy. World Health Organization

Now in 2019, we are in the era of precision medicine. Professor Steven Petrou of the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, a globally-recognised leader in the field, has partnered with Professors Berkovic and Scheffer, leading a coordinated effort to revolutionise the treatment of epilepsy.

Precision medicine is a practise that enables the ‘correction’ of genetic abnormalities causing serious disease. It is targeted at the root of an illness, rather than the symptoms. This has the potential to cure severe childhood epilepsies.

The team are now at a turning point. With some early success through developing a precision medicine therapy for the SCN2A gene, they are working to prove this radical new approach can create accessible treatments that will improve the lives of people living with epilepsy.

But they can’t do it without your help.

Professors Berkovic, Petrou and Scheffer have a vision to relegate severe forms of childhood epilepsy to the pages of history. They want to create a future where all children can lead happy, healthy lives free of the symptoms and consequences of epilepsy.

With your support, an end to this disease is in sight.

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Photo: Leader Newspapers


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