TCSF's 2nd Annual SCN8A Epilepsy Clinician, Researcher, and Family Gathering on Friday December 2nd, in conjunction with the American Epilepsy Society Conference in Houston Texas
The Cute Syndrome Foundation held our second annual SCN8A Epilepsy Research, Clinician, and Family Gathering on Friday December 2nd, in conjunction with the American Epilepsy Society Conference in Houston Texas. For the second year in a row we hosted over 100 SCN8A clinicians, researchers, and family members for an event built around sharing clinical information, research data, and family stories -- and the idea that these three groups can work together and help inform each other.
In January 2016, as a collaborative effort with our Brazilian partners, Ajude o Rafa, The Cute Syndrome Foundation awarded $25,000 the 2016 SCN8A Epilepsy Research Grant to Dr Miriam Meisler of The University of Michigan.
On December 5th in Philadelphia about 85 guests--including seven children with SCN8A, 35 family members, and over 50 researchers and clinicians--met for the Cute Syndrome's first SCN8A Epilepsy Clinician, Researcher, and Family Gathering. The meeting allowed parents of children with SCN8A to tell leading researchers and clinicians more about their children and their lives. The meeting also served as a venue for clinical data about effective treatment of SCN8A to be shared among clinicians, and for researchers to share their research with the families--and each other.
There is fantastic news for the treatment of PCDH19 Epilepsy. The University of Adelaide reports on the work of Prof. Josef Gecz, whose PCDH19 research has been supported with the help of our partner organization, Insieme per la Ricerca PCDH19 (Together for PCDH19 Research) in Italy. We are grateful that our partners recognized the potential for a promising drug treatment in Prof. Gecz's work and put their resources toward supporting him.
From the press release:
An international team, led by a University of Adelaide genetics expert, has made a breakthrough discovery which is expected to help thousands of young girls worldwide who are suffering from a rare yet debilitating form of epilepsy. Professor Jozef Gecz, from the University of Adelaide’s Robinson Research Institute, was a key player in identifying the responsible gene and mutations in this female-only epileptic syndrome, in 2008. In breakthrough research published in Oxford Journals, Human Molecular Genetics, Professor Gecz has now found a treatment for this disorder. A United States pharmaceutical company Marinus Pharmaceuticals is now recruiting affected girls as part of the world’s first clinical trial to test the therapy.
Insieme per la Ricerca PCDH19 and The Cute Syndrome Foundation are thrilled to announce that we have awarded a $20,000 grant to Dr. Jack Parent of the University of Michigan for his research using PCDH19 iPS cells. Dr Parent was a runner-up for our 2014 PCDH19 research grant (awarded to Dr. Maria Passafaro) and we are thrilled to support his research. It is our aim in 2015 to continue to support the most promising research proposals we received last year.
Dr. Parent's research description follows:
The goals of our research are to understand the role of protocadherin-19 (PCDH19) in brain development and how PCDH19 mutations lead to epilepsy. To accomplish these goals, we are modeling PCDH19 Epilepsy using two cutting edge scientific approaches. First, we generate (excitatory and inhibitory) brain cells from patient skin biopsies using the induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell method. With patient-derived brain cells in a dish, we can investigate the mechanisms by which altered nerve cell development and excitability cause seizures. We are also generating a rat model by disrupting the PCDH19 gene in a subset of cells in the embryonic rat brain. To do this we use a technique called in utero electroporation combined with sophisticated gene editing methods. We will examine how brain cells that lose PCDH19 affect development of the cerebral cortex and nerve cell excitability. Both patient-derived cell and rat models will also provide platforms to screen for new therapies to treat PCDH19 Epilepsy.
Hillary Savoie's writing was featured on Motherlode, the New York Time parenting blog. In her post on June 28th she reveals some wonderful news about her daughter Esmé: Esmé can read. Check out the post here: http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/06/28/esme-can-read
Hillary's writing also has recently appeared on The Mighty and Complex Child Magazine.