The largest study of its kind, led by international researchers including scientists at RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland), has discovered 11 new genes associated with epilepsy.

The research is published in today’s issue of Nature Communications. It greatly advances knowledge of the underlying biological causes of epilepsy and may inform the development of new treatments for the condition.

The researchers found that the majority of current anti-epileptic drugs directly target one or more of the associated genes and identified an additional 166 drugs that do the same. These drugs are promising new candidates for epilepsy therapy as they directly target the genetic basis of the disease.

In addition to the biological insights provided by the findings, this study will encourage researchers to develop personalised and precision therapies for patients with difficult and complex epilepsy. This will provide better seizure control and will enable improved quality of life for patients and families.
consultant neurologist Norman Delanty, Associate Professor at RCSI, FutureNeuro and Beaumont Hospital.

Over 150 researchers, based across Europe, Australia, Asia, South America and North America, carried out the research. They worked together as part of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) Consortium on Complex Epilepsies. The ILAE Consortium was formed by researchers in 2010, recognising that the complexity of genetic and environmental factors underlying epilepsy would require research across massive datasets, and therefore unprecedented collaboration on an international scale. Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) part-funded the study.

Conducting a study of this size and scope is an incredible accomplishment that RCSI and FutureNeuro were delighted to help lead. We look forward to building on the results of this study and strengthening international collaborations
Professor Cavalleri.

 

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RCSI

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www.rcsi.ie