CURE Forms First Dream Team to Fight Childhood Epilepsy Syndrome
Since announcing the launch of its new Infantile Spasms Research Initiative last month, Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE) has awarded eight teams of investigators with $1.3 million in grants to proceed with cutting-edge research to find a cure for infantile spasms, a rare childhood epilepsy syndrome. Infantile Spasms (IS) can have profoundly negative long-term developmental and cognitive consequences. Currently available treatments are often ineffective and frequently associated with substantial adverse effects.
The teams will be led by the following principal investigators:
Aristea Galanopoulou, MD, PhD, Albert Einstein College of Medicine – New York
Libor Velisek, MD, PhD, New York Medical College
John Swann, PhD, Baylor College of Medicine – Houston
Jeff Noebels, MD, PhD, Baylor College of Medicine – Houston
Chris Dulla, PhD, Tufts University – Boston
Manisha Patel, PhD, University of Colorado Denver
Doug Nordli, MD, Lurie Children’s Hospital – Chicago
Elliott Sherr, MD, PhD, University of California San Francisco
These lead investigators bring a wealth of expertise and perspectives to a ‘dream team’ that spans adult and pediatric neurology, basic mechanisms of the epilepsies, animal modeling, human genetics and clinical trial design and execution.
“A big part of what we do at CURE is break down barriers—specifically the barriers that have impeded progress toward a cure,” said Susan Axelrod, chair and founding member of the organization. “We recognize that this dream team is a powerful alliance for research toward a cure, and are proud to be at the forefront of team science.”
The projects associated with this initiative involve investigators at multiple institutions, emphasizing a novel, team approach to research. The unconventional research method encourages the investigators to function as a united team and remain focused on the common goal of finding a cure for infantile spasms.
According to Dr. H. Steve White, CURE Senior Research Advisor, “The Infantile Spasms Initiative is unique in that it involves focused ‘multidisciplinary team science’ that will be driven by the outcomes of the research in a responsive and timely manner.”
The initiative is a multi-year commitment worth several million dollars; CURE has allocated a total of $1.3 million in its first year. “We are extremely excited about the potential that this focused effort has to further our understanding of the causes of infantile spasms and the translation of basic science into better treatments and eventually a cure for infantile spasms,” says White.