CHICAGO, Nov. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy today announced that it will create a new research program and focus with a grant of approximately 10 million dollars over 5 years to go toward epilepsy research in veterans with traumatic brain injury. The grant was awarded by the Department of Defense, Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury Research Program, award number W81XWH-15-2-0069.
The grant will support a team approach to researching the prevention and treatment of Post-Traumatic Epilepsy (PTE). The incidence of epilepsy in active service members increased by an alarming 52 percent from 2006 to 2010. Approximately 8 percent of those afflicted have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury (TBI), making it the most common predisposing condition. Twenty-four percent of military-related epilepsy is associated with prior TBI.
"Our veterans deserve much better after serving our country," said Susan Axelrod, founding chair of CURE. "In the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan the "signature wound" was traumatic brain injury. Those who suffer severe TBI face up to a 50 percent chance of developing Post-Traumatic Epilepsy (PTE), with the symptoms of epilepsy (seizures) manifesting themselves immediately or even up to fifteen years post-injury. At CURE we are committed to exploring the complex underlying mechanisms of post-traumatic epilepsy and ways to treat it more effectively and one day even prevent it entirely."
"CURE applauds the U.S. Department of Defense for dedicating this significant amount of resources to epilepsy research," said Robin Harding, Chief Executive Officer. "We are grateful to those who back our effort to find a cure for this disease through research and by increasing awareness of epilepsy's prevalence and devastating consequences for patients and their families. Investing in research is the cornerstone of discovery and an ultimate cure."
"The next great breakthrough is not going to come from a single researcher working in isolation," said Julie Milder, PhD, Associate Research Director at CURE and Program Officer for the DOD grant. "We strongly believe in the power of collaboration and its ability to move science forward faster. We are incredibly grateful for this opportunity to move team science into the area of post-traumatic epilepsy-- one that is desperate for greater understanding."
Next steps for the program include convening a meeting of key opinion leaders in epilepsy, traumatic brain injury and veterans' health to determine opportunities of biggest impact over the next five years. The outcomes of the meeting will serve as the basis for the development of a targeted team science research program which will be announced through a request for applications in late spring.
Since its inception, CURE has been at the forefront of epilepsy research, raising more than $32 million to fund research and other initiatives that will lead the way to a cure for epilepsy. In addition to funding grants for young and established investigators and awarding more than 190 cutting-edge projects in 15 countries around the world to date, CURE also has signature programs that include an Infantile Spasms (IS) Research Initiative, the Epilepsy Genetics Initiative (EGI), a targeted research program directed at Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) and conference support and seminars. More than 92% of CURE's expenditures go toward its mission. For more information, please visit www.cureepilepsy.org.
CURE's mission is to cure epilepsy, transforming and saving millions of lives. We identify and fund cutting-edge research, challenging scientists worldwide to collaborate and innovate in pursuit of this goal. Our commitment is unrelenting.
Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center. Epilepsy in active component service members, 1998-2012. MSMR. 2013;20(5):19–22.
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Annegers JF, Hauser WA, Coan SP, Rocca WA. (1998) A population based study of seizures after traumatic brain injuries. N Engl J Med 338:20–24.