UNION CITY, Calif., Oct. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOR) announced that it is partnering with the Child Neurology Foundation (CNF) to fund a $30,000 grant to support research into infantile spasms (IS). Catherine Chu-Shore, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital was selected by CNF as the recipient of this first-ever "Logan Infantile Spasms Research Award."
"Questcor is committed to CNF and the entire infantile spasms community," said Steve Cartt, Executive Vice President and Chief Business Officer for Questcor. "Further research into this devastating condition is imperative and we feel strongly about supporting initiatives that will advance the knowledge and treatment of infantile spasms."
Dr. Chu-Shore, whose application was reviewed by 10 of the nation's top child neurologists and then selected by the CNF Board of Directors, said she will focus her research on the "functional network connectivity" in infantile spasms. IS is a severe, ultra-rare form of childhood epilepsy that can lead to long-term cognitive impairment if it is not quickly and successfully treated. The goal of her research is to identify early metrics of altered brain connectivity which can serve as biomarkers for prognostication and treatment stratification for infants with IS.
"I am very grateful to be the recipient of the Child Neurology Foundation's Logan Infantile Spasms Research Award," said Dr. Chu-Shore. "This grant provides me with the opportunity to develop my career as a physician scientist and better understand the mechanisms of pediatric neurologic disease and their impact on functional neurodevelopment."
Dr. Chu-Shore completed her child neurology training at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Following a year where she was involved in post-doctoral research, she then completed a combination epilepsy and neurophysiology fellowship at MGH. In 2010, Dr. Chu-Shore joined the staff at MGH in the Pediatric Neurology and Neurophysiology Programs.
Dr. Chu-Shore will be honored and presented with the award at a special luncheon today at the CNS Annual Meeting in Providence, Rhode Island.
"Research into orphan disorders like infantile spasms often suffers from a lack of funding," said Lawrence W. Brown, MD, Associate Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and President of the Child Neurology Foundation. "That is why we are pleased to partner with Questcor Pharmaceuticals. They have made a multi-year commitment to fund basic research into the causes and consequences of infantile spasms. Our hope is that better understanding of the underlying pathophysiology will lead to new and even more effective treatments for this very rare but devastating form of childhood epilepsy."
Infantile Spasms is a severe, ultra-rare form of epilepsy that affects infants, with onset typically occurring during the first year of life in about 90 percent of cases. IS incidence is estimated at approximately 2,000 new cases in the U.S. per year, which can be classified as an ultra-orphan disease. For comparison, orphan disease designation pertains to diseases that affect fewer than 200,000 people. IS patients experience rapid, characteristic muscular contraction or extensions lasting one to two seconds and occurring in clusters ranging from a few spasms to more than 100 spasms per cluster. Often, in the beginning, the attacks are brief, infrequent and not typical, so it is quite common for the diagnosis to be delayed. Frequently, due to the pattern of the attacks and the cry that an infant gives during or after an attack, the attacks are sometimes initially thought to be due to colic or gastric distress.
About the Child Neurology Foundation
Founded in October 2000, the Child Neurology Foundation was created as the outreach and philanthropic arm of the Child Neurology Society. Members of the CNS include more than 1,300 child neurologists from the United States, Canada, as well as more than 30 other countries around the world.
The Foundation's mission is to advocate for children and adolescents with neurologic and developmental disorders; fund neurologic research of young investigators; promote awareness of career opportunities in child neurology; provide public, professional, and patient education programs; and support the activities and mission of the CNS.
For more information on the CNF, please visit www.childneurologyfoundation.org.
About Questcor Pharmaceuticals
Questcor is a biopharmaceutical company whose products help patients with serious, difficult-to-treat medical conditions. Questcor's specific areas of focus are in the fields of neurology and nephrology and the company is currently supporting research efforts in a variety of conditions having significant unmet medical need. For more information, please visit www.questcor.com.
SOURCE Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc.