A new international genomics project will try to uncover the genetic basis of epilepsy and further the search for new diagnostic and therapeutic options.
Epilepsy is a chronic neurological condition that affects around 1 in 100 people and comes in many different forms; a small proportion of epilepsies are inherited in the form of a monogenic disease, but many more are thought to involve multiple contributory genetic factors. Now the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke has provided funding of US $25 million as part of a genetics of epilepsy ‘Center without Walls’ collaborative research initiative.
Led by Professor David Goldstein, director of the Duke Center for Human Genome Variation, the project will also involve researchers in the University of California, San Francisco, the University of Melbourne, and other international research institutes. It will entail analysis of genomes from 4,000 epilepsy patients. Professor Goldstein said: "This grant allows us to study the genomes of epilepsy patients on a sufficiently large scale that we should be able to identify many new genes involved in the risk of epilepsy".