March column from the Editor-in-Chief
Joseph I. Sirven, M.D.
"No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow."
Happy March 2010. As the beginning of a new month arrives, we have all dealt with a difficult and historic winter from a weather perspective. However, with the arrival of March, our thoughts turn to the beginning of spring. Mirroring our springtime hopes, is the similar promise for the delivery of new treatment for individuals who suffer with epilepsy. As we begin this month we concluded a highly successful Epilepsy Pipeline Conference which was held in San Francisco on February 25th and 26th. The conference was another hopeful sign that the spring of new therapies and new options for seizures will soon follow. In this conference, which was intended to promote innovation and novel treatments, a Who’s Who of epilepsy scientists, clinicians, advocates, and individuals met with the goal of advancing epilepsy care. The conference began on February 25th with highlights from numerous companies and visionary individuals on their amazing ideas for the management of seizures. There is no shortage of potential options that are in the planning stages for management of seizures. Everything from devices that cool the brain; to wristwatches that are able to transmit seizure data to cell phones and other computer linked devices that can let physicians know what is ongoing with regards to their treatments in real-time was presented. This was followed by new approaches in basic science for being able to study epilepsy which in turn may help to elucidate new treatment options. On the second day, there was a discussion of the numerous medications that are currently in drug trials around the world. There were also discussions of potential markers for seizures that could revolutionize diagnosis by detecting epilepsy with a simple blood test to identify those individuals who have seizures.
As the conference ended, we hoped to have a year long version of this conference by the inauguration of the epilepsy pipeline wiki. To make this epilepsy pipeline conference live throughout the year and to make a useful resource for the epilepsy community, the Epilepsy Therapy Project is creating a new Epilepsy Pipeline Wiki which will be featured on the epilepsy.com website. The pipeline wiki will be created and edited by the epilepsy community and we are asking everyone out there in making this resource a reality. Our hope is that it will be a comprehensive and up-to-date review of every publicly disclosed new therapy, be it drug or device in the pipeline, and that this pipeline will help therapy developers to find the partners and financial resources necessary to making these new, exciting ideas a reality. The intent of the conference as well as the epilepsy pipeline wiki is about matchmaking and fostering relationships and collaborations among scientists, researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors in established companies so we hope our focus on the pipeline on the epilepsy.com website will accomplish these goals. Over the next several months, we will highlight throughout our various epilepsy.com platforms the various elements of the conference that occurred in San Francisco so that we are able to continually grow and learn and innovate our approach to seizures and epilepsy.
During March, we have two clinical-based hallway conversations that we hope that you find useful. On March 5th Dr. David Ficker, Associate Professor of Neurology at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, addressed the issue anti-epileptic drugs, how do you choose amongst the numerous options that are available. On March 17th Dr. Michael Sperling, an international expert on the issue of epilepsy surgery, will sit down with us and discuss when is epilepsy surgery a viable option for a patient. We also hope that you will take advantage of all of the latest information as presented on the epilepsy.com website. As usual we hope that spring, which runs eternal, will help to cultivate the blossoming harvest of many new options and approaches for epilepsy and seizure management. We are very excited about what we have just heard at the Epilepsy Pipeline Conference and we look forward to helping engage the epilepsy community in making several of these novel ideas a reality.
Joseph Sirven, M.D.
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