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NIHR Clinical Research Network shines a spotlight on Innovative Epilepsy Studies to mark World Purple Day


The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network is showcasing pioneering clinical research that could change the lives for epilepsy patients everywhere. 

To mark World Purple Day (26 March) the NIHR Clinical Research Network has launched “Spotlight on epilepsy” – an online resource highlighting progressive epilepsy studies using new novel approaches and state-of-the-art devices. 

It uses patient stories to describe some of these clinical research studies, supported by the NIHR Clinical Research Network, which are leading to better patient-focused outcomes. 

  • The ground-breaking ‘EpiPGX’ research project showcased within “Spotlight on epilepsy” is looking at how a patient’s response to anti-epileptic drugs is related to their genetics and who is going to respond to different therapies best. 
  • SANAD II is a global real-world study that is identifying the most effective and cost-effective treatments for patients longer term with newly diagnosed epilepsy, with the benefits of observing patients in a standard NHS clinical setting. 
  • The ‘Brain Networks in Focal Epilepsy’ study highlights innovative, novel brain imaging techniques that are being used to examine ‘brain networks’ to understand seizure activity that will help predict the right course of treatment for patients at the earliest stages of diagnosis. 

Speaking about the “Spotlight on epilepsy” launch, Professor Tony Marson, the Network’s sub-specialty national lead for Epilepsy said: 

“World Purple Day provides us with an opportunity to highlight the important role that UK research plays in combating this worldwide condition, while also taking a look at how this particular area of research is evolving. 

The revolutionary EpiPGX research project is looking at optimising treatments for epilepsy patients using personalised medicine. What's more, innovative brain imaging techniques are being used to examine ‘brain networks’ by creating a ‘virtual patient’ brain that explores a wide range of benefits for patients. It’s for these reasons that we’ve decided to shine a spotlight on epilepsy research on World Purple Day.” 

The showcase can be accessed at www.crn.nihr.ac.uk/spotlightonepilepsy. As well as reading interviews with patients describing how taking part in these pioneering research studies has changed their lives, visitors can access further information on how the NIHR Clinical Research Network supports epilepsy research, view links to useful websites (including charities and other associations), and get key statistics on epilepsy. 

Epilepsy is a common neurological brain disorder. According to the epilepsy society more than 600,000 people in the UK have it. It is three times more common than multiple sclerosis and more than three times as common as Parkinson's disease and cerebral palsy. 

In the UK epilepsy research is increasing. Over the last seven years more than 7,900 patients have participated in epilepsy research studies supported by the NIHR Clinical Research Network. Last year (2014/15) 1,206 patients took part, compared to 347 in 2008/2009 – an increase of 248 per cent. Since April 2008 the Network has supported a total of 131 epilepsy studies.