Two new research grants will help reduce epileptic seizures and seek migraine biomarkers

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Two new grants for research into headaches and epilepsy were conferred within the framework of the 70th Annual Meeting of the Spanish Neurology Society (SEN). The research will seek to predict patients’ migraine attacks using markers and reduce the intensity and number of epileptic seizures. These grants not only represent an opportunity to enhance the quality of life of patients and their families, but will also promote research among young neurologists, encouraging doctoral training in the two fields.

Headaches and epilepsy are, respectively, the most common and second-most common reason for outpatient consultations, and can affect anyone, regardless of age. These two illnesses are also highly debilitating and have a significant social impact for both sufferers and their families.

With a view to helping bring about improvements in these pathologies, Exeltis conferred the 9th research grant from the SEN’s Headache Study Panel to Alicia Alpuente Ruiz, from the Hospital Vall D´Hebrón, for her study “SAMBA Salivatory Migraine Biomarkers Analysis". It also awarded the 4th research grant from the SEN’s Epilepsy Study to Iván Manuel Seijo Raposo, from the Hospital Clínico de Santiago de Compostela, for his project “Prognosis for palliative surgery in refractory epilepsy in an epilepsy surgery unit over two decades”.

This opportunity will allow these two young people to undertake their research projects over the next six months and to present their findings at the Annual Meeting of the SEN next year.

Both studies seek to improve prognoses and outline the best possible options for patients suffering with these conditions. As explained by Dr Francisco Javier López, coordinator of the Epilepsy Study Panel at the SEN: “The goal is to reduce both the intensity and the frequency of epileptic seizures to reduce their repercussions for patients’ quality of life”. The project that won the grant will evaluate the various palliative surgery treatments to determine the best options for each patient. “In recent years, 70% of patients with epilepsy have responded well to treatment and do not have seizures, whilst 30% have not. It is this 30% which is the focus of our efforts to enhance neurology, and which will represent the subject of the Exeltis epilepsy research grant,” the doctor added.

Dr Patricia Pozo-Rosich, head of the Headache Unit at Hospital Vall d´Hebrón and winner of the 1st edition of this grant for her project Modulating CGRP Nociceptive Trigeminovascular Transmission, cited similar motivations: “There are currently no pharmaceuticals that can stop a migraine. This study will help improve patient quality of life by seeking practical biomarkers to carry out diagnoses and undertake adequate monitoring of migraines.”

These grants also pursue a secondary goal: to underpin the education and training of young neurologists. In the words of Dr Pozo-Rosich, “If we do not undertake research, science will not advance; it is important to promote both science and research.”

Alberto Fábregas, Managing Director of Exeltis for Spain, awarded the grants to this year’s winners. After the event, Fábregas said: “Knowledge is a key factor in securing growth and ensuring that we at Exeltis fulfil our commitment to people’s health and wellbeing.”