WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J., Nov. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Child Neurology Foundation (CNF) and Eisai Inc. today announced that the first annual Michael SanInocencio Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS) Research Award was presented to Maura Madou, MD, Child Neurology Fellow at University of California San Francisco, Benioff Children's Hospital, to facilitate her research on LGS. Dr. Madou will receive a $30,000 grant to help support the first-ever genome-wide study of the genetics of LGS, with the aim of identifying new targeted therapies to treat the disease. The award is funded through a sponsorship from Eisai Inc.
"We are proud to support continued research into LGS, a very severe form of epilepsy, with the hope that one day it may improve the lives of people who suffer from this devastating syndrome," said Lynn Kramer, MD, President of the Neuroscience and General Medicine Product Creation Unit and Chief Clinical Officer of Eisai Product Creation Systems, Eisai's research and development organization.
LGS accounts for up to 4% of all childhood epilepsy cases and is characterized by multiple seizure types and impairment of cognitive function. Dr. Madou was selected to receive the award based on her proposal to expand upon the ongoing Epilepsy Phenome Genome Project (EPGP), an international study devoted to improving the medical community's understanding of epilepsy.
"We are very pleased to present the Michael SanInocencio LGS Research Award to Dr. Madou, as she has already identified causative gene mutations in patients with LGS," said child neurologist Donald Shields, MD, President of CNF. "We're hopeful that the commitment by CNF, supported by Eisai, to present this award annually will encourage other researchers to study the syndrome and its treatment."
Madou was formally presented with the award on November 1 during the morning session of the 2013 Child Neurology Society (CNS) annual meeting in Austin, TX. She also was recognized at the CNF's donor luncheon on October 31, where Christina SanInocencio, President of the LGS Foundation and sister of Michael SanInocencio, acknowledged Madou's contributions to the field and spoke about the importance of scientific research in furthering the understanding of LGS.
"I am thankful to Eisai and the Child Neurology Foundation for this award, and for recognizing the dire need for expanded research into this condition," stated Dr. Madou. "By deepening our understanding of the genetic causes of LGS, we hope to improve medical therapies for seizure control."
About the Research
The Michael SanInocencio LGS Award will fund an expansion of ongoing research from the Epilepsy Phenome Genome Project (EPGP), an international epilepsy study funded by the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. As part of a broader study of epilepsy patients, EPGP researchers collected DNA samples from more than 150 LGS patients and their families and conducted whole exome gene sequencing to better understand the unique genetic characteristics associated with this form of epilepsy. The award funds will focus on expanding the LGS patient population and continuing to study in genetic detail the DNA samples provided in an effort to identify new candidate genes for LGS-specific therapeutic targets. The expanded research will also include a review of all LGS patients currently enrolled in the EPGP as well as new recruits to compare the newly identified genetic targets with real-life clinical patient outcomes.
Child Neurology Foundation
Founded in October 2000, the Child Neurology 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 Child Neurology Society.
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