There is fantastic news for the treatment of PCDH19 Epilepsy. The University of Adelaide reports on the work of Prof. Josef Gecz, whose PCDH19 research has been supported with the help of our partner organization, Insieme per la Ricerca PCDH19 (Together for PCDH19 Research) in Italy. We are grateful that our partners recognized the potential for a promising drug treatment in Prof. Gecz's work and put their resources toward supporting him.
From the press release:
An international team, led by a University of Adelaide genetics expert, has made a breakthrough discovery which is expected to help thousands of young girls worldwide who are suffering from a rare yet debilitating form of epilepsy. Professor Jozef Gecz, from the University of Adelaide’s Robinson Research Institute, was a key player in identifying the responsible gene and mutations in this female-only epileptic syndrome, in 2008. In breakthrough research published in Oxford Journals, Human Molecular Genetics, Professor Gecz has now found a treatment for this disorder. A United States pharmaceutical company Marinus Pharmaceuticals is now recruiting affected girls as part of the world’s first clinical trial to test the therapy.
Insieme per la Ricerca PCDH19 and The Cute Syndrome Foundation are thrilled to announce that we have awarded a $20,000 grant to Dr. Jack Parent of the University of Michigan for his research using PCDH19 iPS cells. Dr Parent was a runner-up for our 2014 PCDH19 research grant (awarded to Dr. Maria Passafaro) and we are thrilled to support his research. It is our aim in 2015 to continue to support the most promising research proposals we received last year.
Hillary Savoie's writing was featured on Motherlode, the New York Time parenting blog. In her post on June 28th she reveals some wonderful news about her daughter Esmé: Esmé can read. Check out the post here: http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/06/28/esme-can-read
Hillary's writing also has recently appeared on The Mighty and Complex Child Magazine.
Today a blog post on Scientific American told the story of how families affected by SCN8A mutations are coming together to help push forward research agendas for SCN8A. Several of the amazing family members and researchers working toward a better understanding of SCN8A Epilepsy are featured in the article--including TCSF's Founder and Director Hillary Savoie and her daughter Esmé:
Yet doctors sometimes come to the wrong conclusions. Hillary Savoie’s daughter Esmé was originally diagnosed with a mutation on a different gene called PCDH19. Hillary created a foundation to raise money for PCDH19 research and then learned that her daughter also has an SCN8A mutation.
“She was always different from the other PCDH19 children,” says Hillary. “We just didn’t know why.”
The founder and director of the Cute Syndrome Foundation has published her first short book, titled Around And Into The Unknown. Around and Into the Unknown is available as an individual e-book as well as in six-story paperback anthology from Ponies + Horses Books. The story follows her family on their journey seeking answers for her daughter's disorder. If you want to know more about the status of what is currently known about Esmé's genes--this is the place the read all about it!
Earlier this week Hillary, Mel, and Esmé traveled to Washington DC for an SCN8A conference organized by our partners Wishes for Elliott to learn more about SCN8A research. At the conference we were able to speak with a number of researchers who were new to us as well as some, like Dr. Jack Parent of the University of Michigan and Prof. Ingrid Scheffer of University of Melbourne & Florey Institute, who are active in the PCDH19 Epilepsy community.
We are thrilled to learn that Dr. Ann Poduri, who is an awardee of two research grants from The Cute Syndrome Foundation for her PCDH19 Epilepsy research at Boston Children's Hospital, is being honored by the American Academy of Neurology with the Dreifuss-Penry Epilepsy Award. Congratulations Dr. Poduri! Read more about Dr. Poduri's PCDH19 research here...
Marinus Pharmaceuticals has initiated a Phase 2 clinical study of ganaxolone as an adjunctive therapy for uncontrolled seizures in PCDH19 female pediatric epilepsy. Ganaxolone has been previously evaluated in multiple pediatric seizure disorders in children age 4 months through 15 years – with positive results on improving seizure frequencies. The most common adverse events across clinical trials are dizziness, fatigue and somnolence.
Learn more about the Phase 2 study and ganaxolone here.
November is Epilepsy Awareness Month and November 9th is PCDH19 Awareness Day. You can show your support by taking a photo of yourself with a purple balloon (or wearing purple, if you prefer) and sharing it on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/thecutesyndrome