Professor Deb Pal presented his research at the Epilepsy Research UK reception at The Royal Society, London, along with other newly-awarded researchers and supporters. To commemorate National Epilepsy Week on May 17th, Epilepsy Research UK announced to the public the grants that they are funding for epilepsy research in 2018. Epilepsy Research UK have invested over £1 million into a record 12 research studies, each of which went through a competitive selection process to award funding to the highest quality of epilepsy research. Professor Pal received a £30,000 pilot grant to fund a new study: Nicotine Patch Treatment For Sleep-Related Hypermotor Epilepsy.
This study will involve people with sleep-related hypermotor epilepsy (SHE), who experience seizures and sleep disturbances that seriously impact many aspects of their quality of life. Almost 80% never achieve relief from symptoms using conventional treatments. However, nicotine patches have been found to be effective in studies around the world.
With this pilot study we are hoping to answer a number of research questions: How many people in the UK have this condition? How many of those people have variations in specific genes, making make them eligible for nicotine patch treatment? Can their medical history predict these gene changes? And finally, what are their thoughts on nicotine patch treatment, a clinical trial, and on what the most important outcome measures are?
The results of this study will inform researchers as to which people with SHE have the specific gene mutations, whether genetic testing is necessary, and how feasible a precision medicine approach is to treating SHE.