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A CURE-funded Breakthrough!

May 24, 2012

Drs. Gary Yellen and Nika Danial recently had an amazing breakthrough in their CURE-funded research!

Nothing thrills me more—and is more affirming of the hard work that goes into this fight against epilepsy—than when I receive positive news about the research CURE funds.  Our grantees, Drs. Yellen and Danial (from Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute respectively), have made an amazing discovery, stemming from their CURE grant, “Seizure Resistance through Metabolic Control in Novel Mouse Model.”

For decades, neurologists have known that a diet high in fat and extremely low in carbohydrates–commonly known as the ketogenic diet– can reduce seizures that resist drug therapy. But how the diet works and why remained a mystery.  This project has linked seizure resistance to a protein that modifies cellular metabolism in the brain. The research, published in the May 24th issue of the journal Neuron, may lead to the development of new treatments for epilepsy.  You can read more about it here.

I know if you’re a patient waiting for answers, this whole research enterprise can feel like it takes forever–at a time when every seizure matters.  And that a publication in a scientific journal (even one as esteemed as Neuron!)  isn’t going to make a difference in our lives.  However, I really feel this is a huge leap in our understanding and a critical step in the right direction, especially for those with uncontrolled seizures. The ketogenic diet can be so difficult to live with (Lauren was on it twice, so I have first-hand experience). But just imagine if we could find a pharmacological substitute kids could take instead that would stop their seizures!

Your commitment, strength and dedication . . . and breakthroughs like this…….are what energize us, and we will continue to lead the way toward more and more of them!  Please help us find that next breakthrough… help us find the cure! Every single dollar counts.



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