GOSH leads Europe-wide epilepsy network that could speed up diagnosis for patients

Diagnosing different types of epilepsy and deciding on the best course of treatment could become a much faster process thanks to a newly formed European network, coordinated by Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).

The network, known as EpiCARE, will allow collaborative working across Europe and more access to innovative and highly-specialised diagnostics. This will mean faster and more accurate diagnoses for patients and hopefully better treatments. The project aims to increase the number of seizure free patients over the next five years. 

Helen Cross, Consultant in Paediatric Neurology at GOSH and network lead, says: “Creating strong links with experts across Europe via the EpiCARE network has the potential to substantially improve the lives of thousands of individuals with epilepsy. 

“It provides a real possibility of offering precision medicine and targeted, more effective, treatments, such as epilepsy surgery, dietary treatments and immune therapies, to a greater number of patients.”

The EpiCARE network will run over a five-year period from 2017 to 2021, and is one of 23 projects funded by the European Commission, that allow professionals and centres of expertise in different countries to share knowledge and tackle rare diseases that require specialised care.

The European Research Network will, in the first instance, comprise of 28 recognised health care providers from across Europe. They will share information, experience, and knowledge via electronic registries and in virtual multidisciplinary meetings. They will also work to increase accessibility of epilepsy surgery for carefully selected individuals.

Within the network, an ethics committee made up of advisors independent to the project will be formed to specifically advise on clinical trials, treatment outcomes and genetic evaluation.

David Goldblatt, Director of Clinical Research and Development at GOSH says: “We are delighted that GOSH will lead the coordination of this epilepsy network. It will allow us to realise the potential of European cooperation in developing and offering highly specialised healthcare to patients across the UK and further afield and underlines the importance to British clinical academics of access to EU collaborations.”