Uncertainty. This sentiment has clouded Loretta’s life since she was a teenager. At just 13 years old, Loretta was shocked to be diagnosed with epilepsy after experiencing her first seizure at school in front of her classmates. At the time, the disorder was widely stigmatized due to little understanding of its cause, making an already trying condition much more challenging. Fortunately, greater understanding about the disorder has paved the way for more open attitudes and awareness, as well as innovative targeted treatments. Now an adult, Loretta is living seizure-free and is an advocate for epilepsy awareness. And with biopharmaceutical researchers working tirelessly to develop new therapies, the future for epilepsy patients is more stable than ever.
Researchers Making An Impact
As the most common serious neurological condition in the U.S., epilepsy affects roughly 3.4 million Americans. It’s what drives biopharmaceutical researchers like Henrik to fight back by innovating and searching for targeted treatments that could transform the lives of so many. “Everything I do starts with the patient and ends with the patient.”
Listening to those impacted by epilepsy, Henrik explains, is not only a motivational reminder, but is also an educational experience that helps researchers assess patient needs and fuel medical innovation. In particular, Henrik sees significant promise in genetic research to help determine the cause of epilepsy, an understanding that could unlock how to treat the disease—rather than just the symptoms—and develop a cure. “The tremendous progress we see in genetic and biological research on mechanisms in the human pathology now enables us to focus on completely new mechanisms…[so that] we go from treating the symptoms of the disease to actually treating the disease process itself.”
One day we will find a cure for epilepsy. And when I look at progress in genetic research...I'm certain that day will come.
The Latest Innovations
Epilepsy is a chronic condition defined by recurrent seizures and has more than 100 different syndromes. Seizures are a key symptom of the disorder, although the various types, severity, and frequency vary among individuals. For most patients, battling the disease is primarily focused on gaining control over seizures first, and then ultimately the disease itself.
While there is currently no cure for epilepsy, several effective treatments exist. Current anti-seizure medications can control seizures for seven out of every ten patients. But increased understanding of the complex neural pathways within the brain, provides biopharmaceutical researchers with the framework to unearth novel mechanisms to better meet these patient needs. One area with immense potential is genetic therapy. Researchers like Henrik are spearheading exploration of biological mechanisms so patients can better find the right treatments that work for them. Currently, there are more than 35 medicines in development to treat epilepsy and other seizure disorders. By bringing these innovations to life, researchers bring us one step close to keeping epilepsy under control for all patients.
Together, We’ll Gain Control Over Epilepsy
For Loretta and the more than 3 million people in the U.S. battling epilepsy, navigating seizures is unpredictable. But in this new era of medicine, medical innovation relentlessly chips away uncertainty to reveal new hope for a stronger, lasting future for patients. Thanks to innovative advancements in targeted treatments, more and more people with epilepsy can now enjoy fuller lives. And with biopharmaceutical researchers pioneering breakthroughs in powerful genetic therapies, patients are living proof of that progress.