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Dr Bethan Lang at Downing Street
Dr Bethan Lang at Downing Street

Epilepsy Research UK, the only charity in the UK solely dedicated to the funding of research into the causes, prevention and treatment of epilepsy, is celebrating its 20th year. To celebrate the occasion ERUK recently held the 'million pound grant round' to fund new projects and fellowships. Drs Bethan Lang, Sarosh Irani and Jane Adcock (Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences) were honoured to be awarded one of these project grants.

To honour their success, Dr Bethan Lang was invited to 10 Downing Street on the evening of 22nd May to meet Samantha Cameron and other dignitaries involved in Epilepsy Research in the UK.

In a previous ERUK-funded project, Bethan’s team had demonstrated that a small, but significant, number of patients with epilepsy harboured specific autoantibodies to CNS ion channels, receptors and accessory proteins that may be involved in the development of epilepsy. In this newly awarded study, which will be funded by the ERUK for three years, they will be recruiting new onset patients with focal epilepsies from throughout the Thames Valley area to look for both the already established antibodies and  to investigate autoantibodies to novel cell-surface autoantibodies.  Patients with focal epilepsies will be studied specifically in this project and they will attempt to define the clinical phenotypes associated with the presence of circulating autoantibodies and follow the patients during treatment.

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