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Evolving the epilepsy treatment paradigm

Konrad Werhahn, Global Epilepsy Strategy
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Konrad Werhahn, Global Epilepsy Strategy
This weekend, the world’s leading clinicians and researchers will come together to exchange a wealth of knowledge at this year’s International Epilepsy Congress. Despite being held in a virtual setting, the congress is a pivotal opportunity for the brightest minds to connect and discuss new innovative solutions for people living with epilepsies. As such, we are proud to be at the forefront of those conversations and identifying new ways to treat epilepsy.

The epilepsies are common group of neurological disorders which are associated with physical and psychological difficulties, leading to a detrimental impact on a person’s quality of life. People who continue to have seizures are at greater risk of several complications, which is why preventing seizures is so important. Despite the significant advancements in treatment options, people living with epilepsy still need to consider the impact that their seizures can have on different aspects of their life.

At UCB, we understand that more needs to be done to provide further value for patients living with epilepsy. We are continually looking for innovative ways to provide new options for people living with epilepsy, and our strong research capabilities are allowing us to open the door for new future solutions, such as treating the underlying pathophysiology of a given epilepsy syndrome rather than seizures as its symptoms.

Treating underlying disease mechanisms is the final goal of any medical area. In the epilepsies, this is usually not feasible since the vast majority of current treatment options are symptomatic. Tackling this gap would be a break-through and transform the lives of people with the disease beyond suppression of seizure symptoms. Such a paradigm shift of moving from a purely symptomatic to a disease-modifying approach has the potential to transform the field.  We strongly believe that delivering molecularly targeted treatment options will provide game changing efficacy for the patients with seizures.

To reach this ambition, we are starting from the patient pathophysiology combined with genomics to identify better validated targets. Using computational design and artificial intelligence we aim to more efficiently identify compounds that have a higher chance of leading to effective therapies. In doing so, we will open the door for new therapeutic modalities, such as gene therapy, as targeted treatment options for monogenic epilepsies and epilepsies with focal structural etiologies. While this is still a very early stage of development, it is exciting to be at the forefront of this potential evolution of the treatment paradigm.   

For more than 30 years, UCB has played a critical role in providing new innovate options for people living with epilepsy. We have provided solutions that have helped transform the treatment landscape and improved the lives of millions of people living with epilepsy. However, we understand that the job is nowhere near finished. We’re driving for new solutions, helping us strive for symptom freedom today, anti-epileptogenic options tomorrow.

For more information on our research capabilities visit: https://www.ucb.com/our-science/Overview

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