Personalised diagnosis and treatment for refractory focal paediatric and adult epilepsy (PerEpi)

Basic data for this project

Type of project: EU-project hosted at University of Münster
Duration: 01/07/2021 - 30/06/2024


Epilepsy is among the most common neurological diseases, affecting between 0.5% and 1% of the general population. Therefore, new diagnosis and treatment methods have a high impact on society. Epilepsy is also among the most frequently diagnosed neurological paediatric disorders, with long-term implications for the quality of life of those affected. Only in two-thirds of cases, seizures can be adequately controlled with anticonvulsant drug treatment. For the remaining drug-refractory patients with focal epilepsy (up to about 2 Mill. in Europe), epilepsy surgery is currently the most effective treatment. However, only 15-20% of those patients are eligible for epilepsy surgery. That is either because the epileptogenic zone in the brain cannot be localized with sufficient accuracy with standard diagnostic means, or because the epileptogenic zone overlaps with eloquent cortical areas, so that it cannot be surgically removed without considerable neurological deficit. PerEpi aims to bring together a group of experts at the European level to improve this situation in two ways, both of which use concepts of non-invasive personalised medicine: The first one focuses on a new individualised multimodal approach to set a new milestone in localization accuracy of the epileptogenic zone in order to offer the most appropriate personalised therapy. The second one focuses on a new individually optimized transcranial electric brain stimulation technique as a new treatment option to reduce seizure frequency and severity. This is particularly attractive for those focal refractory patients where surgery is not an option because of an overlap with eloquent cortical areas. A dedicated ethics work package will ensure that the research in the consortium is designed and conducted following the highest ethical standards. In addition, this work package will study the translational pathways of the new approaches to foster clinical integration that is ethically and socially responsible.

Keywords: Refractory focal paediatric and adult epilepsy; combined EEG/MEG; source and connectivity analysis; multi-channel transcranial electric stimulation; optimization; modelling; ethics