Purpose: The workshop explored the current problems, needs, and potential usefulness of existing methods of discovery of new therapies to treat epilepsy patients. Resistance to medical therapy (pharmacoresistance) and the development of epilepsy (epileptogenesis) are recognized as two of the major problems in epilepsy treatment today. At the same time, there is growing awareness that the development of new therapies has slowed, a trend that has economic and scientific roots. To move toward new and more effective therapies, novel approaches to therapy discovery are needed.
Methods: A workshop was held in March 2001 with the charge to develop a plan to move the exploration and discovery process forward. Participants from academia, government, and industry reviewed the current status of epilepsy therapy and explored the identification of potential new therapies.
Results: At the end of the 2-day meeting, the panel made a series of recommendations. The two major recommendations were (a) to establish a means for continuing the examination of new approaches to therapy discovery, and (b) to identify models and approaches to therapy discovery that may identify treatments that are more successful than those available. Further recommendations were made to support the development of technology (miniaturization, computerization, video monitoring, etc.) to facilitate the use of the new models and to identify the mechanisms of therapy success and failure.
Conclusions: Understanding the epidemiology of therapy resistance and providing support for new approaches to therapy development were identified as key issues for introduction of new and more effective treatments.