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Epilepsy Research UK and Angelini Pharma announce data-driven research project for uncontrolled epilepsy

Epilepsy Research UK recently published plans for a strategic alliance with Rome-based pharmaceutical company Angelini Pharma to support data-driven research into epilepsy. We are today announcing the recipient of the first award of this partnership.

Professor Mark Richardson at King’s College London has been awarded funding for a data-driven research collaboration using artificial intelligence (AI) and large-scale NHS clinical data records. In collaboration with Health Data Research UK, the project will seek to understand and predict important clinical outcomes in refractory epilepsy.

Despite decades of research, people with epilepsy still face significant challenges. Refractory epilepsy, or uncontrolled epilepsy, affects one in three people living with the condition, meaning their seizures persist despite treatment. Risk factors for refractory epilepsy remain largely unidentified because only small numbers of patients have been studied, and the information used to identify the factors is limited.

Professor Richardson’s team at King’s College London will access information available through electronic health records (EHRs) held in NHS hospitals for patients with epilepsy. The team has developed a system using state-of-the-art art AI tool to access EHR data held in different formats, and automatically annotate it in rich detail. These annotations provide standardised detailed information about each individual patient. The group has also developed AI tools able to predict outcomes that can be used to identify risk factors for refractory epilepsy for up to 30,000 people across three London hospitals.

This study will identify new information about the risk factors for developing refractory epilepsy, which will ultimately enable researchers to develop new strategies to prevent it.

In driving Big Data research, the ambition of the strategic alliance between Epilepsy Research UK and Angelini Pharma is to foster collaborations between people from different research fields, and between scientists and people affected by epilepsy. By bringing people together – those affected by epilepsy, innovators working in new technologies and researchers working on the answers – we can work together to solve our community’s biggest challenges and finally answer questions we have been unable to tackle for decades.

Professor Mark Richardson said…

Over the last decade, NHS hospitals have started to adopt electronic systems for collecting medical records. As a result, there is detailed information about health status related to tens of thousands of people with epilepsy. We have developed systems to extract highly detailed information from electronic health records, maintaining confidentiality and privacy of the information. We can analyse this information using artificial intelligence to track the course of epilepsy in thousands of people, and make a much better attempt to identify the factors that predict refractory epilepsy.

Maxine Smeaton, Epilepsy Research UK Chief Executive said…

We are excited to work with Angelini Pharma on data-driven research programmes.  We know that every one of the 600,000 people living with epilepsy in the UK is an individual, a unique person. Something that works for one person, or a small group of people, might not work for everyone else. But by using ‘Big Data’ we can analyse the health data of people with epilepsy as a population. Researchers may then be able to identify previously unseen trends, which could offer new and innovative treatment pathways for refractory epilepsy.

Agnese Cattaneo, Angelini Pharma Global Chief Medical Offer said…

We are delighted to be collaborating with Epilepsy Research UK. Through our combined networks we will be able to bring together rich data on large numbers of people and use new technologies to analyse the patterns which start to emerge. This will be an integral part of driving innovations in care. The more people whose data is included in research, the more robust and reliable the results.

You can read more about Prof Mark Richardson’s Innovations in Healthcare project, supported by Epilepsy Research UK and Angelini Pharma, here.

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