The Epilepsy Service conducts pioneering research efforts via clinical trials, imaging research, and laboratory research.

Epilepsy Research Programs Overview

The MGH Epilepsy Service at Mass General maintains an active research program involving projects ranging from healthcare outcomes research to advanced neuroimaging techniques to basic molecular studies of mechanisms of disease. Current projects are focused on understanding neuronal injury following seizures and developing strategies for neuroprotection that may eventually have clinical utility. The laboratory is particularly interested in understanding the biochemical pathways that mediate injury. Another current focus is on characterizing and modulating the activity of intracellular signaling kinases and their targets. These studies, initiated in cell culture, are now being extended to whole animal models. Ultimately, all of these projects aim toward the creation of both invasive and non-invasive mechanisms for restoring damaged neuronal function

Clinical Trials - Currently Enrolling

1. Double-Blind, Randomized, Historical Control Study of the Safety and Efficacy of Eslicarbazepine Acetate Monotherapy in Subjects with Partial Epilepsy Not Well Controlled by Current Antiepileptic Drugs

The purpose of this study is to find out whether eslicarbazepine acetate can help people who have epilepsy with partial seizures. In the past, studies of eslicarbazepine acetate have been done in over 1,000 adult patients with epilepsy who have partial seizures. These studies showed that eslicarbazepine acetate generally works well with other epilepsy drugs to control seizures. This is the first study to test the effect of eslicarbazepine acetate on partial epilepsy when used on its own (monotherapy).

Principle Investigator: Andrew Cole, MD
Research Coordinator: Samantha Donovan srdonovan@partners.org

2. Cognitive effects of treatment of interictal discharges with levetiracetam and lamotrigine

Principle Investigator: Beth Leeman baleeman@partners.org
Research Coordinator: Samantha Donovan srdonovan@partners.org

3. Assessment of post-resection remote memory deficits in adults with focal-onset epilepsy

Many patients with epilepsy have trouble learning new things.  The extent to which patients have difficulties recalling memories from the past, however, is unknown. The effect of surgical treatment for seizures on remote memory is unknown.  We are conducting a study to evaluate long-term memory in patients with focal epilepsy pre- and post-surgery.  The study involves assessment with cognitive testing and EEG pre- and post-surgery.

Principle Investigator: Beth Leeman baleeman@partners.org
Research Coordinator: Samantha Donovan srdonovan@partners.org

4. Utility of Intravenous Lacosamide Compared with Fosphenytoin in the Treatment of Patients with Frequent Nonconvulsive Seizures

This study aims to evaluate the efficacy of intravenous anti-epilepsy medication, lacosamide compared with fosphenytoin, in the treatment of nonconvulsive seizures as measured by continuous electrographic (EEG) monitoring in critically ill subjects. This study is a randomized, open-label study with a blinded EEG review.

Principle Investigator: M. Brandon Westover, MD, PhD
Co-Principle Investigators: Andrew Cole, MD; Ronan Kilbride, MD; Eric Rosenthal, MD
Research Coordinator: Samantha Donovan srdonovan@partners.org

Ongoing Clinical Trials (Closed to Enrollment)

Visit the Cole Lab for information about the status ongoing of studies that have stopped enrolling.

Training Opportunities

The MGH Epilepsy Service offers training opportunities for physicians, including visiting scientist opportunities, as well as clinical and research fellowships. Our clinical focus is on the advancement of knowledge about paroxysmal neurological dysfunction. As part of the Neurology Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, this rich environment offers innumerable opportunities for collaboration and interdisciplinary exchange of information. The hospital research environment in general, and the Mass General tradition of bench to bedside research in particular create an ideal setting in which to pursue the answers to questions about the neurobiology of disease.  This approach, combining insights from reductionist systems with intact models of neurological function and disease, allows us to attack problems in neurobiology at multiple levels and offers opportunities for investigators with varied interests and skills.

Updated 4/09/2012