The fourth Annual Meeting of the FP7 project DESIRE: Research to improve diagnosis, prevention and treatment in children with difficult to treat Epilepsy was held at the Valletta campus, University of Malta from 17-19 October 2017. The DESIRE project, which focusses on genes that cause malformations in the brain that causes epilepsy in childhood, brings together over 100 researchers from 28 research groups from 7 EU countries and also Australia.
Epilepsy is a serious disease with serious effects on patients and their families. EU Research Commissioner Carlos Moedes has recently highlighted DESIRE as a key EU funded epilepsy research project. He reiterated that research in epilepsy is vital since the condition affects over 6 million persons in Europe and costs over 20 billion euros per year. There is an urgent need for greater awareness, better prevention, earlier diagnosis and better care. This must be done using a personalised approach. The co-ordinator, Prof Renzo Guerrini, University of Florence explained how DESIRE has lead to unique networking possibilities and is coming out with some important results. The meeting focussed on recent breaking results and networking among the various work packages.
Professor Jeffrey L. Noebels, from the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas and Prof Charlotte Dravet who discovered the gene responsible for Dravet Syndrome, also contributed to the scientific discussions.
The meeting was co–ordinated by the University of Malta partner, Prof Janet Mifsud, Department of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics in conjunction with the Conference Unit and Project Support Office.