The Human Epilepsy Project (HEP)

After epilepsy is diagnosed, and seizure medication (antiepileptic drug, AED) is started, doctors have no way to predict who will be among the 1/3 of patients who will continue to have seizures, due to AED treatment resistance. Also, we have a very poor understanding of the causes of treatment resistance.

The Human Epilepsy Project (HEP) is a large, 10-year prospective study whose goal is to identify biomarkers that predict epilepsy outcome, progression and treatment response in patients with recently diagnosed focal epilepsy. HEP is a partnership between 33 international academic centers, foundations, and industries, led by the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at NYU Langone. HEP will collect high resolution MRI, EEG, and blood samples on 500 patients who are tracking seizures in a digital diary. Each patient will be followed for 3-6 years. HEP also collects information on memory, mood and drug side effects over time, which will allow us to determine whether there is any progressive disturbance in these areas that are so important to quality of life. 

This project will create an open data repository of clinical information and biologic samples that will allow researchers to determine how all these elements are related. Already we are gaining important insights into likelihood of mood problems, association between specific abnormalities in brain imaging and treatment resistance, and likelihood of response to different medications.