Grants and Gifts

Researchers funded in search for pediatric brain disease cure

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The Rasmussen Encephalitis Children's Project has contributed $125,000 to researchers at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA to continue their work on the rare, devastating pediatric brain disease. Rasmussen Encephalitis (RE) is a neurological disease that causes intractable seizures, cognitive deficits and paralysis of half of the body. The only known "cure" is the surgical removal or disconnection of the affected side of the brain called a hemispheretomy.
 
UCLA researchers plan to apply cutting-edge DNA sequencing technology to determine whether a virus, or some other infectious agent, causes RE. They also plan to develop an animal model of the disease using cells obtained from the RE samples. 
 
The researchers include Dr. Gary Mathern (photo above), professor of pediatric neurosurgery and director of the UCLA Pediatric Epilepsy Program at Mattel Children’s Hospital; Carol Kruse, professor of neurosurgery; and Geoffrey Owens, visiting assistant researcher in neurosurgery.
 
“The RE Children’s Project has truly helped accelerate our research, bringing new information and resources that could have taken 10 more years to develop to the forefront today,” said Mathern.
 
Learn more about the UCLA Pediatric Epilepsy Program at the website. 
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