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UCL, Congenica, UK Epilepsy Society to Examine Genetic Risk Factors for Sudden Epileptic Death

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The UK's Epilepsy Society is teaming with University College London and British clinical genomics interpretation software developer Congenica to look for potential genetic causes of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy, or SUDEP.

Researchers at UCL and the Epilepsy Society announced just after midnight Tuesday, UK time — the start of SUDEP Awareness Day — that they will conduct an initial study of 100 cases of the rare condition. They will employ Congenica's Sapientia diagnostic decision support system to analyze whole-genome and whole-exome sequences of this cohort in search of genetic markers for the disease.

SUDEP affects about 1 in 1,000 adults and 1 in 4,500 children and adolescents with epilepsy each year, the partners said.

Epilepsy Society Director of Genomics Sanjay Sisodiya, a professor at the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, will lead the research. "This important study may help us find and understand some possible risk factors for SUDEP," he said in a statement. "Collaborating with Congenica will ensure analyses of the data are robust and comprehensive, optimizing the chances of discovery."

"The genomic knowledge generated in this project has great potential to positively impact the way we manage epilepsy patients by better understanding any underlying genetic factors that might contribute to SUDEP," added Congenica Chief Scientific Officer Nick Lench.