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University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

Participants Needed for Study of the Effectiveness of Two Epilepsy Surgeries

PITTSBURGH, Sept. 20, 2010 – Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine are seeking participants ages 18 and older with epilepsy to compare the effectiveness of Gamma Knife® radiosurgery with temporal lobectomy in the treatment of patients with drug-resistant temporal lobe epilepsy. The ROSE Trial (Radiosurgery or Open Surgery for Epilepsy) is being conducted in major epilepsy centers across the U.S., England and Canada, including UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center).

“ROSE is a fundamental study that may establish another much needed therapeutic option for many of those 30 percent of epilepsy patients who continue to suffer in spite of our best efforts,” notes Anto Bagic, M.D., M.Sc., lead investigator for the study and director of the University of Pittsburgh Comprehensive Epilepsy Center. “It is our professional obligation to change the current reality in which a patient with uncontrolled epilepsy continues to suffer on average for 15 years or longer on their antiepileptic regimen before established non-pharmacologic therapeutic options are considered. Pitt contributed significantly to the initial pilot study, and we are proud to be a part of this selected group of centers that can offer participation in this advanced clinical trial to our epilepsy patients.”

In the traditional method of epilepsy surgery, the neurosurgeon performs a craniotomy, consisting of removal and replacement of a “window” of skull to expose the underlying brain, and removal of the seizure focus. This operation requires general anesthesia and a several-day stay in the hospital for recovery. For many patients, this is the only option other than continuing to try additional medications.

Radiosurgery is a minimally invasive radiation procedure used to treat tumors and other abnormalities of the brain, and is being investigated as an alternative to open-surgery treatment for a select group of patients with medically refractory partial epilepsy. The Gamma Knife® radiosurgery instrument used in this study uses tightly focused beams of radiation to injure the surgical target, rather than removing it with open surgery. The procedure does not require an inpatient hospital stay. Epilepsy surgery is the only potential cure for some people whose seizures cannot be controlled by anticonvulsant medications. To be considered for epilepsy surgery, a presurgical evaluation is necessary and consists of several examinations and diagnostic investigations.

Compensation for transportation, including bus tickets or parking cost, may be provided. The study is funded by the National Institutes of Health and Elekta, the company that produces Gamma Knife ®. For more information, please call (412) 683-7279.

About the Pitt School of Medicine:

As one of the nation’s leading academic centers for biomedical research, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine integrates advanced technology with basic science across a broad range of disciplines in a continuous quest to harness the power of new knowledge and improve the human condition. Driven mainly by the School of Medicine and its affiliates, Pitt has ranked among the top 10 recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health since 1997 and now ranks fifth in the nation, according to preliminary data for fiscal year 2008. Likewise, the School of Medicine is equally committed to advancing the quality and strength of its medical and graduate education programs, for which it is recognized as an innovative leader, and to training highly skilled, compassionate clinicians and creative scientists well-equipped to engage in world-class research. The School of Medicine is the academic partner of UPMC, which has collaborated with the University to raise the standard of medical excellence in Pittsburgh and to position health care as a driving force behind the region’s economy. For more information about the School of Medicine, see www.medschool.pitt.edu.

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