Thanks to donors from all over the world, the FamilieSCN2A Foundation is able to help fund research to better understand SCN2A, find effective treatments and work toward finding a cure! We are excited to be able to award grants toward research and provide information on other grant programs available.
The FamilieSCN2A Action Potential Grant
Through our investigator-initiated grant program, the FamilieSCN2A Foundation hopes to accelerate the development of therapeutic treatments and disease-modifying advancements for those living with changes in the SCN2A gene. This grant program is designed to facilitate preliminary investigations that will potentially lay the groundwork for subsequent grants from the government, industry, or other funding sources, including the FamilieSCN2A Foundation.
The FamilieSCN2A Foundation is interested in supporting research that advances understanding of the cellular, molecular, genetic and systems-level mechanisms of SCN2A related disorders. However, priority will be given to innovative projects which could potentially lead to therapeutic treatments or a cure for those with SCN2A related disorders.
JUNIOR INVESTIGATOR RESEARCH AWARD
A full research grant will be funded by the FamilieSCN2A Foundation. FamilieSCN2A hopes to accelerate the development of therapeutic treatments and disease-modifying advancements for those living with changes in the SCN2A gene. Learn more at www.aesnet.org/research/early_career_funding.Application Guidlines
Our requests for applications (RFAs) serve a critical function in helping us fulfill SFARI’s mission (“to improve the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders by funding innovative research of the highest quality and relevance”). These open calls for scientific proposals are SFARI’s opportunity to consider some of the research community’s most creative and impactful ideas.Application for SFARI Grants
Announcing the 2019 Action Potential Grant Awardees:
Sunita Misra, MD, PhD
Northwestern University / Lurie Children’s Hospital
*UPDATE December 2019*
In the past, anticonvulsant medications have not been tested for seizure reduction in mouse models of genetic epilepsy. Instead pre-clinical medication trials look at reduction of seizures induced with chemical or electrical stimulation. Recently Dr. Jennifer Kearney's lab at Northwestern University made a new mouse mode of SCN2A-related epilepsy. As part of her FamilieSCN2A Foundation Action Potential Grant, Dr. Sunita Misra is studying seizures in this new mouse model. Sunita's ongoing work shows that seizures in the new Scn2a mouse model are different than seizures caused by chemical or electrical stimulation. These differences may partly explain why many children with SCN2A-related early onset epilepsy have seizures that are difficult to control with current anticonvulsant medications. Further work will look at the effectiveness of FDA approved anticonvulsant medications at blocking seizures in the SCN2A mouse model.
★ $50,000 – Research Grant (1 year project)
★ Downstream Effects of SCN2A-Related Epilepsy
SCN2A dysfunction changes the way brain cells communicate both electrically and chemically leading to epilepsy and neuropsychological comorbidities. I will use EEG to identify seizure patterns and the role of sleep on seizures in a new mouse model of SCN2A-related epilepsy. Then I will look at neurotransmitter levels in the brains of mice with SCN2A-related epilepsy. I will use drugs that target the abnormal neurotransmitter levels to improve abnormal electrical and chemical signaling in the brain. This work may identify new druggable targets for better control of epilepsy and associated comorbidities in SCN2A-related epilepsy.
Caitlin M. Hudac, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Center for Youth Development and Intervention (CYDI)
Department of Psychology
Brain Research Across Development (B-RAD) Lab
*UPDATE December 2019*
Research is a GO for Dr. Caitlin Hudac at the University of Alabama! Over the past 4 months, Dr. Hudac has been working on obtaining research approval, setting up her new equipment, and establishing her research lab called the Brain Research Across Development (B-RAD) Lab! She has 14 undergraduate research assistants that are working hard to learn about the brain and SCN2A. Kierra Irby is one Biology senior that will be working with Dr. Hudac on her SCN2A research. This December, we will begin to schedule the remaining participants. We still have some available slots for any families that would still like to participate — check out our website for more details!
★ $50,000 – Research Grant (1 year project)
★ SCN2A Neural Biomarkers of Attention
Aligned with the #FamiliesSCN2AFoundation mission to improve the lives of those affected by SCN2A-related disorders, this project aims to generate a candidate biological indicator (“biomarker”) that can be used to track changes in children with SCN2A disruptive mutations. This will be critical for developing and assessing the effectiveness of clinical interventions. For this project, 20 children with disruptive SCN2A mutations will wear an electroencephalography (EEG) net while watching movies. We will test an auditory attention brain biomarker and characterize how these brain responses to sounds relate to other aspects of the child’s behavior.
Do you have a newly diagnosed patient? Order awareness materials here;
The FamilieSCN2A Foundation works to create, and seeks to enhance a landscape that encourages investment in research by all stakeholders. This includes actively engaging and collaborating with pharmaceutical and biotech companies. The following requirements will help to ensure the highest level of ethical conduct is followed in the organization’s collaborations with these for-profit companies. The goal in engaging companies is to enable the development of therapies to meet patient needs while maintaining independence and neutrality as a patient organization.Download PDF File
- Board Members and members of the Scientific Advisory Committee will disclose any and all relationships with companies with whom the organization engages and will annually sign a statement agreeing to the organization’s Conflict of Interest Policy.
- The organization will collaborate with companies, at its discretion and in consultation with its scientific advisors, which are conducting ethical, high-quality research in a responsible manner, according to industry and international regulatory standards.
- The organization will actively seek the guidance and utilize the expertise of its Scientific Advisory Board throughout the process of working with each company.
The FamilieSCN2A Foundation strongly advocates that all data about a family's medical history, genetic mutation, and all bio-specimens collected (DNA, cell lines, etc) should be in 'pre-competitive' space and should be freely available to any qualified researcher.
This practice helps to amass a large number of families with relevant medical information, which is critical to make progress on any rare disease. It is a strategy used by many other groups and is strongly endorsed by Simons VIP Connect (and made possible by their data platform). This ensures that any researcher with a good idea will be able to design experiments and potentially develop treatments. We are committed for the long term to make all de-identified data and samples available to the research community to make it easier for more scientists to work to find treatments for families. We strongly believe this arrangement is in the best interest of families and the entire SCN2A Community.
To avoid any potential appearance of conflict of interest, Board Members, who have a fiduciary responsibility to the organization and direct the acceptance and use of funds provided by pharmaceutical companies, should not testify at regulatory hearings. Patients and members of the community with a connection to the pharmaceutical company, such as relatives of an employee or owners of stock in the company, should also not testify at hearings.
The organization can accept donations from pharmaceutical companies; however, Board Members and staff may not receive honoraria to speak on behalf of the organization. Travel expenses incurred to participate in disease-awareness activities may be reimbursed directly to the individual or the organization.
Clinical Trial and Approved Therapy Communication:
- The organization will disseminate accurate, fair and balanced information about clinical trials provided by a pharmaceutical or biotech company without additional commentary or opinion that may influence an individual’s decision to participate in a clinical trial or that may change the meaning of the information.
- The organization does not communicate information in a manner that could be interpreted as advertising or promoting a drug or treatment that has not been approved.
The FamilieSCN2A Foundation recognizes the need for open lines of communication, connecting scientists, and forming partnerships with doctors, researchers, and patient organizations which help avoid duplication of efforts. We partner with organizations who share our priorities of finding effective treatments and a cure, and who share our integrity and values that support our mission. Global collaboration will get us closer to a cure of SCN2A related disorders.
Advocacy organizations, medical partners, industry or other parties interested in partnering with The FamilieSCN2A Foundation can contact Leah Schust, President and Founder, for more information.
- Become familiar with your child's genetic change. Learn the terminology (e.g. Missense, Nonsense, Mosaic, DeNovo, Gain of Function, Loss of Function). We can help with this, you can read the publications, speak with a genetic counselor, watch some of the webinars we have on the website, etc.
- Collect your child's medical records and have them organized, preferably scanned or electronic copies. If you have participated in Simons VIP, they can assist you with this process.
- Know your patient rights. If it is not clearly stated on the signed consent form, ask questions about confidentiality and how the data will be used. Will it be returned to you or to SCN2A's central database, Simons VIP? (Did you know that you can request a sample of any bio-specimens, including iPSCs (stem cells) be returned and housed with Simons VIP so other researchers can utilize them?)
- If you are contacted to participate in research and you are unsure about the ethics involved or have not heard about the study through the FamilieSCN2A Foundation, please contact us at Research@SCN2A.org. We can help you determine the legitimacy of the research as well as ensure that all avenues to collaboration are open for the best interest of the community. https://clinicalcenter.nih.gov/…/…/legal/bill_of_rights.html
Ways To Contribute
Whatever you decide, please let us know. We are here to support you with ideas, resources and more. Check out the FamilieSCN2A Fundraising Page on facebook to see how others have helped.