JCU doctors in world-first epilepsy treatment

7 May 2015

James Cook University scientists are leading a drug trial which is attempting to find a better treatment for kids with a life threatening form of epilepsy.
JCU’s Dr Jeremy Furyk is coordinating the work, funded by a grant of more than $140,000 from the Queensland Emergency Medicine Research Foundation, on top of other funding from the Health Research Council of New Zealand.

JCU Medical School
Study medicine at James Cook University, Townsville

Researchers will work at the Townsville, Gold Coast University and Lady Cilento Children’s hospitals with researchers from the Paediatric Research in Emergency Departments International Collaborative (PREDICT) network.
They will test the effectiveness of the drug Levetiracetam on children who arrive at the hospitals’ emergency departments suffering from Convulsive Status Epilepticus (CSE).
CSE occurs when children suffer a seizure that fails to stop with initial anti-seizure medications and can lead to brain damage or death.
Levetiracetam in oral form has been used for more than a decade as a treatment of epilepsy, but the researchers will be using the intravenous form of the medication. They believe it may be more effective and work faster than the currently available treatment, and without the same serious side-effects.
Dr Furyk said it will be the first test of the drug in emergency conditions. “No one has compared it with the current drug, Phenytoin in clinical trials before.”
Which of the two drugs is to be used first on individual patients will be decided by a process of randomisation. The research has been approved by the appropriate ethics committees across Australia and New Zealand.
The team believes children who are treated with Levetiracetam will benefit in terms of the time it takes for the drug to work, the need for a breathing tube to be inserted, the length of time of the hospital stay, and the long-term effects of the seizure.
“If the hypothesis is confirmed it will have a profound impact on the management of CSE in children in New Zealand, Australia and worldwide,” said Dr Furyk.

James Cook University Medical School interviews in Canada

With interviews being a part of the application process to the JCU Medical School MBBS program, students can complete this application prerequisite in Toronto, Calgary or Vancouver. For the 2016 intake, JCU will hold interviews with eligible international applicants from Canada either

  • in person in Canada this June; or
  • via videoconferencing following the August 31 program application deadline.

Toronto: June 8 & 9, 2015
Calgary: June 10, 2015
Vancouver: June 11, 2015
An interview is a necessary component of the admission process for entry into the JCU Medical School and it is strongly encouraged that you undertake the interviews earlier rather than later.
It is important to note that the majority of those that have been successful in gaining admission in to the MBBS at James Cook University have interviewed in person in Canada, with many receiving offers prior to the application deadline. It is recommended that you undertake and participate in the in-person interviews in Canada in June.
Please fill out a James Cook University Medical School meeting request form: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JCUMBBS2015int

JCU Medical School MBBS

Program: Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)
Location: Townsville, Queensland
Semester intake: February
Duration: 6 years
Application deadline: August 31, 2015 (Early offers of admission may be made to high-achieving international applicants. It is recommended that students apply as early as possible and well before the August 31 deadline.)

Apply now to James Cook University Medical School!


Do you have questions about JCU Medical School or about the in-person interviews? Please contact OzTREKK’s Australian Medical Schools Admissions Officer Sarah Bridson at sarah@oztrekk.com or call 1-866-698-7355 for more information.