The importance of basic science

Basic science is fundamental to the study of medicine (and, unfortunately, there is nothing basic about it).

Much of the research that Epilepsy Research UK supports is basic science. It may seem a long way from clinic practice, but it is fundamental to the development of new epilepsy therapies.

Basic science’ refers to the highly skilled, usually laboratory-based, research that is needed to understand the cellular or molecular mechanisms underlying a disorder. It is the heart of the ‘drug discovery process, which allows scientists to uncover ‘faulty’ biological pathways that can be ‘targeted’ to treat a condition. Once a pathway has been identified, a screening process to find viable therapeutic ‘candidates’ can take place. Successful candidates then begin a journey of rigorous assessment, first in experimental models, then, hopefully, in clinical trials.

Basic science takes years to carry out. It is not easy for non-scientists to understand, and it is a huge step away from clinical practice. This can make people feel distanced from it and less inclined to support it than clinical research (which feels ‘closer’).

However, although the benefit of basic science may seem a way off, it is an essential part of clinical progress.

This is why your support for basic science is so important.

Much of the research supported by Epilepsy Research UK involves basic science. Our funding is comparatively small, but it is fundamental to advances in epilepsy.

Only with basic science will the development of more effective epilepsy treatments, with fewer side effects, be possible.

Click here to support our research today.

Click here for our research portfolio.