Interdisciplinary Research of Epilepsy

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Interdisciplinary Research of Epilepsy

NIH Funds $21.7 Million Grant for Interdisciplinary Research of Epilepsy

Contact: The University of Melbourne and the Royal Melbourne Hospital

In response to a recent call-to-action, the National Institute of Health (NIH) has fully funded a $21.7 Million Center Without Walls grant on interdisciplinary research aimed at accelerating the development of disease modifying or prevention therapies for epilepsy following traumatic brain injuries, titled the Epilepsy Bioinformatics Study for Antiepileptogenic Therapy (EpiBios4Rx) study. EpiBioS4Rx includes international and interdisciplinary partnerships led by 7 principal investigators (listed alphabetically): Drs. Jerome Engel (UCLA Seizure Disorder Center), Aristea Galanopoulou (Einstein College of Medicine), Solomon Moshé (Einstein College of Medicine), Terence O’Brien (University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital), Asla Pitkänen (University of Eastern Finland), Arthur Toga (USC Laboratory of Neuro Imaging) and Paul Vespa (David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA), and includes a network of 13 centers for traumatic brain injuries worldwide. The research teams will collaborate in the fields of bioinformatics, molecular biology, cellular pathology and the health sciences to identify biomarkers and preventative treatments associated with the onset of epilepsy.

This study will involve multiple projects investigating biomarkers associated with epileptogenesis (the process where a brain develops epilepsy), and treatments that may aid in prevention of epileptogenesis after a traumatic brain injury. Traumatic brain injuries were chosen as the focus for this study in that they offer the best opportunity for researchers to determine the onset of epilepsy in patients and biomarkers that may change during this process. Traumatic brain injuries will be studied in animal models and in humans, and these preclinical investigations will aid in identifying treatments to be used in future clinical trials.

In addition to supporting interdisciplinary research, this grant will also support the partnership of the epilepsy community with centers for traumatic brain injuries and create resources to educate patients and their families about the importance of research on epileptogenic mechanisms, to learn from patients and their families about their most pressing needs and concerns about research, and to encourage their participation in clinical antiepileptogenesis studies. Together, EpiBios4Rx will use bioinformatics to approach this disease and find clinically-relevant treatments that will help prevent epilepsy amongst the general population.

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