Here we will inform you why we undertake the EpimiRNA-Project. What the problem with epilepsy treatment is today, how we will try to improve epilepsy treatment in the long term and how you can help.
The problem with epilepsy treatment today:
Today only 70% of patients with epilepsy will be rendered seizure-free by antiepileptic drugs. The rest, 30%, will have ongoing seizures despite taking medicines with potential side effects. These patients will usually not be able to live a normal life. They may be prevented from driving, they are frequently unemployed or in early retirement, they have increased risk of personal injury and even a 3-fold increase in mortality (the likelihood to die as compared to the general population).
This problem persists despite the numerous new drugs that have become available over the last 20 years. Furthermore, we are still usually not able to predict which drug will be best for which patient, so frequently numerous drugs are tried in a single person before the best and most suitable is found.
Clearly novel approaches to epilepsy treatment are needed.
How we will try to improve epilepsy treatment in the long term:
Within the EpimiRNA-Project funded by the European Union we will investigate the role microRNAs in the development of epilepsy and seizures. MicroRNA are small molecules that control gene expression – the translation from genes into proteins that results in changes in neurons and their connections in the brain. We will try to find drugs that influence these controlling molecules in order to prevent epilepsy and seizures. We hope this can be achieved because initial results show, that in animals with epilepsy, seizures could be prevented by the application of an antagomir (a molecule that decreases the concentration of certain microRNAs). The 11 workpackages planned serve to identify microRNAs important in epilepsy and how these work to make seizures and epilepsy occur. Furthermore, microRNAs in the blood might also be detectable in a way that tell a doctor who may develop epilepsy and seizures.
How can you help?
The EpimiRNA project includes clinical trials to investigate how brain stimulation influences the microRNA. We will answer questions such as:
- Which microRNAs are increased in the blood after brain stimulation?
- Does this change correlate with efficacy?
- Are microRNAs increased or decreased after seizures?
- Do certain epilepsy syndromes have a specific microRNA signature?
- Are there microRNA-related genetic risk factors for epilepsy?
You can participate in these trials if you have epilepsy, by providing blood samples, by participating in the treatment trials, by making our project known to other patients and representatives and if you wish by donating money for further research.