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EPIMIRNA

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MicroRNAs in the Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention of Epilepsy

Coordinator: David HENSHALL
Project Number: 602130
EC contribution: 11,586,858.00
Project website: http://www.epimirna.eu/

Epilepsy is a major burden for patients and health systems worldwide. It is a common chronic neurological disorder affecting people of all ages, and the shortfall in existing treatments means that 30% of patients continue to suffer uncontrolled seizures. MicroRNAs (miRNA) are a recently-discovered, network-level layer of gene expression regulation that controls protein levels of entire signaling pathways. Research on miRNAs has unprecedented potential to

  1. further our understanding of the underlying disease processes,
  2. deliver novel signatures and prognostic markers for response to therapy, and
  3. deliver novel therapeutics and drug targets.

EpiMiRNA consortium members have pioneered discoveries on brain-specific miRNAs, established that miRNA changes are a feature of the pathophysiology of human temporal lobe epilepsy and have demonstrated experimentally that altering miRNA function can potently suppress epileptic seizures and seizure-damage.

EpiMiRNA brings together experts on the neurobiology of miRNAs with the leading researchers working on miRNAs in epilepsy, epilepsy geneticists, leaders in miRNA-target detection, proteomics, and systems biology with research-intensive SMEs pursuing miRNA therapeutics and treatments for pharmacoresistant epilepsy.

Through highly collaborative, inter-disciplinary and inter-sectorial research, EpiMiRNA will explain the mechanism by which miRNAs contribute to epileptogenesis, characterize genetic variation of miRNA in patients, evaluate seizure-suppressing effects of miRNAs in experimental models, identify novel miRNA modulatory molecules as potential future therapeutics, and develop miRNAs as prognostic markers to identify patients who respond to novel, non-pharmacological therapeutic interventions including brain stimulation.

EpiMiRNA will generate the necessary critical mass in biomedical, clinical and industry/SME research to track, treat and prevent seizures and improve the clinical management of epilepsy patients.

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