Expected EPITARGET Impact
By using a multidisciplinary approach integrating molecular and cellular biology, neurophysiology, neuropharmacology, neuropathology, genetics and multimodal brain imaging, EPITARGET aims to achieve the following impact:
1. Improvement of our understanding of the causes for and mechanisms of epilepsy
The project is expected to enable better understanding of the pivotal mechanisms leading to the development of epilepsy (epileptogenesis). In particular, the combinatorial view of the pathophysiological mechanisms of epileptogenesis will broaden the understanding of the pathophysiology of epilepsy and related diseases since attempts to find one single underlying mechanisms have not been successful.
2. Identification of reliable biomarkers of epilepsy and epileptogenesis
The identification of reliable biomarkers or combinations of biomarkers would greatly facilitate differential diagnosis, allow patient stratification for clinical studies in patients at-risk and eliminate the current trial-and-error approach to pharmacotherapy. Relevant biomarkers or their combinations would greatly improve the cost-effectiveness of drug discovery and the development process of agents designed to treat, prevent and cure epilepsy.
3. Development of novel preventive strategies after potentially epileptogenic brain insults
The project is expected to identify combinations of mechanisms leading to epilepsy and to help develop novel strategies for preventing epileptogenesis after potentially epileptogenic brain insults, in other words, identify antiepileptogenic therapeutics after brain insults which could prevent the development of epilepsy in at-risk patients.
4. Translation of molecular and cellular targets into a rational drug discovery process
The project envisages that the obtained results will be crucial for novel drug target discovery, which will be ensured by the participation of SMEs. SMEs are expected to give the project strong translational impact, and thereby facilitate a rational drug discovery process.
5. Benefit for patients
The results of EPITARGET are expected to have an impact on patients that experienced brain insults, such as TBI, stroke, ischemia. It will be easier to stratify these patients according to the novel combinatorial biomarkers for epileptogenesis. In addition preventive treatments will be implemented at earlier stages of the disease as compared to current practice. By stopping the development of epilepsy, the quality of life of patients at risk will be greatly enhanced.
In addition, the stigma, sometimes being the most compromising factor of the quality-of-life for the patient and his/her family, will become less of a burden, as the incidence of epilepsy will decrease and since epilepsy might become a more treatable disease.
6. Benefit for European health & society
EPITARGET will have a positive effect on European health and society by helping to gather insights into the process of epileptogenesis and the prevention of this process. Stopping the process of epileptogenesis will greatly enhance the quality of life for patients at risk, allowing them to lead a more active life in society.
Additionally, the current costs generated by epilepsy (€20 billion/year only in Europe) could be decreased by such preventive strategies that stop patients at-risk from developing chronic epilepsy.
7. Benefit for European science and economy
EPITARGET will contribute and benefit European science by creating new knowledge in the field of neurological disorders both in basic research but also for translational aspects in epileptology. The research done in EPITARGET will contribute to the education of Young Scientists by enabling the Young Researchers in the project to have an active role in the research as well as at the annual meetings.
Additionally, the project will promote the collaboration between Academia and industry by close interaction between the involved universities, research institutes and SMEs. Furthermore, by receiving public funding for their work the economic development of European SMEs will be supported, generating a healthy market for research in the field of epilepsy.