By using multidisciplinary strategies of basic, preclinical and clinical research EPITARGET aims to achieve the following objectives:
Objective 1. Identifying novel biomarkers and their combinations
EPITARGET aims to identify novel biomarkers and combinations that will define the different stages of epileptogenesis (i.e. the process leading to epilepsy) and enable clinicians to predict and diagnose early and late stages of the evolution of epilepsy. This will pave the way to improved diagnostics as well as the development of patient-specific preventive strategies. To be able to identify the combinatorial biomarkers, EPITARGET will establish an Epilepsy Preclinical Biomarker Bank (EPBB) and respective database. For this database, EPITARGET will develop Common Data Elements (CDEs) which are an integral part of the Case Report Forms (CRFs) required for the database.
In this objective EPITARGET aims to identify at least 2 biomarkers that in combination will predict whether epileptogenesis is triggered in a post-insult period and will stratify those individual subjects that are at risk of developing epilepsy.
Objective 2. Unravelling the complex patho-physiology of epileptogenesis and to design new, disease-modifying combinatorial treatment strategies
EPITARGET will design new disease-modifying combinatorial treatment strategies that are specifically targeted to the different stages of epileptogenesis. These novel treatment strategies are expected to be capable of preventing the development of epilepsy in at-risk patients and stop its progression after the onset of the disease. The choice of the best combinatorial therapeutic strategy will be assisted by systems biology approaches. This strategy will help to identify key causal factors thus facilitating the choice of multiple drug targets and a rational drug discovery process.
In this objective EPITARGET aims to identify at least 2 patho-physiological mechanisms of epileptogenesis that will be targeted in combination in the post-insult period.
Objective 3. Translating the knowledge obtained to patients
In order to improve diagnosis of patients and to develop new antiepileptogenic treatments and means to predict their efficacy, the results generated in objective 1 and 2 will be translated to patients. The objective is to verify and validate biomarkers in blood and brain tissue samples obtained from patients after potentially epileptogenic brain insults.
In this objective EPITARGET will perform clinical validation of the combinatorial biomarker approach (objective 1), and thereby obtain data from patients to prove the concept for future clinical applications.
To achieve these objectives and maximise outcome, EPITARGET will tackle the complexity posed by epileptogenesis adopting concerted and complementary actions of participating partners, attacking various aspects of epileptogenesis at different levels.