Challenge Award

HMGB1 As A Target And A Mechanistic Biomarker Of Epileptogenesis

Annamaria Vezzani, PhD
Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri (IFRMN) - Milan, Italy

The next generation of therapies for epilepsy needs to target the mechanisms intimately involved in making the brain susceptible to spontaneous seizures. Such drugs could be used to prevent the onset of epilepsy in susceptible individuals or favourably modify its course after the disease onset. A major area of interest in epilepsy research relates to inflammation. We have shown that one specific molecule, which is known by the acronym HMGB1, is closely involved in seizures, and its presence in epileptic brain tissue is an indicator of neuroinflammation. It is produced and released by injured brain cells and can be measured in the bloodstream. The project goals are to use experimental models to prove the HMGB1 involvement in epilepsy development and its comorbidities, the utility of blood HMGB1 for predicting disease development and the therapeutic response to treatment, and the anti-epileptogenic effects of a new combination of medically used drugs targeting HMGB1.

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