2011

Challenge Awards

Silencing Hyperactive Neurons as a Treatment for Temporal Lobe Epilepsy

Edward Perez-Reyes, PhD - Jaideep Kapur, MD, PhD
University of Virginia
 

Imagine a day when focal and temporal lobe epilepsies can be cured by gene therapy. Imaging techniques already allow us to localize seizure foci; however, incremental advances in drug design and epilepsy surgery are unlikely to precisely target epileptic tissue. The goal of Drs. Perez-Reyes and Kapur’s research is to develop a novel gene therapy tool that will silence hyperactive neurons that cause seizures by selective expression of a potassium leak channel. Proof-of-principle studies will be performed in rodent models of temporal lobe epilepsy. To accelerate translation of this technology to treating individuals with epilepsy, expression of the channel will be drug inducible, allowing control of seizures while minimizing possible side effects.

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