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2019

CURE Epilepsy Award

Therapeutically Targeting Brain Invading Monocytes to Prevent the Deleterious Consequences of Status Epilepticus

Nicholas Varvel, PhD
Emory University
 

Status epilepticus (SE) is a frequent neurological emergency. These unabated seizures reduce quality of life, promote the development of epilepsy, and can cause death.

Dr. Varvel and his team identified a blood-borne immune cell, called a monocyte, which invades the brain after seizures, and contributes to damage and inflammation. They discovered that monocytes are pathogenic after SE, elevating brain inflammation, increasing neuronal damage, and contributing to morbidity. For their project, Dr. Varvel and his team are interested in using a small drug to block monocyte entry in mouse brains after SE. They propose to determine the feasibility of this approach in humans to relieve the effects of seizures and prevent the development of epilepsy and associated behavioral impairments.

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