IBE - International Epilepsy Support

Funded by the EU 6th Framework Programme – Project EC LSH-037315

Epicure has made the headlines in Italy. It was reported by the Italian national news agency ANSA who described how neurotrophic factors have been found which could prevent spontaneous seizures in an epilepsy model. Thua research was carried out by EPICURE’s Michele Simonato’s team at the University of Ferrara and published in PNAS in April 2009.

The novel aspect of this research is that a genetically modified virus is used to administer the proteins to the brain. A study in rats suggests that localized hippocampal delivery of FGF-2 and BDNF may be useful for decreasing seizure frequency. In a rat model of epilepsy, hippocampal delivery of a vector containing BDNF and FGF-2 decreased the incidence of spontaneous recurrent seizures, the number of seizures per day and seizure severity compared with what was seen using a control vector. The vector also increased hippocampal volume and neurogenesis compared with that seen using the control vector. Next steps include evaluating the approach in other epilepsy models and developing better delivery methods.

This research was also reported in the il resto del carlino and Libero newspapers which explained how this research opens new perspectives in clinical applications. The newsletter of the Fondation Pour La Recherche Medicale, quoted Professor Ben-Ari from the Mediterranean Neurobiology Institute, describing how these research results are extremely interesting. The results were also quoted in SciBX Science and Business eXchange.