Northwestern Events Calendar

Mar
8
2021

New Treatments for Epilepsy: MicroRNA therapeutics and the Future

When: Monday, March 8, 2021
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM Central

Where: Online

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Liz Murphy   312.503.4892

Group: Department of Pharmacology Seminars

Category: Lectures & Meetings

Description:

David Henshall, PhD
Professor of Physiology and Medical Physics
University of Medicine and Health Sciences
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

Abstract:
Epilepsy is a common, serious brain disease characterized by unprovoked seizures. Although we have more than 20 different anti-seizure drugs, around one third of patients are refractory to these. Moreover, these medicines fail to impact on the underlying pathophysiology and we have no treatments that can prevent epilepsy in at-risk individuals. MicroRNAs are short noncoding RNAs that perform important roles in the regulation of the gene expression landscape in the brain. Research has shown that various microRNAs undergo changes in expression during the development of epilepsy in experimental models and microRNA levels are altered in brain tissue from drug-resistant epilepsy patients. Designed antisense inhibitors of microRNAs – termed antagomirs – have been used to explore causal roles for several microRNAs in epilepsy. Results indicate both anti-seizure and even disease-modifying effects, potentially offering a new approach to the treatment of epilepsy. In this presentation I will provide an introduction to the unmet therapeutic needs in epilepsy and why microRNAs offer promise as new targets for seizure control. I will then give an overview of some of our latest research, including newly identified microRNA targets in epilepsy and an update on our preclinical development pipeline with industry partners and the challenges of translation to the clinic.

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