Recipients of the Fall 2006 Epilepsy Research Foundation Funds

At the First North American Regional Epilepsy Congress: The Annual Meetings of the American Epilepsy Society and Canadian League Against Epilepsy, recipients of the Fall 2006 Epilepsy Research Foundation Awards were announced. We wish to congratulate the following:

A New Approach for Refractory Epilepsy

Detlev Boison, Ph.D., Associate Scientist, Director Epilepsy Program, R.S. Dow Neurobiology Laboratories, Legacy Research, Portland, Oregon and David L. Kaplan, Ph.D., Chair, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Director, Bioengineering & Biotechnology Center, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts are the recipients of a grant to pursue the development of adenosine-releasing brain implants for the treatment of temporal lobe epilepsy. Adenosine, an endogenous neuromodulator, has potent anticonvulsive properties and requires long-term delivery directly to the brain.

This study aims to develop intraventricular implants of biodegradable silk protein polymers in combination with adenosine for therapeutic delivery of adenosine in a rat model. Both the silk polymer and adenosine are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for clinical use, and this study aims to engineer a safe delivery system for adenosine that can be employed in clinical feasibility and safety trials.

Clinical Validation of a Valued Chinese Herb in Epilepsy Treatment

Steven Schachter, M.D., Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Associate Director of Clinical Research, HMS Osher Institute, Director of Research, Department of Neurology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, will pursue a Phase IIA dose-escalation study for the treatment of epilepsy with Huperzine A. This compound, derived from a Chinese herb, is available in the U.S. as a dietary supplement and approved for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease in China, having been administered to over 1,400 healthy volunteers and patients in numerous trials, demonstrating safety and tolerability.

Dr. Schachter and colleagues discovered the anticonvulsant properties of Huperzine A in preclinical studies. This study will evaluate this compound as an add-on therapy in patients with refractory epilepsy for its safety and tolerability as well as provide a preliminary assessment of its effectiveness for seizures and its actions on mood and memory.

Anti-epilepsy Agents Modified to Cross the Blood Brain Barrier

Grzegorz Bulaj, Ph.D., Department of Medicinal Chemistry, College of Pharmacy, University of Utah, received a grant to pursue research in the development of a galanin-based therapy for the treatment of refractory epilepsy. Galanin, a neuropeptide, possesses both anticonvulsant and antiepileptogenic activity when injected directly into the brain. This study aims to chemically synthesize four galanin analogs modified to facilitate transport through the blood brain barrier to overcome this obstacle. These analogs will be evaluated for their biological stability, bioavailability, potential toxicity and anticonvulsant efficacy and potency following intraperitoneal and oral administration. This study is part of a larger preclinical investigation anticipated to result in the selection of one or two Investigational New Drug candidates for advanced preclinical testing.

Our Mission

The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation is to lead the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives.

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