Innovator Award

An Essential Element For Novel, Astrocyte Focused Epilepsy Therapies: The Creation Of A Chimeric, Astrocyte Selective Adeno-Associated Virus Vector

Thomas McCown, PhD
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Seizures impair the function of several types of cells in the brain. Impairment of the astrocyte cells leads to an environment that favors further seizure activity. To date, no means exist to efficiently express genes in astrocytes that could restore normal cellular function. Therefore, using previously successful advanced techniques, we propose to create novel virus vectors that selectively target astrocytes. A successful outcome has far reaching implications for epilepsy therapy. With an established astrocyte selective virus vector, the potential exists to reverse the pro-seizure environment and subsequently prevent seizure activity. Importantly, this therapeutic approach would not directly alter function of the neurons, which is the primary cause of negative side effects.


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