May 17, 2023

A Team Science Approach for the Preclinical and Clinical Characterization and Biomarker Development for Post-Traumatic Epilepsy

A Report of CURE Epilepsy’s Post-Traumatic Epilepsy Initiative

Abstract found on Wiley Online Library

Objective: Post-traumatic epilepsy (PTE) is an acquired epilepsy that develops in the months or years following a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and can lead to substantial personal, financial, and societal burden. To date, PTE is rarely curable; current treatments are partially effective and often accompanied by adverse side effects. While research on PTE has expanded significantly in the last several years, there remain numerous challenges to identifying effective prevention and treatment strategies. In this paper, we describe advances from the CURE Epilepsy PTE Initiative, including its implementation and the emphasis on team science.

Methods: The CURE Epilepsy PTE Initiative funded six research teams to link preclinical and clinical studies to engage in the validation of experimental models, characterization of pathophysiology and biological pathways, and identification of risk factors associated with PTE. Three teams had projects with both a preclinical and a clinical component; these teams focused on: targeting the epileptogenic effects of subarachnoid blood, exploring the neuropathological mechanisms of epileptogenesis, and defining the role of extracellular matrix injury. Two teams undertook entirely preclinical projects: exploring the role of vascular injury, gliosis, and neurogenesis as drivers for PTE, and identifying genetic, proteomic, metabolomic, and microRNA biosignatures to improve the prediction of PTE. One team’s project was entirely clinical and investigated genetic and protein biomarkers to improve the prediction of PTE.

Results: In addition to scientific discoveries including characterization of a variety of animal models and progress towards the understanding of biological underpinnings and biomarkers for PTE, significant programmatic and personnel-related processes were incorporated, including standardized, rigorous policies and procedures to ensure quality and accountability between and within groups.

Significance: We propose CURE Epilepsy’s team science approach as an effective way to bring together a diverse set of investigators to explore biological mechanisms that may lead to cures for the epilepsies.

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