Innovative gene therapies

for epilepsy treatment

Short Facts

The main objective of the “Innovative gene therapies for epilepsy treatment” (Epixchange) project was to explore, provide the bases for clinical application and implement in the industrial arena new, advanced, unconventional strategies for the therapy of partial epilepsies.

These strategies included:

  • implantation in the pathologic brain area of an encapsulated cell biodelivery (ECB) system capable of localized secretion of a therapeutic neuropeptide  and/or a neurotrophic factor;
  • injection in the pathologic brain area of viral vectors  for the transfer of therapeutic genes;
  • transplantation of cells (mesangioblasts, MABs) engineered to produce neurotrophic factors. The therapeutic approaches proposed are technologically novel and offer clear potential advantages over existing ones: from a surgical point of view, a single stereotaxic (i.e. less invasive compared with a craniotomy) intervention will be needed; from a pharmacological point of view, new therapeutic agents (with mechanisms of action completely different from those currently in clinical use).

Michele Simonato, MD

Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology
Department of Medical Sciences
University of Ferrara, Italy