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Searching for blood-based biomarkers to improve the current epilepsy diagnosis

Grant number: 16/26172-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2017
Effective date (End): February 28, 2019
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Medicine
Cooperation agreement: Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES)
Principal Investigator:Iscia Teresinha Lopes Cendes
Grantee:Mariana Martin
Home Institution: Faculdade de Ciências Médicas (FCM). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas, SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:13/07559-3 - BRAINN - The Brazilian Institute of Neuroscience and Neurotechnology, AP.CEPID

Abstract

The diagnosis of epilepsy can sometimes be a challenging procedure leading to a priority in the development of innovative biomarkers, since it is estimated that misdiagnosis of epilepsy occurs in around 25% of cases. In addition, a significant proportion of patients with epilepsy do not show good control with antiepileptic medication. Major causes of drug resistant epilepsy (DRE) are mesial temporal epilepsy and focal cortical dysplasia. The identification of biomarkers for response to treatment could potentially speed-up the diagnosis of medically refractory seizures, which in turn would lead to earlier indication of an effective alternative treatment. One potential candidate for biomarkers is circulating microRNAs; these are small noncoding RNAs present in extracellular human body fluids including plasma or serum. It is well known that induced changes of microRNAs levels are stable in plasma, can be strongly associated with specific disease states and it is noninvasively and easily quantifiable. In this context, the aims of this project are: 1) to investigate whether circulating microRNAs could be used as biomarkers for the diagnosis of epilepsy; 2) to evaluate whether circulating microRNAs could be used to identify patients with DRE. Initial screening will be performed in plasma samples obtained from patients with epilepsy and normal controls. Next-generation sequencing technology (RNA-seq) will be used to identify candidate biomarkers in an initial cohort, subsequent validation using RT-qPCR will be done in additional patients as a validation procedure. (AU)

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