8 Jun 2017

Translational Research Symposium Speaker Spotlight - Professor Terence O'Brien

Professor Terence O'Brien
Monash University's 3rd annual Translational Research Symposium is being hosted by its three metropolitan clinical schools on 31 July 2017. The symposium will host a diverse group of medical researchers presenting their work into translational research. RSVP here.

Professor Terence O'Brien is from the Department of Medicine, The Royal Melbourne and Western Hospital, at The University of Melbourne.

Professor O'Brien will be presenting on "Developing treatments that address the treatment gap for the Sacred Disease". Abstract below:
Epilepsy, know to the ancients as “Sacred Disease”, is the most common serious chronic neurological condition worldwide. There is no medical cure for epilepsy, but anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) can symptomatically suppress seizure occurrence, and if taken on an ongoing basis can control the seizures in approximately two-thirds of patients. However, despite more than 15 new AEDs being introduced into clinical practice over the last three decades, there has been minimal impact on the major current treatment gaps for epilepsy. These are:
1. Drug resistant epilepsy
2. Medication tolerability
3. Lack of disease modifying/anti-epileptogenic therapies, and
4. Lack of treatment for psychiatric comorbidities.

The explanation for the lack of impact of these new therapies is likely that the traditional drug development paradigm has been focused on identifying drugs that suppress seizures, rather than treatments that incrementally impact the gaps in care over currently available AEDs.

Over the last decade there has been a refocusing of therapy development in the epilepsy field, utilizing true animal models of epilepsy, to identify drugs that are disease modifying and therefore fundamentally mitigate the epileptic condition, thereby have potential to address the current gaps in epilepsy treatment. Two such treatments are sodium selenate, targeting the accumulation of hyperphosphorylated tau that occurs in acquired epilepsy, and Z944, a selective T-Type calcium channel blocker that inhibits epileptiform neuronal burst firing. However, translating the promising results in animal models of these compounds to demonstrate effective anti-epileptogenesis in human clinical trials represents a significant challenge.


We look forward to welcoming Professor O'Brien for the Symposium!

More information:
Translational Research Symposium
  • Date: Monday 31 July, 2017
  • Time: 8:30 for 9:00am start - 7:00pm close
  • RSVP here
Find out more about the symposium and our speaker program.

If you are a graduate student or early career researcher, you may be interested in the Young Investigator poster competition. See here for more details and to RSVP.

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