Albert Einstein College of Medicine Receives $11 Million Grant to Tackle Post-Traumatic Epilepsy

Neurons in the brain firing

Approximately 1 in 50 people who suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) will develop post-traumatic epilepsy (PTE) — with the risk of PTE significantly higher in people with severe TBI. PTE is characterized by recurring seizures that begin a week or more after the brain injury, and there is currently no way to identify those at risk for developing PTE or to prevent its onset.

Now, researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, led by Aristea Galanopoulou, MD, PhD, have received a five-year, $11 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to look for novel biomarkers that predict a person’s risk for developing PTE and for treatments to prevent the condition. Dr. Galanopoulou will lead an international, multicenter collaboration with faculty at the University of California, Los Angeles; University of Southern California; Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences; University of Minnesota; and Monash University in Australia, a team established by EpiBioS4Rx, a previous PTE research “center without walls” grant. The investigators will first conduct preclinical studies, with the goal of future clinical trials to evaluate promising diagnostics and interventions.

“Traumatic brain injuries are one of the most common causes of epilepsy, particularly among people aged 15 to 24 and the elderly,” said Dr. Galanopoulou, professor in the Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology and the Dominick P. Purpura Department of Neuroscience. “For that reason, PTE requires specialized attention. Our fruitful research collaboration over the past five years laid the groundwork for this grant, and we look forward to translating our findings to the clinic in the coming years, so we can provide hope for patients.”

We are hopeful we can find a way to avert the onset of PTE and spare people the challenges that accompany the disease.

Aristea Galanopoulou, MD, PhD