Research Training Group 2154 - Materials for Brain

RTG Online Colloquium talk by Prof. Dr. med. vet. Heidrun Potschka: Current state and future perspectives for therapy and prevention of epilepsies

Institute of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmacy, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich (LMU)

Oct 21, 2021 from 05:00 PM to 06:00 PM


Link to the online-meeting Link


Concepts for preclinical drug development of antiseizure medications (ASMs) need to consider the clinical challenges related to the rate of drug resistance and the potential mechanisms of drHeidrun Potschkaug resistance. Thus, preclinical pipelines for assessment of novel drug candidates have been re-organized allowing an early im-plementation of chronic epilepsy models as a basis for the selection of lead compounds. Novel therapeutic strategies can be based on rational selection of novel target candidates, design of novel multitarget drugs, modulation of available ASMs, drug repurposing, screening of compound libraries as well as Omics-based approaches for selection of novel targets and design of polytherapy approaches.
Concerning management of genetic epilepsies, it is exciting to see the number of different advanced preci-sion medicine approaches currently in the preclinical and clinical pipeline. While there is a focus on Dravet syndrome as one of the severe developmental and epileptic encephalopathies, the concepts can be trans-lated to different genetic haploinsufficiencies. The development of these advanced precision medicine ap-proaches raises the question about a potential time window during which the application needs to be initiat-ed during brain development. In this context, it is of interest that complex molecular and metabolic altera-tions were identified in a mouse model of Dravet syndrome, which may either serve a compensatory func-tion or contribute to the course of the phenotype. There is an urgent need to study their functional relevance in order to provide an optimized basis for the application of advanced precision medicine approaches in pe-diatric patients.
In addition to the focus on novel strategies that may help to overcome drug resistance and may exert dis-ease-modifying effects, there is a particular interest in the identification of preventive approaches. Transla-tion of respective approaches requires biomarkers that allow an early identification and stratification of pa-tients at risk to develop epilepsy following a brain insult such as traumatic brain injury.


Since 2006, Dr. med. vet. Heidrun Potschka is Professor of Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Pharmacy, in the Veterinary Faculty of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich. Among other memberships and duties, she is part of the Translational research task force of the International League against Epilepsy and American Epilepsy Society. In addition, she has served on a number of scientifically and socially significant committees. Professor Potschka has been awarded for the Förderpreis der Akademie für Tiergesundheit, and the Michael Foundation's International Prize. She was elected to the Leopoldina in 2014 and became a member of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture's Animal Welfare Commission in 2020. Since 2021, Professor Potschka is an Elected Board member of the German Neuroscience Society (NeuroWissenschaftliche Gesellschaft). Also, this year, she was distinguished by Therese von Bayern Awards as an outstanding female researcher at LMU. Her major scientific interests lie in the pharmacology and pathophysiology of epilepsies. Her focus on translational research has resulted in contributions to the development of new drugs that have been approved for use in both human and veterinary medicine.

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