Epilepsy biomarkers


Address correspondence to: Jerome Engel Jr, Department of Neurology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, 710 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1769, U.S.A.

E-mail: engel@ucla.edu


A biomarker is defined as an objectively measured characteristic of a normal or pathologic biologic process. Identification and proper validation of biomarkers of epileptogenesis (the development of epilepsy) and ictogenesis (the propensity to generate spontaneous seizures) might predict the development of an epilepsy condition; identify the presence and severity of tissue capable of generating spontaneous seizures; measure progression after the condition is established; and determine pharmacoresistance. Such biomarkers could be used to create animal models for more cost-effective screening of potential antiepileptogenic and antiseizure drugs and devices, and to reduce the cost of clinical trials by enriching the trial population, and acting as surrogate markers to shorten trial duration. The objectives of the biomarker subgroup for the London Workshop were to define approaches for identifying possible biomarkers for these purposes. Research to identify reliable biomarkers may also reveal underlying mechanisms that could serve as therapeutic targets for the development of new antiepileptogenic and antiseizure compounds.