Neusentis to incorporate Cellectricon’s platform into vital epilepsy research
Epilepsy is a chronic neurological condition characterized by recurrent seizures. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), epilepsy affects between 2.2 and 3 million people in the United States and, despite the availability of multiple anti-seizure drugs, one third of people with epilepsy still live with uncontrolled seizures.
Neusentis (a Pfizer research unit), in partnership with the Epilepsy Foundation (www.epilepsy.com) and Intellimedix, is embarking upon an exciting international collaboration to create individualized and potential new treatments for people living with Dravet Syndrome (a very severe type of genetic epilepsy) and other types of epilepsy, for which limited treatment options are currently available. Induced pluripotent stem cells (IPSCs) derived from a series of individual patients with Dravet Syndrome will be used to develop cell based models of epilepsy. Neurons derived from patient IPSCs will be investigated to identify and characterize the disease phenotype. The neurons will be challenged with anti-epileptic drugs so as to correlate the response to that of the individual Dravet Syndrome patients, as well as used as a “disease in a dish” to identify novel anti-epileptic mechanisms.
Here at Cellectricon, we are looking forward to being a part of this exciting project, as Neusentis has decided to use our neuronal excitability assay platform with neurons derived from patient IPSCs. This unique platform is capable of characterizing sizeable compound libraries in a functional assay, and provides researchers with early, physiologically-relevant compound data of decision-making value. We believe this platform could provide an essential link to learn more about this devastating disease and ultimately in finding a cure.
Paul Karila, VP Discovery Services
Paul Karila is Head of Cellectricon’s Discovery Services which was launched in 2013. He joined Cellectricon from AstraZeneca (AZ) where he held leadership positions at the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and later at the department of Neuroscience. At the R&D facilities, Paul led teams responsible for ion channel and GPCR profiling in LI-LO phase, mainly on analgesia targets, and most recently a target identification/target validation team focusing on native (human) tissue. Prior to joining AZ, Paul was a Postdoctoral Fellow at School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, USA, studying neurobiology using electrophysiological methods, and a Graduate student in animal physiology at University of Gothenburg, Sweden (1991- 1997).