Top Sector Life Sciences & Health (LSH) entails a broad scope of disciplines, from pharmaceuticals to medical technology and from healthcare infrastructure to vaccination. To realise its mission – vital citizens in a healthy economy - the Top Sector builds on the strengths of the Dutch LSH sector to address the biggest societal challenges in prevention, cure and care. By funding multidisciplinary public-private partnerships (PPPs) the Top Sector aims to facilitate innovation. Here we give an overview of  a number of funded R&D projects by Top Sector LSH. The page is updated continuously.

The search for epilepsy biomarkers in blood

EPI‐BIO‐MIR Circulating isomiRs: a novel approach to biomarkers for epilepsy

Almost 50 million people suffer from epilepsy, making it to one of the most common neurological diseases worldwide. Intractable epilepsy has a life‐long effect on social and cognitive functioning and quality of life of patients. One of the major challenges in epilepsy research is the identification of reliable biomarkers that can be measured routinely in easily accessible samples, such as blood. Biomarkers could substantially improve the management of people with epilepsy and could lead to prevention in the right person at the right time.

The Academic Medical Center and GenomeScan propose that circulating isomiRs (recently discovered disease modified small non‐coding RNA molecules) in blood reflect pathological changes in brain and can be used as biomarkers for epilepsy. To test this hypothesis, they will use an innovative and translational experimental approach involving an experimental model of epilepsy as well as blood and resected brain tissue from patients with intractable epilepsies. To identify biomarkers they will study changes of circulating isomiRs in the model in two cohorts (developing epilepsy or no epilepsy) using state‐of‐the‐art techniques. Findings in these experimental studies will be used for validation in patients.

The approach outlined here has recently delivered biomarkers in cancer research, however, this has not yet been explored or translated into diagnostic tools for neurological disorders, including epilepsy. This study will provide novel insights into the role of circulating isomiRs in the disease process, which will help to develop new treatments and will provide information whether changes in circulating isomiRs can be used as easily accessible biomarkers for epilepsy.