Predicting and monitoring outcomes in Autoimmune Encephalitis (POTA)

Epilepsy is a disorder of the brain in which people have repeated seizures. 

Autoimmune encephalitis (AE) is a rare cause of epilepsy. It is an inflammatory disease of the brain. This means that the body’s own immune system attacks healthy brain tissue, just like it would if it were infected by a virus or a bacteria, by producing an army of proteins called ‘antibodies’ which go on to ‘attack’ healthy tissues. 

Seizures in AE typically do not respond well to classic ‘anti-seizure medications’. Instead, medications which suppress the immune system are used. These can have significant sideeffects and some patients will still continue to have seizures or experience a recurrence of AE- Part B1 - Application Form HRCI-HRCI Joint Funding Scheme 2022: Part B1 Page 4 of 49 related epilepsy despite treatment. It is difficult to accurately predict who these outcomes will happen to. 

We aim to find ways of predicting which people with AE are at greatest risk of these outcomes, so we can better direct them towards appropriate treatments. We will collect clinical information and samples of blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF, fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord) from people with AE and ‘control’ participants with other neurological illnesses. We will then analyse these samples for proteins which may help us to predict outcomes in AE and better understand the disease so that we can improve treatments.

Award Date
01 July 2022
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Professor Norman Delanty
Host Institution
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
HRCI-HRB Joint Funding Scheme