According to a new study, researchers have identified a promising alternative treatment for epilepsy that helps suppress, and ultimately stop, seizures associated with the condition.
The study, details of which can be found in the November 7th 2012 issue of Science Translational Medicine, investigated the effects of this treatment on rodents. Using a form of gene therapy, this minimally invasive procedure effectively “cured” rodents of their epileptic seizures. By infusing neurons in the rodents’ brains with a boost of “calm down” genes, the researchers were able to relax the hyperactive brain cells and electrical signals causing their epileptic seizures. According to researchers, this is the first time gene therapy has been used to halt these seizures. If future testing proves successful, researchers will eventually move into human testing.
As of today, there is only one other cure for epilepsy – invasive neurosurgery. Other treatments include electrical therapy or drug therapy, however the effectiveness of these alternatives is small. For example, in the case of anti-epileptic drug therapies, recent studies have only shown such treatments to be effective for approximately 30% of patients, while the rest remain unresponsive to the drug. Even the invasive surgical option, which still represents the most effective means of treatment, is not a guaranteed cure for this condition. This new minimally invasive alternative, if it continues to see high success rates in future studies, presents several promising possibilities for the future state of epilepsy therapeutics. Not only will it provide doctors and physicians with a safer means to treat epileptic seizures, but in could also increase the likelihood of success associated with treating this condition.
Please visit the Science Translational Medicine journal for more information. An abstract for the research article can be found here. Please note, the full text research article requires a subscription to the publication.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 13th, 2012 at 12:34 pm
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