August 19, 2020

Epilepsy Research News: August 2020

This month’s research news includes two new approaches for developing epilepsy treatments. One is a new antiseizure drug target and the other creates a completely novel type of antiseizure drug based on a vitamin.

Recent studies also broadened our understanding of developmental outcomes in people with epilepsy and possible causes of intellectual delays in some individuals. A research team demonstrated that there is no difference in the developmental or behavioral outcomes of children who have febrile seizures following vaccination compared to children who do not have these seizures. In addition, data from another study shows that two specific genetic mutations which cause the development of epilepsy, as well as intellectual disability affect the same brain protein in the same way.

In addition, research suggests that many people with epilepsy living in rural areas of China could become seizure-free with expanded access to routine neurosurgery. Finally, in the US the FDA has approved Epidiolex® (cannabidiol) oral solution for the treatment of seizures associated with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) in patients age 1 and older. Patients and their families can read the full FDA statement here.

Summaries of these research discoveries and news highlights are below.

Research Discoveries

  • Novel Target for Antiseizure Drugs: An international study, featuring the work of former CURE grantee Dr. David Henshall, discovered that a small set of molecules called microRNAs, which control gene activity in the brain, are elevated in epilepsy. The team created inhibitors of these microRNAs, and when three of these inhibitors were combined, they were found to stop seizures in laboratory tests. Learn more
  • Novel Antiseizure Drug: Researchers report that a novel vitamin K-based therapy has proved effective in reducing seizures in mouse models of medication-resistant seizures. Learn more
  • Vaccination and Seizures: A study demonstrated that there is no difference in developmental and behavioral outcomes for children who have febrile seizures after vaccination, children who have febrile seizures not associated with vaccination, and children who have never had a seizure. Learn more
  • Intellectual Disability and Epilepsy: Two mutations identified in people with developmental and epileptic brain disease can be traced back to the same brain protein known as TRPM3, which is responsible for sensing heat and pain. Researchers have determined how both mutations independently make the protein overly active and extremely sensitive to stimulation, taking the first step towards unraveling what causes the symptoms in patients with these mutations. Learn more
  • Neurosurgery in China: A study researching the causes and outcomes of epilepsy in people who live in rural China found that at least one million individuals could be candidates for a surgical procedure that may leave them seizure-free. Learn more
  • New Therapy for Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC): The FDA recently approved Epidiolex® (cannabidiol) oral solution for the treatment of seizures associated with TSC in patients 1 year of age and older. Epidiolex had previously been approved for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. Learn more

Join leading epilepsy experts as they discuss the current research landscape during Unite to CURE EpilepsyThis live streamed evening showcasing tenacity, discovery, and hope will also feature inspirational stories from the CURE community and special performers, including Eric Church.

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