2012 IoN News Archive
- Hereditary Whispering Dystonia gene identified
- Belgian Stroke Council Award to UCL student
- Professor Nicholas Wood appointed as neuroscience programme director for UCLH NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (BRC)
- UCL neuroscientists awarded highly competitive ERC Advanced Grants
- Drugs could provide new treatment for epilepsy
- Breakthrough in the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy
- UCL Institute of Neurology enters gene-editing research collaboration with Horizon Discovery
- Lifetime achievement award for Professor Thompson’s MS work
- New biography of Gowers released
- Repurposed cardiac sodium channel blocker brings significant benefit for patients with a rare neuromuscular disease
- Toxic protein build-up in blood shines light on fatal brain disease
- Professor Lees receives prestigious German Society of Neurology award
- Cause of Alternating Hemiplegia identified
- Dr John Morgan-Hughes
- Results from stroke treatment study are in top 10 of Lancet’s most highly cited papers
- Skin patch improves attention span in stroke patients
- Genetic study identifies treatable pathway in childhood motor neuron disease
- Awards and congratulations
- Medical Photographer Wins Wellcome Image Awards
- Prestigious Junior Investigator Award for stroke research
- Unlocking the mysteries of the mind
- Official unveiling of Neuroimaging Centre
- Professor Simon Shorvon appointed Harveian librarian at the Royal College of Physicians
- Parliamentary Group Visit the Institute
- Cultural Consultation Service website launches
- Clinical Teaching Awards 2011/12
- Prestigious European Science Foundation networking grant awarded to Institute of Neurology professor
- International project to determine vascular contribution to neurodegeneration begins
- Prime Minister visits UCL Institute of Neurology
- Professor Ray Dolan gives the prestigious Alan Turing Lecture
- The Performing Brain – A moving story? Friday 16th March
- Are we hard wired to be rebellious?
- Detecting stroke
- Queen Square Clinical Trial Centre launched
- New funding to preserve unique archives
- Major new funding for research into epilepsy is announced
- Professor Ray Dolan elected Fellow of the APS
- New Years Honours
- Brain Implant Cures Woman's Tourette's Tics
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Drugs could provide new treatment for epilepsy
27 November 2012
New drugs derived from components of a specific diet used by children with severe, drug-resistant epilepsy could offer a new treatment, according to research published today in the journal Neuropharmacology.
Scientists from UCL and Royal Holloway have identified specific fatty acids that have potent antiepileptic effects, which could help control seizures in children and adults.
The discovery could lead to the replacement of the ketogenic diet, which is often prescribed for children with severe drug-resistant epilepsy. The high fat, low carbohydrate diet is thought to mimic aspects of starvation by forcing the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. Although often effective, the diet has attracted criticism, as side effects can be significant and potentially lead to constipation, hypoglycaemia, retarded growth and bone fractures. The new drugs could provide similar epilepsy control, but without causing the troubling side effects.
By pinpointing fatty acids in the ketogenic diet that are effective in controlling epilepsy, researchers hope that they can develop a pill for children and adults that lacks the side effects of the diet.
Epilepsy affects over 50 million people worldwide and approximately a third of these people have epilepsy that is not adequately controlled by our present treatments. This discovery offers a whole new approach to the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsies in children and adults.
Professor Robin Williams from the Centre of Biomedical Sciences at Royal Holloway said: “This is an important breakthrough. The family of medium chain fatty acids that we have identified provide an exciting new field of research with the potential of identifying, stronger, and safer epilepsy treatments.”
The study tested a range of fatty acids found in the ketogenic diet against an established epilepsy treatment. Researchers found that not only did some of the fatty acids outperform the drug in controlling seizures, they also had fewer side effects.
Professor Matthew Walker from the UCL Institute of Neurology said: “Epilepsy affects over 50 million people worldwide and approximately a third of these people have epilepsy that is not adequately controlled by our present treatments. This discovery offers a whole new approach to the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsies in children and adults.”
The research also builds on work funded by the NC3Rs in which most of the animal testing normally used in drug development for epilepsy has been replaced by using a simple amoeba to initially screen and identify improved treatments.
Professor Williams added: “Animals are often used in the search for new epilepsy treatments. Our work provides a new approach, helping us to reduce reliance on animals and provide potential major improvements in human health.”
The specific fatty acids identified in this work are the subject of a patent application, and Royal Holloway is seeking commercial collaborators to pursue the potential for new drug development.
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