A study lead by scientists at FutureNeuro discovered three new drugs hold the potential for targeting epilepsy. These drugs target a small set of microRNAs that control gene activity in the brain.
"Our approach to drug discovery has led us to new types of molecules that can be targeted to prevent seizures with hopefully fewer side effects." said Dr Cristina Reschke, FutureNeuro Research Fellow and Honorary Lecturer at RCSI, and Co-Lead Author. "Currently, most drugs used to treat epilepsy work by blocking the signals brain cells use to communicate. This results in many of the side effects experienced by people with epilepsy."
Epilepsy is a chronic brain disorder that affects the quality of life. Although treatments are present, research has lagged the past years making it a challenge for those living with treatment-resistant conditions,
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"By characterising and targeting an entire new class of molecules in epilepsy, we hope to develop novel and innovative treatment strategies for temporal lobe epilepsy." said Dr Gareth Morris, Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions Fellow at FutureNeuro and Co-Lead Author of the paper. "This is an important step closer to fulfilling the urgent and unmet clinical needs for the one third of people whose seizures are resistant to currently available drugs."
Findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) USA.
Senior author on the study, Professor David Henshall, Director of FutureNeuro and Professor of Molecular Physiology and Neuroscience at RCSI said: "The project is a great example of team science, where groups with different areas of expertise combine to create innovative solutions that keep people with epilepsy as the central focus. The discoveries here may be just the tip of the iceberg for new strategies in the treatment of epilepsy. I'm optimistic this can be translated to the clinic."
Source: Science Daily