Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gene therapy to treat epilepsy a step closer

Date:
August 26, 2010
Source:
Lund University
Summary:
Current antiepileptic drugs have many side-effects, among others slowing down brain activity, which in turn reduces patients’ ability to react. These side-effects could be eliminated if genes that counteract seizures could be introduced into the brain. New research from Sweden shows promising results in animal experiments.

Current antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) have many side-effects, among others slowing down brain activity, which in turn reduces patients' ability to react. These side-effects could be eliminated if genes that counteract seizures could be introduced into the brain. Professor Merab Kokaia at Lund University in Sweden has obtained promising results in animal experiments.

Epilepsy is a fairly common condition, affecting around 1 in every 100 people in Sweden. It increases the risk of depression, sudden death, injury and disability. Today's medication not only has side-effects, it is also not sufficiently effective. A large proportion of epilepsy patients are not helped by the drugs and cannot be treated with brain surgery either.

Research in recent years has shown that the brain tries to counteract seizures. One of the ways it does this is by increasing levels of a protein-like molecule called neuropeptide Y and the expression of certain receptors for it.

Both Merab Kokaia's research group and others have previously shown that gene therapy can increase levels of neuropeptide Y in the brain. The Lund researchers are now also the first group in the world to introduce genes that increase the expression of certain receptors for neuropeptides in the brain.

"Neuropeptide Y affects many receptors on the cells in the brain. Some of these increase the risk of seizures and thus have the opposite effect to that which we want to achieve. Therefore it is not ideal to only aim for high levels of neuropeptide Y; we should also ensure that the neuropeptide activates the right receptors," says Merab Kokaia.

He has tested the combined neuropeptide and receptor gene therapy on a rat model of epilepsy and found that the seizures were strongly suppressed. The results have recently been published in the journal Brain.

The genes were introduced into the animals' brains via harmless viruses. These were injected into the specific parts of the brain that are affected by an epileptic condition.

"If the method works on humans, a single treatment would be sufficient, rather than lifelong medication. Unlike current AEDs, such treatment would also only affect the parts of the brain concerned," explains Merab Kokaia.

In the USA the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now considering an application to test gene therapy for epilepsy on humans. However, this application only concerns introducing genes to increase expression of neuropeptide Y, whereas the Lund group's findings indicate that genes that increase the expression of the right receptors would be at least as important.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Lund University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. D. P. D. Woldbye, M. Angehagen, C. R. Gotzsche, H. Elbrond-Bek, A. T. Sorensen, S. H. Christiansen, M. V. Olesen, L. Nikitidou, T. v. O. Hansen, I. Kanter-Schlifke, M. Kokaia. Adeno-associated viral vector-induced overexpression of neuropeptide Y Y2 receptors in the hippocampus suppresses seizures. Brain, 2010; DOI: 10.1093/brain/awq219

Cite This Page:

Lund University. "Gene therapy to treat epilepsy a step closer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100825093541.htm>.
Lund University. (2010, August 26). Gene therapy to treat epilepsy a step closer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100825093541.htm
Lund University. "Gene therapy to treat epilepsy a step closer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100825093541.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins