Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New drugs show promise for preventing 'absence seizures' in children

Date:
February 15, 2012
Source:
University of British Columbia
Summary:
Medical researchers have developed a new class of drugs that suppress absence seizures, a symptom of epilepsy most commonly experienced by children.

A team led by a University of British Columbia professor has developed a new class of drugs that completely suppress absence seizures -- a brief, sudden loss of consciousness -- in rats, and which are now being tested in humans.

Absence seizures, also known as "petit mal seizures," are a symptom of epilepsy, most commonly experienced by children. During such episodes, the person looks awake but dazed. The seizures, arising from a flurry of high-frequency signals put out by the neurons of the thalamus, can be dangerous if they occur while a person is swimming or driving, and can also interrupt learning.

Available medications don't completely control such seizures in many patients. They also cause severe side effects, including sleepiness, blurred vision and diminished motor control.

A Canadian-Australian team, led by neuroscientist Terrance P. Snutch, a Canada Research Chair in the Michael Smith Laboratories at UBC, developed new drugs with a different target -- the flow of calcium into brain cells. Their findings were recently published in Science Translational Medicine.

The new drugs, known as Z941 and Z944, block the flow of calcium ions into those neurons. When given to rats with absence epilepsy, they suppressed seizures by 85 to 90 per cent.

The team, which included collaborators at Zalicus Pharmaceuticals Ltd. of Vancouver and the University of Melbourne, was surprised to find that when seizures did occur, they were also of shorter duration; existing medications don't have any effect on the length of seizures.

The first phase of human clinical trials of Z944 began in December, with results expected later this year.

"Z941 and Z944 were designed to target a specific type of nerve cell calcium channel associated with epilepsy, as well as other hyper-excitability disorders such as chronic pain," says Snutch, a professor in the departments of psychiatry and zoology. "The dramatic effect of the drugs in rats with absence epilepsy, together with the drugs' ability to be administered orally and easily absorbed, and its good safety profile in animals, provide us with cautious optimism for the current clinical trial."

Dr. Snutch's translational research program has previously resulted in the development of drugs to treat chronic pain, one of which is currently undergoing clinical trials and another that has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is available to patients.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. E. Tringham, K. L. Powell, S. M. Cain, K. Kuplast, J. Mezeyova, M. Weerapura, C. Eduljee, X. Jiang, P. Smith, J.-L. Morrison, N. C. Jones, E. Braine, G. Rind, M. Fee-Maki, D. Parker, H. Pajouhesh, M. Parmar, T. J. O'Brien, T. P. Snutch. T-Type Calcium Channel Blockers That Attenuate Thalamic Burst Firing and Suppress Absence Seizures. Science Translational Medicine, 2012; 4 (121): 121ra19 DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3003120

Cite This Page:

University of British Columbia. "New drugs show promise for preventing 'absence seizures' in children." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 February 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120215142952.htm>.
University of British Columbia. (2012, February 15). New drugs show promise for preventing 'absence seizures' in children. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120215142952.htm
University of British Columbia. "New drugs show promise for preventing 'absence seizures' in children." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120215142952.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
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

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