From Medical Xpress:
By delivering genes for a certain signal substance and its receptor into the brain of test animals with chronic epilepsy, a research group at Lund University in Sweden and colleagues at University of Copenhagen Denmark has succeeded in considerably reducing the number of epileptic seizures among the animals. The test has been designed to as far as possible mimic a future situation involving treatment of human patients.
Many patients with epilepsy are not experiencing any improvements from existing drugs. Surgery can be an alternative for severe epilepsy, in case it is possible to localise and remove the epileptic focus in the brain where seizures arise.
“There is a period between the detection of this focus and the operation when the gene therapy alternative could be tested. If it works well, the patient can avoid surgery. If it doesn’t, surgery will go ahead as initially planned and the affected part will then be removed. With this approach, the experimental treatment will be more secure for the patient”, says Professor Merab Kokaia.
He and his group are working on a rat model that mimics temporal lobe epilepsy, the most common type of epilepsy. The test animals are given injections of the epilepsy-inducing substance, kainate, in the temporal lobe of one the cerebral hemispheres. Most of the animals had seizures of varying degrees, whereas some had no seizures, which Merab Kokaia considers a good result, as it is similar to the situation among people. Brain damage resulting from various accidents has very…