Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Gene therapy to treat epilepsy a step closer

25.08.2010
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 prestigious 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.

The article is entitled ‘Adeno-associated viral vector-induced overexpression of neuropeptide Y Y2 receptors in the hippocampus suppresses seizures’ and is available at http://brain.oxfordjournals.org/ (enter ‘Kokaia’ in the search box).

Merab Kokaia can be contacted by telephone, +46 46 222 05 47, mobile +46 706 620899, or by email, merab.kokaia@med.lu.se

Megan Grindlay | idw
Further information:
http://brain.oxfordjournals.org/
http://www.vr.se

Further reports about: AEDs Brain Activity Epilepsy antiepileptic drugs gene therapy neuropeptide Y

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Antimicrobial substances identified in Komodo dragon blood
23.02.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht New Mechanisms of Gene Inactivation may prevent Aging and Cancer
23.02.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Alternsforschung - Fritz-Lipmann-Institut e.V. (FLI)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a 'chaotic solar system'

23.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

'Quartz' crystals at the Earth's core power its magnetic field

23.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Antimicrobial substances identified in Komodo dragon blood

23.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>