Israeli researchers discover MS drug could help epilepsy patients

Tel Aviv University researchers have discovered that a drug used in the treatment of multiple sclerosis may be adapted to help epilepsy patients.

The development is significant because 30-40 percent of epilepsy patients do not respond to the pharmaceutical treatments available today, particularly children with a rare and severe form of the disorder called Dravet Syndrome, a university statement said on Monday.

The findings of the team headed by Prof. Inna Slutsky of the Faculty of Medicine and Sagol School of Neuroscience were published Monday in the scientific journal Neuron.

The discovery emerged from a breakthrough for what the researchers call “a century-old enigma” that has baffled scientists trying to determining the mechanism that regulates and ensures the stability of brain activity.

While the causes of most forms of epilepsy are unknown, scientists do know that epileptic seizures result from excessive and abnormal neuronal activity in the brain.

The researchers said their findings may serve as a basis for the development of drugs for a range of diseases that are characterized by an instability of brain activity.

“The instability of neural activity in various parts of the brain is a main element in a wide range of brain disorders, including epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s,” Slutsky said.

Read More: Times of Israel