Major Breakthrough from CURE Researchers
In a major breakthrough for epilepsy research, drugs known as TGF-beta blockers have been found to prevent epilepsy after brain injury in rats. CURE grantees, Daniela Kaufer, PhD (University of California, Berkeley) and Alon Friedman, MD, PhD (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel) discovered that they could prevent the brain changes leading to epilepsy by treating the animals with a drug that blocks transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) receptors. If the findings are confirmed in humans, the TGF-beta blockers may prevent many cases of epilepsy in accident victims and soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, who are incurring traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in unprecedented numbers.
Epilepsy is a common long-term consequence of TBI, with those who suffer severe head traumas facing up to a 50 percent chance of developing post-traumatic epilepsy. Frequently, this chronic condition does not respond to available treatments, imposing significant ill effects on rehabilitation and quality of life. At this time, there is no way to prevent or cure post-traumatic epilepsy.
Drs. Kaufer and Friedmanís study is supported through CUREís program, Prevention of Epilepsy after Traumatic Brain Injury, in partnership with the United States Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC). This program, now in its third year, targets funds to basic and applied research on epilepsy related to traumatic brain injury impacting combat, veteran, and civilian populations in order to better understand the cause of epilepsy following TBI and develop interventions and treatments.
To read more about this exciting new discovery, please visit: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090714191850.htm