Article published by Monash University
Researchers led by the Department of Neuroscience’s Professor Patrick Kwan CIA have been funded $3.8 million in the current round of Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) grants to develop a new class of drug compounds to counter drug-resistant epilepsy (DRE).
The research, which will span five years, is being conducted in collaboration with Chief Investigators (CIs) from the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS), Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and Swinburne University of Technology.
It will screen a new class of compounds using cultured neurons derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells, followed by testing in an animal model of DRE, aiming to identify one or two compounds ready for clinical trialling in DRE patients once the project is completed.
Professor Kwan said there was an urgent need to discover new drugs for epilepsy, which affects 70 million people worldwide.
“Our research has shown that despite the development of more than 15 new drugs in the past three decades, the overall treatment prognosis of epilepsy has not improved. This is likely because these drugs act in similar fashions to their older counterparts. Therefore, new classes of medications with radically different mechanisms of actions are needed,” Professor Kwan said.