New breakthrough offers hope for potential treatment of rare childhood epilepsy

New breakthrough offers hope for potential treatment of rare childhood epilepsy

Study finds higher suicide rate among people with neurological disorders Meisler is the Myron Levine Distinguished University Professor of Human Genetics and a Professor of Neurology at U-M Medical School. She and her team have studied this disease and its genetic mechanisms for many years, painstakingly developing mouse models that would allow for testing new therapies. Within the past few years, a new therapy called antisense oligonucleotide (ASOs) has entered the scene, enabling researchers to control gene expression. ASOs are short DNA or RNA molecules designed to block messenger RNA molecules and their encoded proteins. This allows them to control the amount of RNA expressed by mutated genes, dampening their effects on the body. The team realized the potential of ASOs for this seizure disorder. Their first achievement was developing a mouse model that accurately and predictably mimicked the disease in people. They generated a mouse with the same SCN8A mutation found in several patients but with the mutation turned off long enough to test the therapy. Developing mice with an "on switch", they were able to administer the ASO, and then turn on the mutation. "The effect was dramatic and unambiguous," says Meisler. "We had a four-fold increase in lifespan, with added effects of repeated treatments." There was no evidence of low-level seizure activity in the treated mice. The amount of mRNA expressed was reduced by half after ASO treatment, which was well tolerated. The treatment was also effective against other types of epilepsy, including Dravet syndrome. They're currently testing other mouse models of seizure disorders to see how widespread the effectiveness might be, "This has the potential to go beyond sodium channel disorders," says Meisler. She notes that ASOs are already FDA approved for several disorders, including spinal muscular atrophy. "I think this will be a breakthrough for these devastating neurological conditions; they are now amenable to a truly personalized treatment." The work is described in a recent publication in the Annals of Neurology . Source: Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan Journal reference: Lenk, G.M., et al. (2020) Scn8a Antisense Oligonucleotide Is Protective in Mouse Models of SCN8A Encephalopathy and Dravet Syndrome. Annals of Neurology . doi.org/10.1002/ana.25676 .



Also in Industry News

How to decide whether or not to start treatment for prostate cancer?
How to decide whether or not to start treatment for prostate cancer?

0 Comments

How to decide whether or not to start treatment for prostate cancer?

Read More

Analysis of the SARS-CoV-2 proteome via visual tools
Analysis of the SARS-CoV-2 proteome via visual tools

0 Comments

Analysis of the SARS-CoV-2 proteome via visual tools

Read More

$65m investment increases British Patient Capital’s exposure to life sciences and health technology
$65m investment increases British Patient Capital’s exposure to life sciences and health technology

0 Comments

$65m investment increases British Patient Capital’s exposure to life sciences and health technology

Read More