Could new Vitamin K compound lead to new epilepsy medication?

New research from the USA has reported positive findings regarding the use of a Vitamin K based compound in the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy.

The research was recently published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, and reported findings from the use of the compound in animal models. From the outset, it must be noted that there are many hurdles to overcome before this compound is potentially developed into a medication for humans; however, results reported from the trial were overwhelmingly positive with the compound eliminating seizure activity in the mice subjects. 

The research was conducted by Dr. James Chou and Dr. Sherine Chan of the Medical University of South Carolina. With epilepsy known be caused by changes in brain activity, the researchers were focussed on energy production in brain cells. This energy production is controlled by cells within the brain known as mitochondria. 

Commenting on the basis behind their research, Dr. Chan explained, "When mitochondria are damaged, cells have a tough time producing sufficient energy. Brain cells require a significant amount of energy, and so mitochondrial dysfunction affects their function. This dysfunction is an underlying cause of many neurological diseases, including epilepsy, Parkinson's disease and rare mitochondrial disorders."

Continuing, Dr. Chan said, "We are targeting a new mechanism of action - mitochondrial dysfunction - that's a big underlying cause for neurological disease. If you are able to protect your mitochondria and help them function well and make enough energy, then you will help your brain cells to stay alive and do their job. That's how we believe this compound is helping with neurological diseases."

Again we would note that this is very early stage research with the researchers hoping to begin a clinical trial within two years. Epilepsy Ireland will contine to monitor emerging research on this exciting new avenue and indeed, all aspects of the condition and update our website and social media channels. 

If you would like to read more  on this research you can find the full press release from the Medical University of South Carolina here or you can access the full paper from the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry here.