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New anti-epileptic medication starts clinical trial

8 October, 2003

The new antiepileptic
drug valrocemide is to undergo phase three clinical
trials in the United States.

The new drug, valrocemide, developed at the Hebrew
University of Jerusalem
by Dr Meir Bialer, is a combination of a known anti-epileptic drug, valproic
acid, and a glycine derivative, glycinamide.

Glycine is one an
inhibitory acids, and increasing its concentration in the brain has
an anti-epileptic effect. However, it is impossible
to administer it to patients in its natural state, because it cannot
penetrate the blood-brain barrier - the membrane that usually prevents
large molecules from crossing from the bloodstream into the brain.

The research team worked to develop a glycine derivative which would
penetrate the blood-brain barrier and would subsequently be cleared out
of the body in order to avoid undesirable side effects.

The drug has successfully
passed the first phase of clinical trials in the United States, and
manufacturer Teva Pharmaceutical Industries has completed a 13 week, phase two clinical trial in Europe amongst people
with difficult to control epilepsy, in which valrocemide was administered
together with other medications.