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New protein-related treatment for epilepsy discovered

5 June, 2007

A new treatment that holds enormous potential for people whose epilepsy does not respond to anti-epileptic drugs has been discovered by a doctor in Australia.

Dr Phil Robinson, of the Children's Medical Research Institute, Paramatta, has found a way to prevent communication between brain cells, using a protein called dynamin he first discovered it 27 years ago.

Dr Robinson said that as many as 30 of people with epilepsy do not respond to medication.

"Through a series of discoveries we now have a new understanding of the brain and the basis of epilepsy,'' he said.

His team and their partners at the University of Newcastle have been working on developing a new treatment for epilepsy that differs from existing methods.

Most cause people to slow down, but the new treatment did not affect rapid nerve communication.

Dr Robinson said the treatment was still being tested in the United States and he expected to receive the results in the coming months.

"Our hope and our aim is that the new treatment will have an effect on people who don't respond to anti-epileptic drugs,'' he said.

"We haven't got to the final stages yet, but we are on the way."