Please note that Epilepsy Research UK does not endorse/promote individual epilepsy treatments or pharmaceutical companies.A study has shown that huperzine A, a naturally occurring compound often used in traditional Chinese medicine, has a protective effect against experimentally-induced seizures in rodent models of epilepsy. The work is published in the scientific journal, Frontiers in Pharmacology.According to the authors, huperzine A may therefore provide a new treatment option for people with drug-resistant epilepsy.For the study, researchers from the US induced epileptic seizures in mice either chemically or using an electric-based methods. They found that treating the animals with huperzine A eliminated all seizures in the majority of animals.The scientists also used mouse models of Dravet syndrome and genetic epilepsy with febrile seizures plus (GEFS+), and saw that huperzine A conferred protection against seizures in these ‘mutant’ animals. Moreover, this protection was sustained for three weeks when the compound was injected daily to mouse models of GEFS+.The researchers conclude that huperzine A may also increase seizure resistance in people with Dravet syndrome and GEFS+, as well as in other forms of drug-resistant epilepsy.Biscayne, a Florida-based pharmaceutical company, has already developed a synthetic form of huperzine A called BIS-001. They are planning to start a phase one clinical trial to test its safety and efficacy in adults with drug resistant epilepsy, as well as in children, once juvenile animal safety testing has been completed.Dr Steven Schachter, Co-Author of the study and a scientific co-founder of Biscayne, said in a press release: “We are eager to test BIS-001 in clinical trials to see if the dramatic elimination of seizures observed in these animals can be replicated in patients, who are in great need of better treatment options.”Dravet syndrome is caused by a mutation in a gene called SCN1A and is characterised by prolonged and recurrent early-life febrile seizures, drug-resistant afebrile epilepsy and cognitive and behavioural difficulties.Mutations in the SCN1A gene can also cause GEFS+, which is an inherited form of epilepsy characterised by early-life febrile seizures and the development of several types of adult epilepsy.Current antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) often fail to treat both Dravet syndrome and GEFS+.Author: Dr Özge ÖzkayaClick here for more articles about other treatments for epilepsy.