A drug originally developed to prevent the rejection of transplanted organs has now been shown to dramatically reduce seizures in patients with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) - a genetic disease characterized by benign tumors on multiple organ systems. TSC is estimated to affect more than a million individuals throughout the world.
The study is the latest to demonstrate the effectiveness of everolimus for TSC patients. Previous studies conducted at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center showed that everolimus reduced tumors in the brain and the kidney.
The newest study, led by a physician-scientist at Cincinnati Children's in collaboration with a team at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, has been accepted by the journal Annals of Neurology, and is available online.
"Everolimus treatment reduced seizure frequency and duration in the majority of TSC epilepsy patients whose seizures previously did not respond to treatment," says Darcy Krueger, MD, PhD, a pediatric neurologist at Cincinnati Children's and lead author of the study. "This improvement in seizure control was associated with a better quality of life, and side effects were limited. Work is already underway to confirm these results in a follow-up, phase III clinical study."
"This has been positively life-changing for the patients involved and is nothing short of transformative in the treatment of epilepsy associated with cellular growth disorders, such as TSC," says Angus Wilfong, MD, director of the comprehensive epilepsy program at Texas Children's Hospital and associate professor of pediatrics and neurology at Baylor College of Medicine.
The study included 20 patients who were treated with everolimus. Their median age was 8. Half of the patients were enrolled at Cincinnati Children's and half at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston.