Early results from a clinical trial have indicated that an experimental stem cell therapy has successfully reduced seizure frequency by nearly 95 percent in the first two epilepsy patients.

Developed by San Francisco-based biotech company Neurona Therapeutics, the therapy, known as NRTX-1001, involves the injection of lab-grown neurons into the epileptic region of the brain to suppress seizure activity.

NRTX-1001 is a regenerative neural cell therapy derived from human pluripotent stem cells. The preliminary data from the trial demonstrate a significant reduction of approximately 90 percent in seizure frequency for the first and second patients, one year and seven months after treatment, respectively.

Additionally, neuropsychological testing suggests an improvement in memory following the administration of NRTX-1001.


Cory Nicholas, CEO of Neurona Therapeutics, expressed satisfaction with the early results, stating, "Although our clinical investigation is ongoing in additional patients, it is gratifying to witness the first two patients achieving seizure relief without additional cognitive impairment to date." Nicholas added, "We are hopeful that these improvements will continue in the ongoing trial."

The encouraging findings were presented at the annual meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research held recently in Boston, United States.

Both patients participating in the trial had a history of significant monthly seizure activity that was unresponsive to anti-seizure medications. The first patient, treated at SUNY Upstate Medical University, had been experiencing seizures for seven years and averaged 32 seizures per month in the six months prior to receiving NRTX-1001.

The second patient, treated at Oregon Health & Science University, had a nine-year history of seizures and averaged 14 seizures per month in the same period.

Graciela Elizalde, who suffers from Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a debilitating form of epilepsy, looks on at her house in Monterrey, Mexico, August 31, 2015.Reuters

Both patients have reported a consistent reduction of over 90 percent in overall seizure counts at one year and seven months post-administration of NRTX-1001, respectively. No serious adverse events have been reported thus far.

According to David Blum, Neurona's chief medical officer, "Patient-one has reached the one-year post-treatment endpoint and has achieved more than 95 percent overall monthly seizure reduction, including elimination of all seizure events since the seventh month post-administration of NRTX-1001." Blum added, "In addition, this patient has shown improved memory performance on cognitive tests."

(With inputs from IANS)