LIVERPOOL, England, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- Researchers have found the anti-epileptic drug ethosuximide can help protect against of certain neurodegenerative diseases in worm models, according to a new study.
Neurodegeneration is the progressive loss of nerve structure and function that leads to diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.
"Incidence of these diseases is on the rise due to our increasingly aging population, yet there is a lack of effective therapies to treat them," said Alan Morgan, a professor of cellular and molecular physiology at the University of Liverpool, in a press release.
Researchers found that ethosuximide, sold as Zarontin, slowed or stopped the expression of mutant genes in worms similar to the human genes that cause dementia.
"Our research suggests that ethosuximide has potential for repurposing as a treatment for multiple neurodegenerative diseases and provides a platform from which new medicines could be developed," Morgan said.
The researchers plan to test the efficacy of the drug with mice to confirm its effects.
The study is published in Molecular Neurodegeneration.