Nearly a third of patients with epilepsy have seizures refractory to current medical therapies. In the search for novel drug targets, the mTOR pathway has emerged as key in the regulation of neuronal function, growth and survival, and other cellular processes related to epileptogenesis. Hyperactivation of the mTOR pathway has been implicated in tuberous sclerosis complex and other 'mTORopathies', clinical syndromes associated with cortical developmental malformations and drug-resistant epilepsy. Recently published clinical trials of mTOR inhibitors in tuberous sclerosis complex have shown that these drugs are effective at decreasing seizure frequency. Future studies may establish whether mTOR inhibitors can provide effective treatment for patients with diverse genetic and acquired epilepsies, including preventative, disease-modifying therapies.
- tuberous sclerosis