UMES pharmacy professor granted patent for compound to treat drug-resistant epilepsy

The pharmacy lab at UMES has a brand new patented creation designed to treat epilepsy more effectively. Worldwide, there's 65 million people that suffer from it and one in 26 Americans will be diagnosed at some point in their lifetime.

Dr. Patrice Jackson-Ayotunde has been waiting for this approval for over three years and getting to this point hasn't been easy.

"A day can last anywhere from 10 to 14 hours and it takes weeks to complete a particular analog or compound," Dr. Jackson-Ayotunde says. 

Along the way, she says her students have been extremely helpful and they've had one goal: to find a cure. 

We're told there are several drugs that work for patients but there's 25-30% of people that suffer from epilepsy that the medication just doesn't work for them. 

"The focus is for my lab group is to design and discover drugs that would treat drug-resistant epilepsy," Dr. Jackson-Ayotunde tells 47 ABC.

This drug can potentially be used to treat these specific patients. 

And the organization, United Needs & Abilities in Salisbury, who serves the nine counties on Maryland's Eastern Shore is excited for this new announcement. Their director Mike Dyer says, "A great number of the folks we serve do have a seizure disorder and it will help them. It will be controlled by meds today, but that's the big thing. Some aren't controlled by meds 100% of the time. If there's another option out there available to them, it's going to be huge for some people."

We're told the drug discovery process is quite long, from lab to patient, it can actually take 15 to 20 years.

But the patent is significant and it's a step in the right direction because it means we are one step closer to a cure for people dealing with drug-resistant epilepsy. 

Categories: Local News, Maryland