Sulfasalazine, a drug used to treat Crohn disease, may help reduce the epileptic seizures that often occur in individuals with gliomas, the most common type of primary brain tumors, report researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (Buckingham SC et al. Nat Med. doi:10.1038/nm.2453 [published online ahead of print September 11, 2011]).
Immunodeficient mice implanted with human-derived glioma cells developed spontaneous and recurring abnormal brain activity; brain slices from these mice showed marked glutamate release from the tumor. When the researchers inhibited glutamate release from tumors with sulfasalazine at concentrations equivalent to those used to treat Crohn disease in humans, the mice had fewer epileptic events.
Hampton T. Blocking Cancer-Induced Epilepsy. JAMA. 2011;306(17):1853. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1575