‘Rufinamide’ 

#GS3 #Science&Technology #NanoTechnology 

Scientists at the Institute of Nano Science & Technology (INST), an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Govt. of India, have developed a nanotechnology-based industry-friendly and low-cost method for the production of antiepileptic drug ‘Rufinamide’. 

  • INST have developed a new recyclable copper-oxide catalyst, which plays a crucial role in the key reaction for producing the Rufinamide drug. 
  • The existing technology for producing the drug has an inherent selectivity issue, which often leads to unwanted non-drug isomer ---1, 5-regioisomer. This necessitates the use of organic solvent, high temperature, and the need to purify and separate the soluble catalyst and so on, leading to unfriendly reaction conditions and high production costs. 
  • In the new production method published in the journal Chemical Communications, unlike the traditional CuSO4 catalyst, the newly designed catalyst comprising of very small-sized (3-5 nm) CuI and CuII is so reactive that the reaction can be conducted efficiently under the aqueous condition and at room temperature. Since the catalyst is coated with slightly modified natural bio-polymer, they are biocompatible and can be separated just by filtration technique. 
  • The new method promises to overcome many of the current challenges in the synthesis of Rufinamide drug such as high cost, the formation of unwanted 1,5-regioisomer in addition to the required 1,4-regioisomer, limited choice of starting materials (propiolic acid derivatives) leading to multistep synthetic sequences, and poor yields due to use of organic solvents and overheating of the reagents. 
  • The developed catalyst is not only useful for the Rufinamide drug synthesis, but it is also for other organic transformation reactions. The catalyst can be commercialized for academic use, as well as companies deal with fine chemicals that use these reactions. 

About Epilepsy: 

  • Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder that causes unprovoked, recurrent epileptic seizures. 
  • A seizure is a sudden rush of electrical activity in the brain. 
  • Seizures are the only symptom of epilepsy. 
  • Epileptic seizures are episodes that can vary from brief and nearly undetectable periods to long periods of vigorous shaking. 
  • Epileptic seizures are the result of excessive and abnormal neuronal activity in the cortex of the brain. 
  • Epilepsy results when this system is disrupted due to faulty electrical activity. 
  • These episodes can result in physical injuries, including occasionally broken bones. 
  • Isolated seizures that are provoked by a specific cause such as poisoning are not deemed to represent epilepsy. 
  • People with epilepsy in some areas of the world experience varying degrees of social stigma due to their condition. 
  • Seizures are controllable with medication in about 70% of cases. 
  • If the seizures do not respond to medication, surgery, neurostimulation or dietary changes may then be considered. 
  • Not all cases of epilepsy are lifelong, and many people improve to the point that treatment is no longer needed. 
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