Personalized Treatment of Epilepsy
Epilepsy is a neurological disease affecting sixty five million individuals in the world, a third of whom are resistant to antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). Patients with drug resistant epilepsy suffer from impaired quality of life and are prone to premature death. For those who do respond to AEDs, treatment can be complicated by non-linear pharmacokinetics, adverse drug reactions, and drug-drug interactions. With this in mind, our objective is to identify patient populations that can benefit from individualized AED therapy or are at risk of experiencing adverse drug reactions. We additionally explore means for improving the outcomes of epilepsy surgery. Our interests are in 1) developing markers of diseased brain tissue; 2) understanding how AEDs affect the distribution of essential compounds across the blood-brain barrier and the placenta; 3) identifying genetic markers and patient populations at risk of adverse reactions to AEDs. Our research projects at the lab combine biochemistry, pharmacokinetic analysis, nanotechnologies, and in vivo imaging. An additional line of research involves clinical studies of AED use and response patterns, with the assistance of students of the PharmD program of the School of Pharmacy.
Figure 1. Near infrared fluorescence images of mice fetuses
whose mothers were treated with ICG in the absence and
the presence of rifampin.