Overcoming drug resistance in childhood seizure and psychiatric disorders caused by potassium channels
Improving children’s mental health and the impact of developmental disorders
Professor Leanne Dibbens
University of South Australia
Children with a defective potassium channel (KCNT1) gene have a serious developmental disorder which includes epilepsy and psychiatric features. Affected children experience frequent seizures, even when on anti-epileptic medications, known as ‘drug resistant seizures’. We have identified naturally occurring molecules in the body that modulate the activity of the KCNT1 channel. Depletion of one of these molecules contributes to reduced effectiveness of medication on defective sodium channels in epilepsy. Showing that these molecules can improve the function of defective KCNT1 potassium channels will be a ground breaking step towards offering new treatments for affected children.