A new research initiative has been created to help improve childhood epilepsy treatments.

The $2.5 million NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence (CRE), to be led by Professor Ingrid Scheffer from the University of Melbourne and Dr Katherine Howell from the Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI), will study the most severe group of epilepsies, Developmental and Epileptic Encephalopathies (DEEs).

People with DEEs often have treatment-resistant seizures and severe cognitive and behavioural impairments that can worsen over time. Many DEEs have a genetic cause.

Dr Howell said the initiative would ensure Australia was poised for emerging precision medicine trials that could better treat children with these conditions.

DEEs affects about one person in every 1000, equating to 300 newly diagnosed children in Australia each year.

"For this project, we will study the clinical, genetic and psychological aspects of patients with DEEs. We are aiming to improve health outcomes for patients, build an integrated model of care, produce family resources and assess health economic impacts," Dr Howell said.

Researchers from the University of New South Wales and The University of Sydney will also contribute to the CRE.

*The content of this communication is the sole responsibility of MCRI and does not reflect the views of the NHMRC.


The CRE is supported by the NHMRC grant APP 2006841.