Cassandra Szoeke

Recipient of the 2008 ESA UCB Pharma Clinical Scholarship

Neurology Registrar, Box Hill Hospital, Eastern Health, Melbourne

In epilepsy up to 40% of patients suffer an adverse drug reaction or seizure recurrence.  Current clinical tools including EEG, clinical history and neuro-imaging provide insufficient sensitivity and specificity to accurately predict treatment outcomes. Pharmacogenetics has promised to revolutionise the management of disease with individualised treatments based on specific genotypes.  Progress toward this goal has been slow in epilepsy to date.  Most studies have been in chronic epilepsy population with shallow phenotyping and they have examined only a few single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within genes.

Since 2003 I have been involved in the establishment and collection of a unique prospective cohort of newly treated epilepsy patients recruited from 4 Australian teaching hospital epilepsy clinics.  With over 100 patients now followed up for over 12 months and genotyping of thousands of SNPs within hundreds of genes, we plan to analyse the data on seizure recurrence, adverse drug reactions and genotypes in this population to determine the environmental (seizure type, syndrome, seizure precipitants, family history of ADR, medication interactions) and genetic factors predisposing to seizure recurrence and adverse drug reactions. 

With our multidisciplinary team including clinicians, bio-informaticians, mathematicians and database experts we will work to develop a clinically applicable test with utility in the hospital and outpatient setting. We hope this work will allow clinicians to add genotyping profiles to our current clinical tools in predicting patient’s outcome.

Cassandra Szoeke

Back to list of Past Recipients