J Child Neurol 2017 03 6;32(4):429-436. Epub 2017 Jan 6.
1 Epilepsy Genetics Program, Division of Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology, Department of Neurology, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.
Recent technological advances in gene sequencing have led to a rapid increase in gene discovery in epilepsy. However, the ability to assess pathogenicity of variants, provide functional analysis, and develop targeted therapies has not kept pace with rapid advances in sequencing technology. Thus, although clinical genetic testing may lead to a specific molecular diagnosis for some patients, test results often lead to more questions than answers. As the field begins to focus on therapeutic applications of genetic diagnoses using precision medicine, developing processes that offer more than equivocal test results is essential. The success of precision medicine in epilepsy relies on establishing a correct genetic diagnosis, analyzing functional consequences of genetic variants, screening potential therapeutics in the preclinical laboratory setting, and initiating targeted therapy trials for patients. The authors describe the structure of a comprehensive, pediatric Epilepsy Genetics Program that can serve as a model for translational medicine in epilepsy.