How TESS Impacts the Wider Medical Community–by Deepti Dubey, PhD

Deepti Dubey, PhD is a Scientific Officer for TESS Research Foundation. Here Dr. Dubey discusses how the work that TESS Research Foundation spearheads is having a broader impact on our epilepsy community and on neurological disease in general.  

The Search for A Cure
TESS Research Foundation was formed to fund the science to discover a treatment and cure for SLC13A5 Deficiency, a genetic form of epilepsy that begins in babies within hours after birth. While the Foundation’s research efforts are focused specifically on SLC13A5 Deficiency, these scientific breakthroughs have a huge potential to benefit not only patients with uncontrolled epilepsies, but also patients with other neurological disorders.

An Important Piece in a Larger Puzzle
Similar to children diagnosed with SLC13A5 Deficiency, people suffering from a large number of other epileptic disorders have seizures that cannot be controlled with any drug currently available. What this means to the broader epilepsy community is that there is a dire need to find more treatment options for controlling seizures. TESS Research Foundation is currently funding a project for the discovery of new therapeutic molecules for controlling seizures in SLC13A5 Deficiency, which could potentially be used for treatment in other uncontrolled epilepsies.

The Foundation has also initiated a Gene Therapy project for the treatment of SLC13A5 Deficiency. This could be one of the breakthrough efforts in using gene therapy for the treatment of epileptic disorders. Knowledge from this project will have direct impact on the scope of gene therapy in similar epileptic or neurological disorders.

Other efforts include working together with Stanford Children’s Health to design a matrix for all epileptic and movement disorders beginning in infancy. This project aims to help clinicians improve diagnosis of the disease, use more precise therapeutic options and also determine the effectiveness of a new treatment in a clinical trial.

The Path Forward
We at TESS Research Foundation realize that the brain functions as an intricate network of proteins connected with each other through various pathways. Opening a knot of one protein such as SLC13A5 can help detangle a lot of other pathways (diseases).

Our research efforts, although focused on a specific rare disease, have a potential impact on a wider medical community – and to the millions of people who suffer from these types of devastating neurological conditions worldwide.