Managing medication to improve mental health in children and youth

A new project to improve the mental health of children and young people has been boosted by a grant to personalise medication management.

A collaboration between biotech start-up Gene S, The University of Western Australia, Perron Institute and PathWest, the project was awarded $1.5 million through the Innovation Challenge: Child and Youth Mental Health program, which is supported by the State Government’s Future Health and Innovation Fund.

Dr Svetlana Baltic and Dr Suzanna Temple, from UWA’s School of Biomedical Sciences and co-founders of Gene S, will lead a team to develop a genetic test to personalise medication management for children and youth living with mental health conditions.

“The Gene S YOUTH MIND kit will inform clinical decision-making and guide personalised medication management,” Dr Baltic said.

“We aim to improve mental health and reduce suicide rates in children and young people by streamlining patients on to suitable medication based on their genetic profile.”

The team of experts involved in the project include Professor Sean Hood, from UWA Medical School; Associate Professor Jenny Rodger, from UWA’s School of Biomedical Sciences and the Perron Institute; and Professor Anthony Akkari, from UWA Medical School and the Perron Institute.

“We expect the YOUTH MIND kit to reduce the costs of paying for numerous medication trials and reduce the potential for adverse events from unsuitable medication,” Professor Rodger said.

“Identifying an effective treatment quickly will minimise negative impacts on personal and social relationships, leading to better health and wellbeing for patients and their families.”

Gene S is a local founder-funded company, supported by the State Government, the Centre for Entrepreneurial Research and Innovation, private investors and Purpose Ventures.

The project was one of three recipients that shared in almost $4.5 million for innovation programs under the grant scheme.