April 2014

“It’s less about who makes the decision and more about the process of decision-making and how kids, parents, and providers interact with one another around decisions that need to be made.”- Victoria A. Miller, PhD

Going With the Gut to Build Preterm Infants’ Immunity


At birth, infants move from a sterile environment to one full of microorganisms. They rapidly acquire alterations in their immune systems that help them to survive in this dirty world. Researchers at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia used mouse models to show that changes in microbial colonization of the gastrointestinal tract play a vital role in this transition. Their findings, recently pu …

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Study Will Compare Broad, Narrow-Spectrum Antibiotics


The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Jeffrey S. Gerber, MD, PhD, recently received an approximately $1.8 million contract from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to compare the effectiveness of broad and narrow-spectrum antibiotics in treating acute respiratory infections. An infectious diseases specialist and a Center for Pediatric Clinical Effectiveness (CPCE) faculty  …

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Advocates Shaky That NIH Funding Remains Steady


Advocates for biomedical research expressed their disappointment in President Barack Obama’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2015, which includes a slight rise in funding for the National Institutes of Health. This modest boost is expected to support 9,326 new and competing grants, 329 more than this year. The FY15 budget in­cludes $30.2 billion for NIH to back research at institutions across the  …

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Project to Investigate Cystic Fibrosis Drug’s Effect on Weight


A new project at The Children’s Hospital of Philadephia seeks to gain a clearer idea of what effect the novel cystic fibrosis (CF) drug ivacaftor has on energy balance and weight gain. With the support of the drug’s manufacturer, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Children’s Hospital’s Virginia A. Stallings, MD, will measure the degree to which patients with CF taking ivacaftor — which is sold under the name …

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Researchers Examine Goal Pursuit in Teens with Cancer


Setting and achieving goals is a significant milestone in adolescent and young adults’ (AYA) development that paves the way for independence in adulthood. Teens with cancer often experience fatigue, pain, and other symptoms that can interfere with these personal goals, something psychologists refer to as health-related hindrance (HRH). Researchers at the Center for Childhood Cancer Research at The …

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Pediatric Cancer Patients Need More Say in Phase 1 Trials


Children and adolescents with refractory cancer often are invited to participate in early phase clinical drug trials, but making the choice to enroll can be challenging for them and their families. A psychologist at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia explored how the extent and quality of communication with physicians, pediatric patients, and their parents may influence this difficult decisio …

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CHOP Researcher Advances Adolescent Care in Africa


A Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia pediatrician’s research project spans across continents to Botswana, a sub-Saharan African country with a busy clinic for 2,000 HIV-infected children and adolescents who stole her heart. Elizabeth Lowenthal, MD, MSCE, remembers noticing a remarkable 12-year-old boy in Botswana, “a real leader” who spontaneously sat down and began translating for an American so …

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BWS Study Could Broaden Tumor Development Understanding


A new study by The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Jennifer Kalish, MD, PhD, into a rare disease could broaden researchers’ understanding of how numerous cancers develop. Dr. Kalish recently received an award from Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation to investigate tumor development associated with the rare childhood overgrowth disease Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome. A genetic disorder that is ofte …

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Surgery Timing Affects Brain Injury in Infants With Heart Defects


Single ventricle heart defects, such as hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), are among the most complex and challenging forms of congenital heart defects to treat. They often require surgical repair in early infancy for survival. Jennifer Lynch, a University of Pennsylvania physics graduate student who investigates biomedical optics at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, researched how the …

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Early Childhood Bone Density Reference Data Needed


In the past decade, clinicians have made significant advancements in the diagnosis of pediatric bone disorders, particularly because national reference data is now available for bone density in children older than 5; however, clinicians do not have the appropriate tools for bone health assessment and research in early childhood. A study at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia aims to address th …

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Electrocardiogram Use Varies for Infants With ALTEs


When frantic parents arrive at the emergency room and report that their infant experienced a frightening combination of symptoms including a prolonged lapse in breathing, change in color or muscle tone, or coughing or gagging, clinicians likely will describe the episode as an apparent life-threatening event (ALTE). Yet, it can be a frustrating conclusion because often these symptoms have resolved  …

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CHOP Honored Twice at Pennsylvania Bio Dinner


At the recent 2014 Pennsylvania Bio Annual Dinner & Awards Celebration, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s reputation as an international leader in pediatric medicine was further cemented, as the Hospital was honored with two awards celebrating its business and research innovations. CHOP was handed the “Deal of the Year” award for its successful spinout of gene company Spark Therapeutic …

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Injury Expert Dennis Durbin, MD, MSCE to Lead OCTR


Seasoned Children’s Hospital hand and injury researcher Dennis Durbin, MD, MSCE is set to succeed Mary Leonard, MD, MSCE as the director of CHOP Research’s Office of Clinical and Translational Research (OCTR). Currently co-Scientific Director of the Center for Injury Research Prevention (CIRP), Dr. Durbin will assume his new duties in June. Since 2011, Dr. Leonard has directed the OCTR, which “ass …

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Gene Therapist Beverly Davidson, PhD, Joins CHOP


Beverly L. Davidson, PhD, a nationally prominent expert in gene therapy, joined The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia on April 1. She joins the Hospital’s Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and will serve as the new director of the Center for Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics. Prior to coming to CHOP, Dr. Davidson, who investigates gene therapy for neurodegenerative diseases, was  …

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