May 2014

“Fundamental, basic biological research is a very important part of what we do here at CHOP.”- Janis Burkhardt, PhD

The 2014 Scientific Symposium: Capturing a Snapshot


With over 500 investigators (plus fellows, assistants, and a staff in the thousands) spread across a campus comprising more than 1.5 million square feet of space, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute is a big, sprawling place. Research Institute investigations run the gamut of scientific inquiry, from those focused on injury research to genetic studies to clinical and surgica …

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CHOP Launches Violence Prevention Initiative


The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia recently unveiled its Violence Prevention Initiative (VPI) in a press conference at the Karabots Pediatric Care Center in West Philadelphia. A set of CHOP programs designed to reduce the severity and impact of violence and aggression on children and families in Philadelphia communities and across the country, Mayor Michael Nutter, Councilwoman Jannie L. Blac …

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Researchers Must Talk the Same Talk to Advance Science


What one researcher describes as asthma, another might call reactive airway disease. Unfortunately, such examples demonstrate the lack of a common pediatric research terminology, which can present barriers to data reuse, sharing, and integration. Leaders at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia recently published an article in Pediatrics that encourages the research community to start using the  …

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Investigating a New Approach to Eosinophilic Esophagitis


Many of the major milestones in understanding eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), a food allergy that affects the esophagus, began in research laboratories at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Investigators discovered the first gene related to the disease, and they identified an immunological pathway that makes EoE distinctiv …

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Blocking Paths to Resistance to T Cell Therapy


Tremendous interest in immunotherapy approaches to cancer treatment is building, as researchers look for new ways to train patients’ own immune system to recognize and attack their tumors. Andrei Thomas-Tikhonenko, PhD, and Stephan A. Grupp, MD, PhD, investigators from CHOP’s Center for Childhood Cancer Research (CCCR), have begun a unique collaboration that will contribute to the understanding of …

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Researcher Explores Vitamin Supplementation in Sickle Cell Disease


Especially for children, vitamins are essential to growth and development. Unfortunately, many pediatric diseases are associated with suboptimal levels of vitamins and vitamin deficiencies. One Children’s Hospital investigator, Kelly A. Dougherty, PhD, works to better understand the connection between childhood diseases and vitamin levels. An assistant professor of pediatrics and exercise physiolo …

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Prophylactic Antibiotics Halve Repeat UTI Rate


The use of prophylactic antibiotics to prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs) associated with vesicoureteral reflux (VUR) has been controversial, and a multisite clinical trial in which The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia participated in is adding to the debate. Results from the trial published in The New England Journal of Medicine were “pretty dramatic,” according to co-investigator Ron Ker …

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Patient Engagement Study Set to Inform National Policy


Clinicians tapping on computers during patient visits has become routine in the era of electronic health records (EHRs). Now families are increasingly encouraged to spend some screen time on their own entering health-related preferences and goals. “Incorporating these patient-generated reports systematically into the electronic data we collect can help healthcare providers to tailor treatment and  …

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Study Probes Diet-Related Seizure Freedom

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Most children with epilepsy lead active and fulfilling lives, with the help of modern therapies. Yet 20 to 30 percent of children with epilepsy do not respond to medications, which physicians call medication-resistant or intractable epilepsy. Researchers at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia are continually looking into ways to lower the frequency of seizures that children with medication-res …

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Cell Therapy Expert Receives Three Honors


It has been a busy few weeks for The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Stephan Grupp, MD, PhD. Dr. Grupp, the director of Translational Research at the Center for Childhood Cancer Research, recently received three awards for his groundbreaking immune therapy work using genetically engineered, cancer-fighting T cells. Dr. Grupp received awards from the Clinical Research Forum, the European Soci …

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Biodegradable Nanoparticles May Hold Therapeutic Use


Nanoparticles have been heralded as a potentially “disruptive technology” in biomedicine, and as a changing platform that could replace conventional technologies, both as drug delivery vehicles and diagnostic tools to help discover and treat disease. First, however, researchers must demonstrate the properly timed disintegration of these extremely small structures, a process essential for their per …

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Study Identifies Sleep Apnea Risk Factors


While obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) is a relatively common condition, affecting about 2 to 4 percent of young children, the scientific community is just opening its eyes to pediatric sleep disorders. Little is known, for example, about the characteristics that increase OSAS severity in children. OSAS occurs when a child stops breathing during sleep, usually because there is a blockage fr …

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Rare Disease Project Has Made “Major Progress”


Imagine facing a devastating medical problem, but when you searched for a diagnosis, even the experts had no answers because your condition was so rare. In the U.S., a disease is considered rare if it affects fewer than 200,000 people. Many rare diseases have genetic origins, and almost 70 percent of Americans affected by a rare disease are children, according to the National Organization for Rare …

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CRSO Works to Make Investigators’ Lives Easier


In a move designed to facilitate investigations across the organization, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute recently created a new office that consolidates clinical trial support, IND/IDE assistance, and general research support in one office. CHOP Research’s Clinical Research Support Office (CRSO) provides leadership, guidance, and support services to researchers conductin …

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Oncologist Honored for Neuroblastoma Research


The Advances in Neuroblastoma Research Association (ANRA) recently presented its highest honor to pediatric oncologist Garrett M. Brodeur, MD, of the Cancer Center at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Dr. Brodeur received the ANRA Lifetime Achievement Award at the association’s international meeting. The award singles out a researcher who has achieved worldwide scientific prominence  …

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