The following comprehensive timeline presents the distinguished research history at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. From the development of the Department of the Prevention of Disease in the 1910s to the recent success of a novel cancer therapy involving reprogrammed T cells, the Hospital has been at the forefront of research breakthroughs and medical interventions that have improved the lives of children throughout the world.


For the third year in a row, Pennsylvania Bio awards its Patient Impact Award to an investigator and innovator from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The list of winners include: N. Scott Adzick, MD, (fetal surgery pioneer); Robert M. Campbell, MD, (inventor of the vertical expandable prosthetic titanium rib); and Stephan A. Grupp, MD, PhD, (immune therapy for pediatric cancer).

Marni Falk, MD, an attending physician and director of the Mitochondrial-Genetic Disease Clinic at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, participates in an expert committee convened by the Institute of Medicine to evaluate the ethical, social, and policy considerations of sophisticated mitochondrial replacement techniques (MRTs). Their report recommends that clinical research into MRTs should proceed with careful oversight.

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and VPS Healthcare, one of the one of the fastest growing integrated healthcare service providers in the Middle East, Europe and India, form a strategic alliance to bring pediatric clinical and research excellence to the region.

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia launches a new Center for Data-Driven Discovery in Biomedicine (D3B) that embodies and supports our dedication to the development of open-access, data-driven discovery platforms that empower new diagnostic tools and personalized, precision therapies.

A study from researchers at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia identifies and describes an epigenetic mechanism in cancer cells that amplifies the expression of many genes and could be a central hub in cancer cell growth.


Philadelphia businessman and philanthropist Raymond G. Perelman donates $50 million to The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to support a range of pediatric research.

Beverly Davidson, PhD, director of the Raymond G. Perelman Center for Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics at CHOP, and her research team finds a way to substitute for a missing gene linked to a relentless childhood neurodegenerative disease called Late Infantile Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis (LINCL-Batten Disease).

A Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics study shows the vertical expandable prosthetic titanium rib — invented by CHOP's Robert M. Campbell, MD — ‘flips’ the survival curve of children with Jeune syndrome, improving outcomes from 70 to 80 percent mortality to 70 percent survival.

A team of researchers from the Pediatric Cardiac Genomics Consortium studying the role of genetics in congenital heart disease confirms their longstanding suspicion: Some of the same gene defects underlie certain cases of congenital heart malformations and neurodevelopmental disorders.

The Center for Child Injury Prevention Studies (CChIPS), a National Science Foundation (NSF) Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) celebrates 10 years of being on the road to safety.

An international study team led by researchers from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for Applied Genomics focused on 10 autoimmune diseases that begin in childhood and finds that they indeed have genetic overlaps.

Steven D. Douglas, MD, chief of the Section of Immunology at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, receives the Paradigm Builder Award for his extensive work in HIV neurovirology.

President Obama appoints Peter C. Adamson, MD, an oncologist at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and an internationally recognized leader in pediatric cancer drug development, to the National Cancer Advisory Board.

Carole Marcus, MBBCh, receives the 2015 William C. Dement Academic Achievement Award at the Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.


A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows 90 percent of patients treated with a groundbreaking form of immune therapy developed at CHOP achieved complete responses.

Basic laboratory research led by CHOP’s Maurizio Pacifici, PhD, leads to a phase II trial to treat the debilitating rare bone disease Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva.

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia launches its Violence Prevention Initiative, which is designed reduce the severity and impact of violence and aggression on children and families in Philadelphia communities and across the country.

Studies led by Center for Applied Genomics faculty expand the list of genes involved with body fat and body mass index, and their connection to heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

Investigators uncover gene networks that may play important roles in autism. These networks may offer targets for developing new autism drugs or repurposing existing drugs that act on components of the networks.


A patient with an aggressive form of childhood leukemia is found to be cancer-free after being treated with an innovative immune therapy that involved reprogramming her own T cells.

Children’s Hospital genetics researchers discover 25 new copy number variations — missing or duplicated stretches of DNA — related to autism spectrum disorders.

A team of international investigators, co-led by experts from the Center for Applied Genomics, discovered a gene associated with a high risk of severe childhood asthma.

Children’s Hospital becomes the first hospital in the United States to discourage patients from taking dietary supplements without a doctor’s provision.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association led by CHOP researchers finds differences in how breast cancer patients present at diagnosis are more responsible for racial disparities in 5-year survival than treatment disparities.


The Center for Applied Genomics and Beijing, China-based genomics organization BGI team up to accelerate the discovery of genetic variants underlying rare diseases.

A study led by Yael P. Mosse, MD, of the adult lung cancer drug crizotinib shows complete responses in children with anaplastic large-cell lymphoma and neuroblastoma.

Douglas C. Wallace, PhD, director of the Center for Mitochondrial and Epigenomic Medicine, receives the 2012 Gruber Prize in Genetics.

Rotavirus inventor and vaccine specialist Paul A. Offit, MD, joins the Institute of Medicine.

A study of Leber congenital amaurosis, a degenerative retinal disease that leads to blindness in adulthood, shows patients treated with gene therapy showed improved vision.


A landmark study led by Children’s Hospital’s N. Scott Adzick, MD, shows that fetal surgery to correct spina bifida can lead to significantly improved outcomes for children diagnosed in utero with this devastating condition.

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s first spin-off company, Vascular Magnetics Inc., is founded.

Katherine A. High, MD, a world-renowned hematologist, is elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


Tom Curran, PhD, FRS, deputy scientific director of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute, is elected to the Institute of Medicine.

Led by Douglas C. Wallace, PhD, a pioneer in the field of human mitochondrial genetics, the Center of Mitochondrial and Epigenomic Medicine is established.


The state-of-the-art Colket Translational Research Building, which boasts approximately 450,000 square feet of office and research space, is opened.

A new Center of Emphasis, PolicyLab, which works to ensure research findings make a direct impact on local and national systems of pediatric healthcare, is established.


The Center for Autism Research, which coordinates and supports research into the causes of the autism spectrum disorders, is established.

The Center for Pediatric Clinical Effectiveness, devoted to discovering and disseminating knowledge about best practices in the management of pediatric disease, is established.


Drs. Paul Offit, H Fred Clark and Stanley Plotkin are awarded the Gold Medal of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia-the Hospital's highest honor-for their work on the rotavirus vaccine.

Children's Hospital and the University of Pennsylvania began collaboration for a Clinical and Translational Science Award center, part of a nationwide effort to transform translational biomedical research.


U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves RotaTeq®, the rotavirus vaccine developed at Children's Hospital and The Wistar Institute and further developed by Merck & Co. The federal government's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that the vaccine become part of the routine infant immunization schedule.

The Center for Applied Genomics is established, it is one of the world's largest programs for detecting gene variations and linking them to particular illnesses, and the only such program entirely based at a pediatric hospital.

The Hospital breaks ground for a $400 million, state-of-the-art research facility dedicated to translational research.

Dr. Robert J. Levy shows that gene vectors can be delivered from the bare metal surfaces of stents without a polymer coating, a finding that could prove useful for virtually any metallic prosthesis and decrease the chances of an inflammatory response.


Supernumerary der(22) syndrome (or Partial Trisomy 11/22) – a genetic condition characterized by an extra chromosome made up of parts of chromosome 22 and a part of chromosome 11 – is renamed Emanuel Syndrome in honor of Beverly Emanuel, PhD, chief, Division of Human Genetics and Molecular Biology, who spearheaded research efforts into the syndrome.

Dr. Vivian Cheung identifies genomic regions that contain the transcriptional regulators for about 1,000 genes. These results provide a better understanding of transcriptional regulation in human cells and may be applicable for discovering the genetic basis of other complex human traits and diseases.

Drs. Virginia A. Stallings and Stanley Plotkin (formerly Division Chief of Infectious Disease) are elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine (IOM).

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia celebrates its 150th anniversary.


Dr. Ian Krantz leads a team that identifies the gene that causes Cornelia de Lange syndrome, (CdLs) which leads to a genetic test. CdLs symptoms include mental retardation, growth failure, hearing loss, and physical defects affecting the limbs, face, heart, intestines and other structures.

Merck submits a biological license application for the rotavirus vaccine it licensed from Children's Hospital; product application is anticipated for February of 2006. Drs. H. Fred Clark, Stanley Plotkin and Paul Offit are inventors.


The first tandem transplantation of peripheral stem cells performed in a pediatric oncology center.

Dr. Katherine High is named the Hospital's first Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator based on her leadership of research in the area of gene therapy for hemophilia.

Dr. Alan Flake, along with his colleagues, achieves high levels of donor cell engraftment after in utero transplantation of hematopoietic stem cells into mice. This is associated with donor specific tolerance which allows postnatal boosting to 100 percent donor cell engraftment without toxicity or graft vs. host disease (GVHD).


The Hospital begins a $1.2 billion facilities expansion in response to enormous demand for services. The project will nearly double the size of the main campus, adding significant patient care and research space.

Dr. Beverly Lange and associates devise a strategy that has about a 70 percent salvage rate for recurring acute lymphoblastic leukemia. This has been successful in getting children into remission until another therapy (e.g., bone marrow transplant) is available.

Dr. Scott Adzick, in collaboration with Drs. Charles Stanley and Robin Kaye, performs a partial pancreatectomy, a procedure to cure newborns of focal congenital hyperinsulinism without causing diabetes.


Dr. Beverly Emanuel's efforts contribute to the complete sequencing of chromosome 22, making it the first human chromosome to be fully sequenced. Defects in genes on chromosome 22 are implicated in certain leukemias and other pediatric tumors, mental retardation, numerous birth defects and the 22q11 deletion syndrome.

Based on Dr. Katherine High's groundbreaking studies on AAV-mediated gene transfer for hemophilia, Dr. Catherine Manno and Dr. Alan Flake perform the first human gene transfer studies for hemophilia B using an AAV vector expressing Factor IX in people with hemophilia.

The Clinical Trials Office (CTO) is established to facilitate clinical research studies conducted at Children's Hospital.

Children's Hospital becomes one of 13 academic sites designed by the NIH as a Pediatric Pharmacology Research Unit (PPRU). PPRUs are established to conduct studies of drug disposition and action in pediatric patients, and address the lack of pharmacological information about drugs used in children.


Children's Clinical Research Institute (CCRi) is established as the nation's first non-profit comprehensive clinical research organization dedicated to pediatric clinical trials.

Steven Ludwig, MD, and N. Scott Adzick, MD, are elected as members of the Institute of Medicine (IOM).


Drs. Nancy Spinner, David Piccoli and Ian D. Krantz discover the gene responsible for Alagille syndrome, a disorder associated with congenital liver, heart, kidney, spine, eye and pancreatic disease.

Center for Outcomes Research is established to create new methods of health service research, with an emphasis on developing new pediatric outcomes measures.

Dr. Michael Grunstein and colleagues are the first to demonstrate that a receptor for IgE is present in airway smooth muscle, making it asthmatic in nature. They further found that a protein that is also present in airway smooth muscle can protect it from developing an asthmatic response.

Drs. Flaura K. Winston and Dennis R. Durbin initiate Partners for Child Passenger Safety. Their research shows that young children who use age appropriate restraints, such as a booster seats, have a 59 percent lower risk of injury in a crash. They also show that rear seats of compact extended cab pick-up trucks are particularly dangerous. These findings lead to a wide range of enhanced legislation, safety regulation, and automobile and child restraint design.


The Leonard and Madlyn Abramson Pediatric Research Center opens on the Hospital's Main Campus, consolidating all the laboratory research of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute.

Dr. Scott Adzick leads the establishment of the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment, which is at the forefront of research and clinical practice in the emerging field of fetology.

The Division of Gastroenterology and Nutrition is at the forefront in the identification, diagnosis and treatment of Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE) — a new allergic GI disease in children.

Early 1990s

Dr. Robert Levy is cited for his research milestones related to the mechanisms and prevention of bioprosthetic heart valve calcification, and discoveries concerning the first report of a gene delivery stent.

Dr. Stuart E. Starr shows that a combination of antiviral drugs provides strong, sustained control of HIV infection in children.

Dr. Steven D. Douglas' studies have developed and standardized assays for natural killer cells, neutrophil, monocyte-macrophage and lymphocyte function which are used in clinical immunology laboratories throughout the world. Dr. Douglas has discovered receptors for neurokinins in the nervous and immune systems.

Drs. John Maris, Eddie Attiyeh and Garrett Brodeur identified three genetic abnormalities that are characteristic of certain neuroblastomas. The presence of these genetic changes can predict outcome and help the treating physicians select the most appropriate intensity of therapy for these patients.

The Hospital is designated a Human Genome Center by the National Institutes of Health and awarded a major federal grant for the mapping of chromosome 22 (completed in 1999).

Dr. Terri Finkel and colleagues are the first to show that HIV does more than infect T cells. The virus also seems to prime uninfected T cells for suicide, reducing the ability to fight infection. They are also the first to show that HIV renders some of the cells it infects death-resistant, thereby prolonging the life span of these virus factories.


Drs. H. Fred Clark, Stanley Plotkin and Paul Offit develop a rotavirus vaccine for infantile gastroenteritis.

Dr. Charles Stanley leads his research team to discover MCADD (medium-chain acyl-coA dehydrogenase deficiency), an inherited disease that may go undetected until it causes childhood brain damage or death.

General Clinical Research Center establishes a program of scatterbed nurses to extend the reach to the GCRC to the sickest patients – a first among GCRCs.

Dr. William Carey elected as a member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM).

Dr. Graham Quinn and associates are coleaders in proving the value of freezing retinal tissue (cryotherapy) to destroy abnormal vessel growth for the prevention of blindness in premature infants.

A Liver Transplant Program is established. The Hospital's first liver transplant is performed in 1989.


“Institutional Review Board” (IRB), or the Committee to Protect Human Subjects, is established to see that safety is assured and ethical principles are followed at all times in research.

The Research Institute is created. It includes 70,000 square feet dedicated to research.

One of the nation's first centers for pediatric craniofacial surgery opens. Techniques for repair of cleft lip and palate developed here gain international acceptance.

Hospital named by the federal government as one of only three pediatric cancer research and treatment centers.

The Hospital moves to its current location at 34th Street and Civic Center Boulevard.

Dr. Toshio Asakura and colleagues develop a simple, inexpensive, and rapid method for detecting sickle hemoglobin.

Dr. William Rashkind and colleagues develop an umbrella-like device for nonsurgical repair of certain heart defects.

The first DNA Laboratory in Philadelphia is established.


Stanley Plotkin, MD, develops rubella (German measles) vaccine; clinical trials are conducted.

The balloon catheter is invented by William Rashkind, MD, the “father of interventional cardiology,” allowing the first nonsurgical treatment of certain heart defects.

The Clinical Research Center (CRC) is established for hard-to-diagnose, hard-to-treat pediatric diseases and use of new treatments. CRC is the forerunner of the General Clinical Research Center, which has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health for more than 40 years.

Drs. Klaus Hummeler, T.N. Harris and Susanna Harris present the first evidence that lymphocytes produce antibodies.

Drs. Werner Henle and Gertrude Henle, along with Dr. Klaus Hummeler, discover the association between infectious mononucleosis and the Epstein-Barr virus, which ultimately proves that a common virus may produce malignancy.


With his research on the prevention of polio, Dr. Lewis L. Coriell begins to lay the groundwork for the development of the Salk vaccine. Dr. Coriell and associates also invent a laminar airflow system to keep operating rooms sterile.


Dr. Thomas McNair Scott develops a diagnostic test for herpes simplex (fever blister).

“Rheumatic Fever and Virus Research Building” the first research building is built for $800,000, including equipment. It is more commonly known as “The Research Building.”

Development of a “control shunt” to drain fluid, designed and tested for treating hydrocephalus. This device is now used throughout the world.


Vaccines for influenza and mumps are discovered by husband-and-wife team of Drs. Werner and Gertrude Henle. Additionally, along with Joseph Stokes Jr., MD, they develop the first convincing demonstration of vaccination against influenza and mumps – 100,000 eggs a year were used in the study of viral diseases. They are also the first to prove the effectiveness of gamma globulin in preventing paralytic polio and the first to develop a method to prevent hepatitis.

Dr. Irving J. Wolman and Dr. Bernard Spur complete the initial study on the use of homogenized milk for infants leading to its acceptance by the public.


Center for Research in Children's Growth is established.


Society of Pediatric Research is founded.

Discovery of the whooping cough vaccine, the first in a series of vaccines pioneered at Children's Hospital that has worldwide impact on childhood disease.

Charles C. Chapple, MD develops the first closed incubator for newborns.


Research “Department” is established in the basement at Bainbridge Street – a 14-by-16-foot room with one centrifuge.

Joseph Stokes Jr., MD, becomes physician-in-chief. He goes on to transform Children's Hospital into a world leader in teaching and research.


“Department for the Prevention of Disease” is established, the first such department in the nation.

The Hospital relocates to its third building at 18th and Bainbridge Streets. The complex expands over the coming decades.


Children's Hospital moves to its second location at 22nd Street between Walnut and Locust. Beds increase to 35.


The nation's first hospital dedicated exclusively to children is founded by Dr. Francis W. Lewis, with Hewson Bache and R.A.F. Penrose. The 12-bed Hospital treats 63 patients in its first year.