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In the News: Sepsis, NIH Consortium, Allergy Study, Pincus Fellowship, STAT News
By Jillian Rose Lim
Read on to learn about how our researchers developed a novel treatment approach for sepsis, why a new National Institutes of Health (NIH) consortium seeks to connect the dots between rare genetic disorders and psychiatric conditions, and what a $10 million endowment can do for advancing the health of children all across the globe.
New Sepsis Treatment Optimizes Bacterial Capture by Neutrophil ‘Traps’
A novel treatment developed by CHOP researchers has the potential to improve outcomes for sepsis, a deadly complication of infection and a leading cause for hospital death. In the March 2020 issue of Blood, the team of researchers describe how the approach enhances the body’s bacteria-capturing neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) so that these NETs can more effectively capture infectious bacteria and resist degradation. Ultimately, this can lead to improved sepsis outcomes and survival.
“These results indicate that our NET-stabilizing interventions enhance that ability of NETs to capture bacteria while preventing them from releasing antibacterial compounds that can cause organ damage, dramatically improving bacterial clearance as well as survival in a mouse model of sepsis,” said Kandace Gollomp, MD, physician researcher in the Division of Hematology and first author of the paper. “Given that the treatment was most effective when combined with antibiotics, it’s possible that these two treatments may act synergistically to lead to better outcomes.”
In a press release, Dr. Gollomp added that the work could transform the way clinicians treat sepsis in the future and could also have implications for the treatment of other immune conditions in which NETs are involved. The findings were also presented as an abstract at the 61st American Society of Hematology annual meeting, where the work was one of the highest scoring abstracts among a group of more than 4,500 submissions.
CHOP Receives $10 Million for Pincus Endowed Global Fellowship Program
With a new gift of $10 million granted to CHOP from the Pincus Family Foundation, the David N. Pincus Endowed Global Fellowship Program will continue advancing children’s health worldwide, focusing especially on vulnerable children living in low- and middle-income countries. The Global Fellowship Program is a premier program in the Global Health Center at CHOP that was first established in 2008 with an endowment from David N. Pincus. The three-year, fully funded fellowship supports researchers with their clinical service and education in the global setting, as well as in implementing research studies that will benefit children around the world.
Research by Pincus fellows have already helped to transformed pediatric care, from the introduction of rotavirus vaccine in Botswana, to informing best practices for HIV-exposed, but uninfected babies in Botswana, to evaluating the effectiveness of PCV13 (pneumonia) vaccine in the Dominican Republic, and more.
“For more than a decade, the Pincus family has been a vital partner to CHOP in training future leaders in pediatric global health through clinical, teaching, research and advocacy experiences in our partner countries,” said Joseph St. Geme, MD, Physician-in-Chief and Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at CHOP. “Thanks to the Pincus Family Foundation’s continued support, CHOP is at the center of expertise in global health, and former Pincus fellows are pediatric leaders across the U.S. and around the world.”
New Consortium to Study Rare Genetic Disorders Involved in Psychiatric Conditions
Researchers at CHOP joined a new consortium funded by the National Institutes of Health to study the connection between rare genetic disorders and psychiatric conditions. A $6 million initiative, the “Genome to Mental Health” (GMH) consortium includes researchers from 14 institutions across seven countries. Addressing a critical gap in knowledge, the GMH consortium seeks to learn more about how patients with rare genomic disorders – which are a major cause of developmental and psychiatric conditions – might present to their healthcare providers.
By focusing on four research projects, it will track behavioral and cognitive symptoms in individuals with rare genetic variants associated with psychiatric conditions. The findings will hopefully lay the groundwork for early detection of such conditions and improved treatment.
“By coordinating research efforts across institutions, patients, and families and sharing our data in a streamlined way, we have the opportunity to make meaningful progress in the diagnosis and treatment of these rare conditions,” said Donna McDonald-McGinn, MS, LCGC, director of the 22Q and You Center, Chief of the Section of Genetic Counseling, associate director of the Clinical Genetics Center, and principal investigator for this study at CHOP.
Children With Rare Food Allergy More Likely to Have Other Allergies
Children with food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES), a rare food allergy, have a significantly higher chance of being diagnosed with other allergic conditions, according to new research from our Division of Allergy and Immunology and the Center for Pediatric Eosinophilic Disorders. FPIES does not directly cause those other allergies, which include eczema, traditional food allergy, and asthma. Instead, it is simply associated with them.
“Although there is an increased rate of atopic allergies in patients with FPIES, our analyses demonstrate that a prior diagnosis of FPIES does not increase the rate of atopic allergies later in life,” said corresponding author David Hill, MD, PhD, attending physician the Division of Allergy and Immunology. “This pattern of association supports a yet-unknown cause, such as a shared predisposition to both types of allergy.”
The research, which involved a cohort of more than 150, 000 pediatric patients, highlights the importance for clinicians to provide appropriate screening and care as needed, keeping in mind that patients with FPIES have a higher frequency of allergic manifestations. The findings appeared in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.
Help Us Reach Round 3 of STAT Madness!
Support our scientists in round 2 of “STAT Madness 2020,” a March Madness-style bracket tournament to highlight the best biomedical research of 2019! Our own Hakon Hakonarson, MD, PhD, and Yoav Dori, MD, PhD, made it to the second round of this exciting competition for their life-saving genetic discovery that led to a precise treatment for a boy with a severe lymphatics disorder.
Voting in the second round ends Sunday, March 15, 11:59 p.m. EDT.
Catch up on our headlines from our Feb. 28 In the News:
- CHOP Researchers Share Latest Cardiac Research
- New Tool Identifies Gene Changes Related to Splicing in Aggressive Cancers
- Podcast Features CHOP Research on Autonomous Vehicles, Automotive Safety
- Risk Factors Linked to Poor Sleep in Children
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