Diagnostic and Research Growth Center

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Established in 1989, the Diagnostic and Research Growth Center has become a national leader in both the clinical care and research of children and adolescents, age birth to 21 years, with abnormal growth and pubertal disorders. It is part of the Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes at CHOP, and Growth Center physicians are affiliated through the Department of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania.

The research enterprise of the Growth Center draws upon the strengths of its extensive patient population, expertise of its members, and long tradition of collaboration both within the CHOP community and beyond. The Growth Center participates in multi-center clinical trials of novel therapeutics, such as new long-acting growth hormone preparations. Other research activities include translational research into novel causes of growth disorders, and clinical studies related to the management of children with short stature.

The Growth Center also is actively involved in training endocrine fellows and other young professionals in growth-related research and clinical care.

Research Project Highlights:

  • A new paradigm of short stature: Incorporating parent and youth characteristics into understanding GH-related decision making and trajectories of quality of life and self-esteem. Adda Grimberg, MD, is co-PI with Victoria Miller, PhD, director of Research for the Craig Dalsimer Division of Adolescent Medicine at CHOP, for this longitudinal mixed-methods study that aims to understand height-related medical decision-making by youth with short stature and their parents, including the role of the youth themselves in that process. They also aim to discover the ways that parent and youth characteristics modify the relationship of height to quality of life and self-esteem.
  • A multicenter collaborative clinical study to identify novel causes of severe pediatric growth disorders. Dr. Grimberg is CHOP-site PI in this collaboration with Children’s National Medical Center (Dr. Andrew Dauber, overall study PI), Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and Children’s Hospital Boston. The primary objectives of this multi-center collaboration are to combine targeted bioinformatics search of the electronic health records with modern genetics techniques to identify novel genetic causes of rare growth disorders and to attain new insights into growth biology through related functional analyses.
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome research at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. (Kahn Foundation). The primary goal of this program is to create a research registry of patients with Prader-Willi syndrome receiving care at CHOP, in collaboration with the Roberts Individualized Medical Genetics Center. The first project undertaken by Dr. Grimberg together with Thornton B. Mason, MD, PhD, MSCE, and Robert Stowe, MD, of the CHOP Sleep Center is to evaluate longitudinal changes in respiratory status related to growth hormone treatment of patients with Prader-Willi syndrome.
  • Growth hormone utilization by U.S. youth: Trends as insurance pushes back after FDA-approved expansion. Using administrative claims data, Dr. Grimberg together with Genevieve P. Kanter, PhD, assistant professor (Research) of Medicine and of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the Perelman School of Medicine, aim to investigate how utilization of GH drugs by youth has changed in response to FDA approval of GH treatment for idiopathic short stature, and secular changes in utilization as insurers have imposed greater barriers to GH treatment reimbursements.