Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is investing in pediatric research centers that serve to encourage collaboration and reduce duplicate work among researchers.
While many centers are now open, several more are in development and set to open in the future. A total of eleven research centers are currently available:
Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center
Every advancement in curing childhood cancer and blood disorders is the result of advanced research. The Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s conducts important research in the following areas: BMT, brain tumors, leukemia and lymphoma, solid tumors, cancer survivorship, hemophilia and thrombosis, sickle cell disease, gene therapy and transfusion medicine.
Center for Cardiovascular Biology
The field of pediatric cardiology has already greatly improved the survival rate of kids with heart defects and disease. Now, researchers are developing techniques and solutions that not only save these patients, but improve their quality of life. 2 key research projects in the Center for Cardiovascular Biology include developing a biological pacemaker that would reduce the need for multiple surgeries as children grow; and studying a short-lived protein, that when inhibited, results in much stronger hearts in mice.
Center for Clinical Outcomes Research and Public Health
Researchers At this center focus on identifying new methods to measure and improve healthcare outcomes, which are evaluated for:
- Differences —Across many health services and wellness programs
- Health services—Including clinical care and costs
- Wellness programs—Including prevention and health promotion
Center for Cystic Fibrosis Research
Cystic fibrosis is a complicated, multi-organ disease. Because it hampers the lungs’ ability to remove mucous, cystic fibrosis can cause severe infections and even death. Researchers at this center are working to develop new therapies, drugs and tools that can improve the lives of children with this condition.
Center for Developmental Lung Biology
Breathing disorders, such as asthma, are the No.1 reason that children need emergency care. Researchers at this center are working to strengthen and expand our understanding and treatment of these disorders, along with lung development and pediatric pulmonary diseases.
Center for Immunology and Vaccines
Infectious diseases are the leading cause of death in the world. Researchers at this center are working closely with the Emory Vaccine Center and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to find new ways to stop the spread of common diseases. This includes developing new vaccine and treatment options for many infectious diseases, including respiratory syncytial virus, measles, malaria and more.
Center for Neurosciences
The vision of the Center for Neurosciences Reserach is to be the best in improving neurological care for children. Researchers are collaborating with other insitutions to initiate and conduct research to discover preventive, diagnostic and wellness strategies for children with serious neurological challenges.
Center for Pediatric Innovation
Historically, medical devices designed for adults have been used in children. But this is less than optimal, because children are often not as big as adults, have different immune responses and grow, requiring new devices as they age.
To foster the development of medical devices for children, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration provided $1.8 million to launch the new Atlanta Pediatric Device Consortium, which will provide assistance with engineering design, prototype development, pre-clinical and clinical studies and commercialization for novel pediatric medical devices.
Center for Pediatric Nanomedicine
This pediatric research center is the first one in the nation to be solely dedicated to the study and advancement of nanomedicine. Because it can be applied to many pediatric diseases and conditions, nanomedicine has the potential to profoundly improve—if not completely revolutionize—the treatment, care and ultimate cure of many childhood diseases and conditions.
Center for Transplantation and Immune-mediated Disorders
When a child receives an organ transplant, his body may attack the new organ as foreign. In the same way, autoimmune diseases also cause the body to attack a part of itself as foreign. Researchers at this center are exploring new treatment options for children undergoing organ or bone marrow transplantation, and for those with autoimmune disorders.
Marcus Autism Center
The earlier autism is diagnosed in patients, the better their outcomes will be. Currently, the average age of diagnosis is 4.5 years old, despite the existence of tests that can diagnose children much earlier. Marcus Autism Center is one of the largest centers in the U.S. for autism treatment, and the clinicians there are dedicated to improving the early detection and intervention of autism. As an example, one study being conducted by Ami Klin, Ph.D., Director of the center, tests social engagement using special eye-tracking software, which has the potential to diagnose children as young as 6 months old.
Additional research centers under development:
Center for Clinical and Translational Research
This center will provide organization and leadership for clinical trials science, and act as a central point for recruiting clinical trialists in a variety of disciplines. The center will also serve as scientific home for leaders in nursing research.
Center for Drug Discovery
Researchers at this center will study and develop new drugs for a range of pediatric conditions, including infectious and neglected diseases, inflammatory conditions, cancers and blood disorders.