Director's Message

Help Us Celebrate 10 Years of the CDI
03/14/2016

It’s almost hard to believe that it has been 10 years since St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine joined forces to create the Children’s Discovery Institute. We will be celebrating this important milestone all year long, and reflecting on the progress made to understand and seek better treatments and, ultimately, cures for childhood diseases and disorders.

Since 2006, the CDI has invested more than $47 million on 154 pediatric research grants. Many of these grants have been awarded to young School of Medicine physician-scientists who may not have gotten their fresh ideas for solving the remaining mysteries of childhood disease funded otherwise. With the preliminary data and discoveries the CDI’s seed funding helped them generate, CDI researchers have been able to compete for extramural grants from sources, such as the National Institutes of Health. In fact, they’ve been able to acquire nearly $192 million in funding to continue on their discovery pathways.

What does this mean for the children we treat at St. Louis Children’s Hospital? It means that we know more about the molecular basis for pediatric cancers. It means we’ve been able to leverage the School of Medicine’s genomics technologies to link childhood diseases of growth and development, malnutrition, asthma, allergies and cystic fibrosis to the trillions of microbes that live in and on the human body. CDI researchers have made strides in understanding congenital heart, vascular, musculoskeletal and lung disorders in many of the children we treat. They’ve made important discoveries in childhood diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome, as well as in immune system and infectious diseases.

And, they are just getting started. The second 10 years of the CDI will build on the synergy that comes with collaboration. But pediatric researchers face a headwind of challenges. Overall, funding for pediatric research continues to lag considerably behind research into adult disease, while inflation in the cost of all biomedical research continues. To ensure we can sustain our momentum, we need your continued support. So, please, stay engaged with us through childrensdiscovery.org and encourage others to consider the CDI as an investment in making the lives of children better in this and every generation that follows. 

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