2008 Articles and Releases

Distinct Daughters, Different Destinies – Understanding Asymmetric Cell Division


The role of asymmetric cell division in cancer is still a mystery. Institute fellow Raji Natarajan seeks to put a key molecular piece of information into the puzzle. ...More

Mixed Signals: Chaotic Vascular Signals May


A problem as simple as a ruptured appendix can quickly become a life-threatening event for a child. Even with prompt surgery and excellent post-operative care, children occasionally develop sepsis syndrome, a complex systemic inflammatory condition which can complicate an otherwise treatable infection. In the United States, children who develop sepsis syndrome have a 1 in 10 chance of dying, accounting for about 4,300 preventable deaths annually....More

First Gene Linked to Clubfoot in Humans


Clubfoot, one of the most common birth defects, has long been thought to have a genetic component. Now, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis report they have found the first gene linked to clubfoot in humans....More

Annual Investors Meeting


The First Annual Children's Discovery Institute Investors Meeting was held October 20, 2008 at the Eric P. Newman Education Center. St. Louis Children's Hospital President Lee Fetter welcomed guests before turning the microphone over to Dr. Alan Schwartz, Executive Director of the Institute. Dr. Schwartz discussed the Institute's history and current portfolio of research initiatives as well as progress to date....More

Researchers hone technique to KO pediatric brain tumors


An interdisciplinary team of researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, led by Karen L. Wooley, Ph.D., James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor in Arts & Sciences, is a step closer to delivering cancer-killing drugs to pediatric brain tumors, similar to the tumor that Senator Ted Kennedy is suffering from....More

Immune Systems in Overdrive


Are children who mount very robust responses to immune challenges predisposed to autoimmune diseases such as lupus and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis? Dr. Barak Cohen is probing genetic variation in the immune response to find out. His research may lead to better treatments for children with these types of disorders....More

Institute Adds More Brainpower to Investigate Childhood Diseases


Four new research awards announced today by the Children’s Discovery Institute have pushed the Institute’s investment in novel pediatric research programs to more than $7.5 million since 2006. This year alone, the Institute has awarded $3 million in grants to 13 investigators....More

Exploring the Genetics of Heart Arrhythmia


The heart's regular rhythm depends on the electrical signals that cycle through it. At the most basic level, these signals are created by the movement of charged particles within the heart tissue. Anything that alters the electrical balance of this process can give a person an irregular heart beat, or arrhythmia, which can be life threatening. ...More

Circadian Rhythms and Tumor Biology


Ironically, Erik Herzog was experiencing jet lag when he sat down to discuss his new Children’s Discovery Institute grant to study circadian rhythms. “Jet lag is an example of what happens when your biological clock is out of synch with local time,” he said. “It’s a good illustration of the power of circadian rhythms on our body processes.”...More

Metabolic Mechanisms of Cardiac Failure in Congenital Heart Disease


We can celebrate the fact that children born with heart defects are living longer than ever before, thanks to advances in medicine and surgery. In fact, in the United States eight out of 10 babies born with congenital heart disease now reach their 16th birthday...More

Neuroprosthetic Solutions for Children with Musculoskeletal Disease


Each year in the United States, 8,000 babies and children are diagnosed with cerebral palsy (CP). For their entire lives, these children will face difficulties with basic functions like walking, swallowing or speaking because of a brain injury that affects muscle control....More

Seeking New Culprits in Inflammatory Diseases


Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA), the most common form of juvenile arthritis, afflicts approximately 50,000 children with joint pain, swelling and loss of motion. Scientists attribute JRA and a wide spectrum of other pediatric inflammatory conditions to misdirected attacks by the body's own defenses. Immune system cells and chemicals meant for use against invading microorganisms accidentally turn their firepower on the body...More

The Heart of the Matter


Jennifer Gries Duncan, M.D., is motivated to find a cause of childhood heart failure when she looks at the faces of every patient she treats in the intensive care unit at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. These children often face multiple surgeries, a lifetime of medications and various preventive measures to keep the heart working....More

Looking to Solve a Mystery


A young girl from an Amish community came to St. Louis Children’s Hospital to see Thomas Ferkol, M.D., for what her family thought were allergies. But it was quickly apparent that she had something more complicated than allergies. She had primary ciliary dyskinesia, and many of her relatives might as well....More

Institute Scholar Probes Genetics of Neuromuscular Disease


What if neuromuscular diseases could be halted in childhood before symptoms ever appear? That’s the dream of Robert Baloh, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of neurology at Washington University School of Medicine. He is tackling the problem by trying to find ways to make genetic diagnoses in patients with inherited neuromuscular diseases in an effort to stop the disease before symptoms appear. As a newly named Children’s Discovery Institute (CDI) Scholar, Baloh will study the genetic mutations that cause Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, one of the most common inherited neuromuscular diseases...More

Deciphering the Mechanisms of Abnormal Skeletal Growth


Study seeks to understand the molecular triggers of bone development Skeletal dysplasia is the medical term for the bone and cartilage abnormalities that afflict as many as one in 5,000 children. While dwarfism is the most blatantly visible example, skeletal dysplasia covers a wide spectrum of more than 200 types of cartilage and bone growth anomalies. The unfortunate hallmarks for children affected are malformations and irregularities that can occur in the size and shape of the skeleton, long bones, spine and head....More

Factors Affecting Neural Crest Development


Early in the development of a human embryo, unique cells appear along the edge of the region that will ultimately become the central nervous system. The site where these cells originate is called the “neural crest.” The neural crest, however, is a temporary structure since these cells quickly disperse throughout the embryo along pre-determined pathways and settle into many different locations in the body. Neural crest cells migrate to the head, heart, gut, and even skin cells among other places....More

Children’s Discovery Institute Creates New Scientific Partnerships


Will brain-powered robots one day restore mobility to children with cerebral palsy? Do circadian rhythms impact the outcome of cancer therapy? Can the root cause of pediatric heart disease be explained by a fruit fly? ...More

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