Research Funded By NIH Leads To Treatment Breakthroughs For Sick Children

Most people probably talk of Texas Children’s Hospital as a place where pediatric patients can get the best possible care from a team of dedicated medical experts.

And while that’s true, Texas Children’s Hospital is also the clinical partner of Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), a premier academic health science center known for excellence in education, research and patient care. That means that most of the doctors who see patients at Texas Children’s Hospital are also members of the Department of Pediatrics at BCM, which ranks as one of the nation’s largest, most diverse, and most successful pediatric programs.

In 2012, the Department of Pediatrics at BCM was ranked first in Texas and #3 among all U.S. medical schools for funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Of the $102 million in research funding we were awarded in 2012, more than $50 million came from the NIH. These research dollars help Texas Children’s deliver better outcomes and better treatments for our young patients.

The NIH is the primary agency of the United States government responsible for biomedical and health-related research. Funding from the NIH is very hard to come by. So, our top ranking shows the strength of both our basic science and clinical research and our faculty’s commitment to advancing science and identifying new treatments for our pediatric patients.

As Physician-in-Chief at Texas Children’s Hospital and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, I get to see firsthand the breakthroughs of the research funded by the NIH. These advances often lead directly to new cures, treatments, therapies, surgeries and other interventions that help improve the health of the children we see every day.

Combined, Texas Children’s and BCM have more than 800,000 square feet of lab space. And our principal investigators are conducting over 1,000 clinical, basic science and translational research projects at any given moment.

Our research is conducted primarily at 3 facilities: the Feigin Center, the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute (NRI) and the Children’s Nutrition Research Center (CNRC). Researchers and scientists are conducting some of the most innovative ongoing research in these facilities, including:

  • Clinical research focusing on the detection and treatment of neurological injuries acquired by children with critical heart disease
  • The Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trials Group, which provides a variety of research and treatment options for infants, children and adolescents with HIV infection
  • The NRI, the world’s first basic science research institute dedicated to childhood neurological diseases, including autism, Fragile X (A and E) syndromes, Angelman syndrome, Rett syndrome, and more
  • The CNRC, 1 of only 6 federally funded human nutrition research centers in the United States, is the first to study nutrition from conception through adolescence.

And these are just a few examples of the amazing research underway right here in Houston. As I hope this brief blog post illustrates, when you talk about pediatric research in Texas, you’re talking about Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine.

About Dr. Mark W. Kline, Physician-in-Chief

I am the Physician-in-Chief of Texas Children's Hospital and also president of the BCM International Pediatric AIDS Initiative (BIPAI), where I oversee an ambitious program that encompasses HIV/AIDS care and treatment and health professional education and training programs in 20 African countries, Mexico, Romania, Ukraine and China.

I have been treating children with HIV/AIDS since the epidemic first surfaced among these youngest of patients in the late 1980s.

Posted in Leadership, Research

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