Pediatric Drug Development Center

The long-term objectives of the Pediatric Drug Development Center are to improve the lives of children and adolescents with chronic or life-threatening diseases by the discovery and repurposing of drugs from bench to clinical trial; advance knowledge of pediatric pharmacology and therapeutics; train pediatric investigators; and establish Lurie Children's as a leader in pediatric drug discovery and therapeutics.

Center Activities

A major crisis is occurring in drug discovery, affecting future progress to healthier lives. While the pipeline is filled, the actual number of approved drugs is declining. This problem is exacerbated in pediatrics because the diseases are different, possess smaller markets and pose greater regulatory obstacles.

Nowhere can this be better appreciated than in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Over the past 40 years, cure rates have skyrocketed from 5 percent to 90 percent. But over the past ten years progress has been flat.

The burden is on the pediatric academic community to initiate, develop and evaluate new therapies specifically formulated for children and adolescents.

Our mission is to repurpose drugs, which are available, inexpensive, and safe to use in pediatric oncology patients. “Shelved” drugs, which have gone through phase I/II testing but either failed approval or were not submitted, must be re-evaluated. Our mission is accomplished by:

  • Performing translational research in selected pediatric diseases to identify new pediatric indications for existing drugs; 
  • Facilitating collaboration across basic science and clinical disciplines; 
  • Educating and training pediatric physicians and scientists at all stages of their careers on drug discovery and therapeutics; 
  • Attracting patients to Lurie Children’s for care and management of their diseases; 
  • Obtaining extramural funding from federal, foundation, and industrial sources; 
  • Reporting our drug discoveries at meetings and in journals.


Seth J. Corey, MD, MPH
  • Director, Pediatric Drug Development Center; Professor, Pediatrics and Cell & Molecular Biology; Sharon B. Murphy, MD and Steven T. Rosen, MD Research Professor of Cancer Biology and Chemotherapy
  • Anemia; Blood/Bleeding Disorders (anemia, clotting, etc.); Cancer Biology; Cancer Genetics; Cancer: Blood (leukemia, lymphomas); Hematology; Oncology; Stem Cells
Morris Kletzel, MD, MBA
  • Co-director, Pediatric Drug Development Center; Professor, Pediatrics; Meryl Suzanne Weiss Distinguished Professor in Hematology, Oncology and Stem Cell Transplant
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation; Cancer: Blood (leukemia, lymphomas); Pediatrics; Stem Cells; Transplantation