Research News - Winter 2019

February 15, 2019

Recently Recruited

New Director of Precision Medicine Oncology

Angela Waanders, MD, MPH, recently joined Lurie Children’s as Director of Precision Medicine Oncology and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. She comes from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where her research as a fellow led directly to the discovery of a novel genomic abnormality that has since been found to be a hallmark of pediatric low-grade gliomas. Currently, her translational research focuses on developing novel therapeutic strategies to improve the clinical outcomes for children with incurable brain tumors. She also is the Director of Operations for the Children’s Brain Tumor Tissue Consortium, the first-of-its-kind cancer database with specimens linked to long-term clinical data collection.

Internationally Recognized Cancer Biologist Joins Lurie Children’s

Xiao-Nan Li, MD, PhD, joined Lurie Children’s in 2018 as director of Pediatric Xenograft Modeling at the Manne Research Institute and Professor of Pediatrics at Feinberg. Dr. Li came from Baylor College of Medicine. He actively participates in National Cancer Institute-sponsored research consortia and is one of the world’s foremost experts on pediatric xenograft modeling, which produces the most accurate recreation of how tumors in children will respond to anti-cancer drugs. His expertise will allow Lurie Children’s to advance its Precision Medicine initiative through the development of animal models for preclinical drug screening and biological studies of pediatric tumors.

CDC Designates HIV Prevention in Young Transgender Women Effective

A behavioral intervention developed at Lurie Children’s to prevent HIV in young transgender women was designated by the HIV/AIDS Prevention Research Synthesis (PRS) project at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as showing the best evidence of efficacy. In a randomized clinical efficacy trial, this intervention resulted in nearly 40 percent greater reduction in sex acts without a condom during the 12-month follow-up period compared to the standard preventive care. Findings were published in JAMA Pediatrics. Lead author Rob Garofalo, MD, MPH, Head of Potocsnak Family Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at Lurie Children’s and head of the Center for Gender, Sexuality and HIV Prevention at the Manne Research Institute, says the intervention was successful because it was delivered by peers, focused on empowerment and addressed important practical needs of young transgender women. The study was conducted in collaboration with researchers at Brown University and The Fenway Institute.

New Home for Researchers

By June 2019, the Manne Research Institute will move into state-of-the-art new quarters in the new Louis A. Simpson and Kimberly K. Querrey Biomedical Research Center, located one block from Lurie Children’s. The research institute will occupy four floors of state-of-the-art lab and research space in this shared building with Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. The top-caliber facility, combined with a new research strategic plan, will dramatically increase the number of collaborations between both institutions.

Research Philanthropy

Children’s Research Fund makes historic $25M million commitment

The Children’s Research Fund, Lurie Children’s longest-standing supporter of pediatric research, has made an historic multiyear commitment of $25 million dollars to accelerate research conducted at the Manne Research Institute through Lurie Children’s campaign for every child. The gift, which supports all pillars of the research enterprise, will speed the translation of basic science research into understanding new mechanisms, identifying novel diagnostics, developing cutting-edge therapies and establishing national policies for children.


Eisenberg Foundation Makes Gift for Precision Medicine

The George M. Eisenberg Foundation for Charities recently made a significant multiyear commitment to Precision Medicine Oncology at Lurie Children’s. Funding will directly support key personnel and technology to grow clinical and research capabilities in the emerging field of precision medicine. The goal of the Precision Medicine Oncology program is to transform oncology treatment by establishing an innovative research and clinical model that will inform diagnostic and treatment strategies for children everywhere. The Eisenberg Foundation has supported clinical care and research at Lurie Children’s since 1975.