Research that improves kids' lives

July 22, 2015

Research at Lurie Children's is conducted through the Stanley Manne Children's Research Institute. The Manne Research Institute is focused on improving child health, transforming pediatric medicine and ensuring healthier futures through the relentless pursuit of knowledge.

Genomic analysis offers insights into causes of Wilms tumor development

A comprehensive genomic analysis of Wilms tumor – the most common pediatric kidney cancer – found genetic mutations in genes that fall into two major categories that involve cellular processes occurring early in kidney development. The study, published in Nature Genetics, offers the possibility that targeting these processes may provide new opportunities for treatment. "It is very difficult to therapeutically target over 40 separate genes that may be mutated in Wilms tumor," says senior author Elizabeth Perlman, MD, Head of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Lurie Children's and the Arthur C. King Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. "Future studies that target these two pathways leading to Wilms tumor may be more efficient than targeting individual mutations," she says.

RNA discoveries could improve stem cell research

A recently described variety of RNA sequences was found to be largely cell-type specific, raising the possibility that cheRNA (chromatin-enriched RNA) may be used as a marker in stem cell research. The study, published in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, was co-authored by Vasil Galat, PhD, Director of the Human iPS and Stem Cell Core at the Manne Research Institute. Dr. Galat says that more precise manipulation of these cells could speed the process of genetically engineering cells with a specific function, such as immune system cells.

Novel device detects ingested button batteries

Every year, 3,500 people in the U.S. swallow electronic button batteries. The ingestion of these batteries can be life threatening, especially in children. X-rays are the current standard in pediatric emergency departments for detecting these batteries. Lurie Children's otolaryngologist Dr. Jonathan Ida, MD, and Bharat Bhushan, PhD, a Research Assistant Professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, have developed a novel device they say is more effective than x-rays. The device measures the magnetic field of the ingested material and is able to determine if it is a button battery. The co-investigators are readying the prototype to submit it for FDA approval.

White children more likely to receive antibiotics in ED

A study published in Pediatrics found that white children treated in pediatric emergency departments for viral infections are up to twice as likely to be prescribed antibiotics compared to black or Hispanic children — even though viral respiratory tract infections do not warrant antibiotic treatment. Senior author Elizabeth R. Alpern, MD, an attending physician in Lurie Children's Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, suggests that differences in parental expectations may be a factor in the disparity. "This is critical, because inappropriate use of antibiotics contributes to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria," says Alpern.

Learn about the latest research developments at the Manne Research Institute.