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Children's Hospital's Research Mission Expands, Broadens

November 12, 2002

Children’s marks new era with lease of new space for research at 307 Westlake.

Children’s marks new era with lease of new space for research at 307 Westlake.

Seattle, Wash. - Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center will nearly triple the amount of space available to its clinical and laboratory researchers next year, President and CEO Treuman Katz announced today. Children’s will lease two stories of a new biomedical facility currently under construction at 307 Westlake on south Lake Union.

The announcement of new research space signifies an exciting new era for the hospital according to CEO Katz: “Research has always been part of our core mission that also includes patient care, education and child advocacy. We have spent the past several years establishing our research priorities, and securing a location for this important work is a sign of our maturity as an institution.

“The children’s hospitals that are involved in research will be the best and will contribute the most toward furthering pediatric medicine,” Katz added. “Expanding and broadening our commitment to research increases our potential to improve the way we care for children, prevent illness, eliminate diseases, and reduce hospitalization and the impact it has on children and families.”

Located at 307 Westlake Ave. North, the new five-story 112,000 square-foot building is designed and constructed with the needs of a research facility in mind. Children’s will use the space as a research facility for basic biomedical research into infectious diseases and immunologic conditions affecting children.

The new space will also allow Children’s to look strategically at its research programs and determine where to locate its researchers for the greatest synergy and efficiency. “Contiguous space for investigating related issues enhances the atmosphere for sharing knowledge, cross-fertilizing ideas, training new doctors and emphasizing a team-like approach,” says Dr. Craig Rubens, head of Children’s Infectious Disease Division.

“Currently, Children’s facilities, clinical care and medical training programs are among the best in the nation. We would like to see our research program receive the same recognition,” says Bruder Stapleton, Children’s pediatrician-in-chief and director of the department of pediatrics at the University of Washington. “Securing more space will help Children’s attract and retain the best and the brightest to practice here, to train new doctors and to perform the research that can transform the way pediatric medicine is practiced throughout the nation.”

The Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, which investigates infectious diseases prevalent in the Third World, has already announced plans to move to 307 Westlake, when the building opens in early 2004. The similarity of work will enable both organizations to gain economies of scale by sharing the building, which is being developed by Vulcan Inc. and Harbor Properties.

“We are excited to be in partnership with a nonprofit research organization that shares our interest in the area of infectious disease research,” said Katz. “South Lake Union is emerging as a likely hub of biomedical research in the future, and it is important to us that our key partners, the University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, both have significant research establishments in the area.”

h3. Highlights of Children’s Hospital Research

Children’s research is about bold vision, innovative thinking and unwavering determination. Research is more than test tubes and clinical trials. It’s the opportunity to expand our scientific understanding of pediatric disease and how to better treat, manage and cure it. Through our commitment to research, we give families the confidence that their children have access to state-of-the-art treatments and diagnostic tools.

Brain Cancer: Children’s treats about 70 new patients with brain tumors each year, making our program one of the largest in the country. The multi-disciplinary team that provides patient care and conducts clinical and laboratory research includes scientists and physicians from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the University of Washington and Children’s Hospital, which together form the Seattle Cancer Care Research Alliance. Physicians and scientists work together to discover more effective and safer treatments for children with brain tumors. Children’s is also a part of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium, a group of the nine most advanced research programs in the country chosen and funded by the National Cancer Institute to spur new theories and boost research progress.

Cystic fibrosis (CF): CF is a genetic illness that causes mucous to thicken and clog the ducts of major organs. The congestion it produces makes it difficult to breath and causes frequent respiratory infections that slowly destroy the lungs. In the 1980s Children’s researchers began exploring ways to change the formulations of an existing antibiotic, tobramycin sulfate, so it could be delivered through an inhaler directly into the lungs where it is needed most. Partnering with the CF foundation and the private sector Children’s CF research team developed the antibiotic solution TOBI, which was recently approved for use internationally. Today the nucleus of CF research is the CF Therapeutics Development Network (TDN) an innovative structure that funnels the energies of the medical, corporate and private sectors toward the shared goal of developing new drugs.

Craniofacial Abnormalities: Children’s and the University of Washington Academic Medical Center bring the best attributes of both institutions to bear on advancing the understanding of craniofacial disease and the options for treatment. Researchers are currently investigating why specific mutations lead to craniosynosotsis by studying the biology of bone cells. The ultimate goal is to develop molecular therapies that could mitigate the severity or even prevent the disease.

AIDS/HIV: Researchers at Children’s have led studies on the use of “drug cocktails’ for the treatment of AIDS/HIV in children in Seattle and as part of a larger group involving 40 pediatric AIDS clinics across the country. The research has shown that the drug cocktails used on adults are also powerfully effective in children, cutting the risk of death by two-thirds, to less than 1 percent annually. Researchers are also developing tests for AIDS/HIV and for drug resistance that are faster and cheaper to use so that the disease can be diagnosed quickly and treated early.

Group B Strep: Researchers at Children’s have made great strides in identifying molecules produced by Group B streptococci that are responsible for this bacteria’s ability to cause severe infections. Group B streptococci are the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia, blood stream infection, and meningitis in newborn babies and pregnant woman with a mortality rate of 10 to 15 percent. The goal is to develop a new vaccine to prevent these infections.

About Seattle Children’s

Consistently ranked as one of the best children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Seattle Children’s serves as the pediatric and adolescent academic medical referral center for the largest landmass of any children’s hospital in the country (Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho). For more than 100 years, Seattle Children’s has been delivering superior patient care while advancing new treatments through pediatric research. Seattle Children’s serves as the primary teaching, clinical and research site for the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine. The hospital works in partnership with Seattle Children’s Research Institute and Seattle Children’s Hospital Foundation. For more information, visit www.seattlechildrens.org or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

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