Research

All Articles in the Category ‘Research’

One Step Closer to a Cure for Leukemia without Chemotherapy or Radiation

At most hospitals, children with relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) who aren’t responding well to chemotherapy would be running out of options. But Seattle Children Research Institute’s researchers are one step closer to finding a cure.  Starting this month, patients who have relapsed ALL will have the option of participating in a new clinical trial if they are not responding to chemotherapy and have a less than 20 percent chance of survival. 

Harnessing life-saving cells in patients’ blood

The new treatment—called cellular immunotherapy—involves drawing blood from the patient, reprogramming their infection-fighting T cells to find and destroy cancer cells, and infusing the blood back into their body.

T cells attack neuroblastoma tumor cells

Only three other institutions in the country are conducting this type of clinical trial, which involves using a specialized high-tech facility to manufacture the personalized therapy using each patient’s blood. 

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Does Soy Hamper Kids’ Immunity?

 

soybeans

Kawasaki disease is a condition that can affect many parts of a child’s body, including the mucous membranes (lining of the mouth and breathing passages), skin, eyes, and lymph nodes, which are part of the immune system.  The disease is the leading cause of acquired heart disease in children in the U.S, and it can affect the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart.  This can lead, in rare cases, to heart attack and death. 

What causes Kawasaki disease?

There are lots of theories about what causes Kawasaki disease.  Researchers have thought that it might be linked to genetics or even the wind, of all things.  Patients tend to be diagnosed with the condition more frequently from winter through spring, which suggests a possible environmental trigger.  Some investigators have even theorized that carpet mites could be carrying a pathogen that causes the disease.  “People had their carpets cleaned and, soon after, their children were diagnosed with Kawasaki disease,” said Michael Portman, MD, of Seattle Children’s Research Institute

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Exposure to Low Levels of Air Pollutants has Modest Effect on Fetal Growth

Several studies conducted in Los Angeles and New York City have identified high concentrations of air pollution as harmful to a developing fetus, but there have been few studies of traffic-related air pollution and birth outcomes in areas that have low to moderate air pollution.  Now, a team led by Sheela Sathyanarayana, MD, MPH, of Seattle Children’s Research Institute, has found modest effects on fetal growth in the Puget Sound Air Basin, a region in Washington state with low overall air pollutant concentrations.

Traffic in Seattle

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Infant Brains More Engaged When Playing with Interactive Toys: Study

Child watching TV

Most children watch TV before age two, typically starting at about five to nine months. That’s despite the fact that recent guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics discourage television or video viewing by infants before the age of two. Encouraged by disputed claims that videos can benefit an infant or toddler’s educational development, the infant digital video disc (DVD) business has become a $500 million industry in the U.S.

First Study to Look at Brain Chemistry in Infants

However, a new study conducted by investigators at Seattle Children’s Research Institute suggests that video watching causes different brain reactions than simple interactive games, such as playing with building blocks. The purpose of the research was to test whether there are quantifiable differences in the levels of cortisol between a known beneficial and traditional type of play and one that is new and relatively understudied.

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Not all Adolescents Who Screen Positive for Depression Need Treatment: Study

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended in 2009 that primary care clinicians should screen adolescents for depression.  But a positive result or screen does not mean that every young person needs active treatment—including psychotherapy and medication—for depression, based on a new study led by Laura Richardson, MD, MPH, of Seattle Children’s Research Institute.  The study, “Predictors of Persistence Following a Positive Depression Screen among Adolescents,” was published November 19 in Pediatrics.

Teen sitting on the floor and thinking

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The Fastest Tests Beyond the West: Inside Seattle Children’s Lab

We’re approaching flu season, a time when you hear a lot about the importance of getting a flu shot, and parents get nervous about children catching the flu.  Heck, even parents get nervous about being sick. 

Speedy testing for the flu can help ease anxiety for parents – it might be just a common cold, after all.  And if it’s not, a fast diagnosis means a child receives the right treatment promptly.

Fastest in the Nation

Seattle Children’s laboratory is the fastest in the nation for producing respiratory virus results.  It’s a fact that Mike Astion, MD, PhD, medical director of Lab Medicine, is pretty proud of.  He and his team have made a lot of progress to reach that goal in recent years.

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Gene Repair Breakthrough Led by Seattle Children’s Research Institute

Imagine a prowler casing a neighborhood, looking for a way into a home. That’s essentially what HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus, does:  It moves through the bloodstream trying to gain entry to T-cells — the primary warrior of the immune system. A special receptor on the T-cell’s surface (called CCR5) is the open door it seeks. Once it gains entry, the virus hampers a T-cell’s ability to do its job, leaving people vulnerable to infection and disease — and enabling HIV to spread.

Now imagine you can lock that door forever. The virus can’t enter the T-cells and interfere with the immune system and the body can fight off the infection.

Drs. Dave Rawlings, Andy Scharenberg and a team at Seattle Children’s are getting close to making that vision a reality. Working with colleagues at University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in the Northwest Genome Engineering Consortium, they have figured out how to modify genes and knock the CCR5 receptor off T-cells.

Dr. Dave Rawlings, Dr. Andy Scharenberg (right)

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Restaurant Environments Improve, Sort of, Under Nutrition-Label Regulation

Buy one, get one for 1 cent.  Be a hot tamale, eat a hot tamale.  Try our new salted carmel cake pop.

We see slogans like these on billboards and at restaurants on a daily basis.  Would a nutrition-labeling regulation that requires restaurants to post calorie counts help spur a reduction in the use of these slogans, which are known as “barriers to healthful eating?”  That’s what a research team, led by Brian Saelens, PhD, of Seattle Children’s Research Institute, set out to find. The study, “Nutrition-labeling regulation impacts on restaurant environments,” is published this week in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Young man looks at the menu in a fast food restaurant

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Preventing Preterm Birth Initiative New Projects Announced

Mom and Baby – India
© Paul Joseph Brown/GAPPS

Projects seek to undercover how the following conditions lead to preterm birth, low birth weight and stillbirth:

  • Malaria infections of the placenta
  • Infections of the female reproductive tract
  • Disruption of the normal bacteria and other micro-organisms of the lower female genital tract
  • Body’s receptors for progestin-based therapies
  • Infections that cause inflammation in the uterus

Dr. Kevin Kain had completed medical school and was about to embark on a career as a surgeon in Canada, but on a whim he and some friends decided to take a trip to Africa.

He ended up spending a year driving the entire length of the continent, camping along the way.  “I was immediately struck that people were dying from diseases all around me that I had never even been taught about,” he says.

He returned to North America and decided to devote his career to global health. “It seemed this incredible inequity in education about what the major burdens of disease were in the world and that we didn’t know anything about them. I got very passionate about learning about them and then wanting to do something about them.” Read full post »

New Survey Shows Almost Half of Teens with Autism Are Bullied

Unfortunately, many children are bound to face occasional teasing and rejection throughout their school years, and we now know that this bullying can affect more than just egos. Previous studies have found kids and teens who are bullied tend to be more depressed, lonely and anxious, and perform worse in school than those who aren’t picked on. So when this bullying is paired with particularly vulnerable students, such as children with autism, life can become even more difficult.

A new survey of parents shows that close to half of teens with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are bullied at school. This rate of 46.3 percent, published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, is much higher than the estimated 11 percent of bullied teens in the general population. Read full post »