All Articles in the Category ‘Research’

Flu Vaccine Matters for Children and Parents Alike

Flu Season AheadEach year in the United States alone, 20,000 children under the age of 5 are hospitalized due to complications from the flu. In 2014, influenza claimed the lives of more than 140 children; half of whom were healthy and had not been vaccinated.

“It’s important for everyone – especially children – to get a flu shot every year,” said Dr. Matthew Kronman, an infectious disease expert at Seattle Children’s Hospital and a member of the Center for Clinical and Translational Research at Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

Below, Kronman answers some common questions related to the flu and flu shots.

Why is the flu dangerous? What happens to make it deadly?

Influenza by its very nature can cause infection and inflammation in the lungs, making it very difficult for some people to breathe. Add to this that people with influenza can be at risk of having a secondary bacterial infection on top of their influenza, and that sometimes the immune response to an influenza infection is overly robust to the point of causing damage itself, and it becomes clear how influenza can cause serious and even life-threatening infections. Fortunately, we have a vaccine annually that can help protect us from this severe infection!

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Unique Corn Maze Raises Money for Childhood Cancer Research

Every year around March, Keith Stocker starts thinking about what he’s going to do with his next corn maze. The Snohomish, Wash., farmer and president of Stocker Farms has created many works of art with his crop, including a rendition of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and a nod to endangered animals at the Woodland Park Zoo. He was still looking for inspiration this year when he boarded an Alaska Airlines plane and picked up the in-flight magazine, Alaska Beyond.

“I started reading an article about Strong Against Cancer, (Seattle Seahawks quarterback) Russell Wilson and the research that’s being done at Seattle Children’s Hospital,” Stocker said. “I didn’t realize until I read that article how important this research is and what it’s doing for kids who are fighting for their lives, as well as their families. It spoke to me. I knew right then that this is what I needed to do for my next design.”

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Transgender Youth Navigating Healthcare: One Family Offers Perspective As Seattle Children’s Researchers Seek Survey Participants

Tai Jordan, right, and his mother Carmen Jordan offer tips for how the healthcare system can accommodate transgender youth.

A clinician stepping out and calling a name into a lobby full of waiting patients may seem like no big deal, but for a transgender youth patient waiting for an appointment, it can cut like a knife.

“When a clinician walks into a room, the birth name on your chart is the first thing they call out,” explained Tai Jordan, a 17-year-old transgender youth. Tai, whose birth name is ‘Tairah,’ was born female, but identifies as male. “If you’re not out yet, or you pass as the gender you identify with and use a different name, the clinician has inadvertently outed you in a public space where you should feel safe.”

Seattle Children’s researchers Dr. David Breland and Dr. Yolanda Evans want to better understand the issues that transgender patients and their families face in healthcare. They have launched a survey for parents of transgender youth patients with the goal of better understanding healthcare experiences and barriers. Families who are interested in participating in this research study can send an email by clicking here or call 206-884-1433 to learn more. The survey takes about 15 minutes to complete and each participant receives a $10 gift card. Read full post »

Seattle Children’s Researchers Pioneer Gene Editing That Kills, Resists HIV

Dr. David Rawlings, left, and Dr. Andrew Scharenberg, right, have pioneered a gene editing technique that can kill and resist HIV.

Dr. David Rawlings, left, and Dr. Andrew Scharenberg, right, have pioneered a gene editing technique in T cells that can kill and resist HIV.

Dr. David Rawlings and Dr. Andrew Scharenberg, researchers at the Center for Immunity and Immunotherapy at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, published a paper today in Science Translational Medicine that reveals a groundbreaking approach to engineering human T cells, which are crucial for fighting infection and show promise in treating autoimmune disorders, blood diseases and some types of cancer. Using HIV as a model for this new gene editing technique, they found that T cells could be engineered to resist HIV infection and simultaneously kill HIV-infected T cells or B cell tumors.

On the Pulse sat down with Dr. Rawlings to discuss this major discovery in gene editing and learn how it could help scientists working to find cures for HIV, cancer and other diseases. Read full post »

Patient Shares Food Allergy Study Experience to Highlight New Web Hub For Seattle Children’s Research Studies and Clinical Trials


Isabelle Thomelin hopes that by participating in a clinical research study for her severe peanut and tree nut allergies, she can help researchers find effective therapies.

Families, patients and providers can now browse our clinical research studies at the newly-launched Seattle Children’s Research Studies and Clinical Trials Web Hub.

When a family is in a rush to get dinner on the table, maybe mom or dad will order pizza, grab healthy greens from the salad bar or hustle home with prepared food from the deli. But when the Thomelin family is considering dinner, they have to think about every single ingredient they bring into the kitchen. Their youngest daughter, 9-year-old Isabelle Thomelin, has severe allergies to peanuts and tree nuts.

Isabelle is enrolled in a clinical study at Seattle Children’s that may reduce her allergic reactions. The study will test an immunotherapy technique and a designer medicine to see if they allow Isabelle’s body to safely tolerate peanuts and tree nuts in gradually increased doses. Read full post »

NIH funds $490,000 for Muscular Dystrophy Research in Zebrafish; Family Hopes for Cure

Nick Olson, 7, comes to Seattle Children's for Duchenne muscular dystrophy treatment.

Nick Olson, 7, comes to Seattle Children’s for Duchenne muscular dystrophy treatment.

Tiny, sleek zebrafish could hold the key for how we treat muscular dystrophy in the future. Dr. Lisa Maves, a researcher at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, has received a grant from the National Institutes of Health to study drug combinations in zebrafish for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. It’s one of the most common forms of muscular dystrophy and affects males almost exclusively. The condition, caused by a genetic disorder of the X chromosome, gradually weakens the body’s muscles and occurs in about 1 out of every 3,500 boys.

Nick Olson is 7 years old—a redhead with a toothy smile and a stuffed animal named Puppyroni by his side. Nick has Duchenne muscular dystrophy. What does a little boy like Nick have in common with a zebrafish swimming in a tank? Genes. Zebrafish are perfect subjects for muscular dystrophy research because the same genes that caused muscular dystrophy in Nick cause it in zebrafish, too. Read full post »

Study: Young Adult Attitudes on Marijuana Legalization

Marijuana abuse

Marijuana legalization has led some college-age young adults to believe marijuana is safe to use now that it’s legal in some states.

A new study from Seattle Children’s Research Institute (SCRI) shows that marijuana legalization has led some college-age young adults to believe marijuana must be safe to use now that it’s legal in some states. That’s a dangerous assumption says the study’s lead author, Dr. Megan Moreno, a Principal Investigator who studies social media and adolescent health at the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at SCRI.

“Marijuana interferes with brain development, and that includes young adults in college,” said Moreno. “About 5% of survey participants expressed that government legalization of marijuana must mean it is safe to use. That might seem like a small percentage. But when magnified on a larger population, it could be a substantial number of young adults who have that perception.”

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Epilepsy Research Confirms that Surgery at a Young Age is Beneficial

Bailey Moser, age 5

Bailey Moser, age 5

Neurosurgeons at Seattle Children’s Hospital have long suspected that epilepsy patients who have surgery earlier in life have better outcomes than those that wait. Now they have data to confirm their instincts.

In a study recently published in the Journal of Neurosurgery Pediatrics, lead author Dr. Hillary Shurtleff, neuropsychologist and investigator at Seattle Children’s Research Institute Center for Integrative Brain Research, found that early surgical treatment of focal seizures – those that affect only one area of the brain – in preschool aged children is highly beneficial. The results showed that surgery can reduce the amount of seizures and the number of medications patients are on while helping improve intelligence outcomes. Read full post »

Preserving Hope for Young Cancer Patients to Have Families in the Future

Shannon Keating had to think about fertility preservation before she began treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma.

Family planning is not the first thing a young, newly diagnosed cancer patient might think about. But for adolescents and young adults facing cancer treatment that could leave them infertile, preserving the ability to have babies should be part of the conversation at the doctor’s office.

A new study published today in Cancer and led by Dr. Margarett Shnorhavorian, a pediatric urologist and researcher at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute Center for Clinical and Translational Research, found a need for increased awareness of fertility preservation for young cancer patients. The study was based on 459 adolescents and young adults who were diagnosed with cancer in 2007 or 2008. The patients were aged 15 to 39 years when diagnosed with germ cell tumor, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma, acute lymphocytic leukemia, or sarcoma. Read full post »

Sharing Medical Decisions with Parents and Patients: Crucial with Caveats

ThinkstockPhotos-78459865In the doctor’s office, words matter. The content of a conversation between doctor, patient and parent can change the course of treatment. Shared decision-making has emerged as the dominant model in medicine for these conversations. There is even evidence it can improve patient outcomes. But should doctors reconsider its constant use? Shared decision-making and its boundaries will be the subject of a discussion led by Dr. Douglas Opel at the 11th annual Pediatric Bioethics Conference, which is being held July 24-25 at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center in Seattle.

Opel, a faculty member at the Treuman Katz Center for Pediatric Bioethics at Seattle Children’s and a general pediatrician at Seattle Children’s, sat down with On the Pulse to discuss the concept of shared decision-making. Read full post »