On the Pulse

HIV Immunotherapy Study Shows T-Cells Can Kill, Resist HIV Simultaneously

Seattle Children’s researchers developed a T cell that can both kill and resist HIV. On the left is a microscopic image of thousands of HIV-infected cells after being exposed to normal, unedited T cells. On the right is a microscopic image of HIV-infected cells after being exposed to edited T cells. The clumping in the image to the right indicates HIV positive cells are being killed by the edited T cells.

HIV is a cunning virus—it infects, takes over and shuts down the body’s T-cells that fight infection. This leaves HIV-positive individuals without immune power to fight off many types of infections, even a common cold, which can become deadly.

Researchers at Seattle Children’s Research Institute published two studies in the journal Molecular Therapy that could lead to a more permanent treatment that uses the power of the immune system to fight off disease. With the use of gene editing, they developed a T-cell that can both kill and resist HIV simultaneously, a promising step forward in the development of HIV immunotherapy.

“Our goal is to develop an HIV treatment that is more permanent than a daily drug,” said Dr. David Rawlings, director of the Center for Immunity and Immunotherapy at Seattle Children’s Research Institute. “In the future we hope this treatment would eliminate the need for HIV drugs that have negative side effects on people who need them to stay alive.” Read full post »

Tiny Hearts, Faster Healing: Seattle and Indonesian Cardiologists’ Easy Fix Improves Heart Surgery Recovery in Babies

A pediatric heart surgery patient at the National Cardiovascular Center hospital in Jakarta, Indonesia. Researchers found giving babies thyroid hormone during and after heart surgery got them off ventilators faster.

Babies who need heart surgery in the U.S. have access to advanced healthcare and doctors that get them into the operating room quickly, allowing them to fix problems early and give the babies a chance at healthy growth.

But in developing countries, babies wait longer for surgery for a variety of reasons: Fewer qualified doctors, late diagnoses of heart conditions, and capacity issues at hospitals that cannot accommodate all the infants who need surgery. As a result, babies with heart conditions in developing regions of the world are often sicker and weaker when they finally have surgery.

Dr. Eva Marwali, a pediatric cardiac intensivist at the National Cardiovascular Center Harapan Kita in Jakarta, Indonesia sees this happen to babies in her country. She teamed up with Dr. Michael Portman, a cardiologist at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, and in a study out in the Annals of Thoracic surgery, they identified an easy, economical way to speed recovery for babies at her hospital who need lifesaving heart surgery. Read full post »

Dr. Ben Danielson Honored for an Innovative Approach to Caring for Children

Danielson was recognized by the Simms/Mann Institute as a recipient of the 2017 Whole Child Award.

Today, Dr. Ben Danielson, senior medical director of Seattle Children’s Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic (OBCC), was honored by the Simms/Mann Institute as a recipient of the Whole Child Award, a national recognition that honors extraordinary leaders in medicine and education. Launched in 2015, the Whole Child Award is given to individuals who are focused on a whole child approach to caring for children and their families.

On the Pulse sat down with Danielson to talk about this achievement and how OBCC, a community clinic located in Seattle’s Central District that provides medical, dental, mental health and nutrition services to families, approaches caring for the whole child. Read full post »

A Mother’s Intuition Leads to Picture-Perfect Treatment of Eye Cancer

The abnormality in Julia De Vos’ left eye was later identified as retinoblastoma. Julia’s mother, Amanda De Vos, took the photo and was quick to alert the family pediatrician when she noticed the white dot.

Some pictures are worth much more than a thousand words.

Like the picture Amanda De Vos took of her daughter Julia, which helped to identify retinoblastoma, a rare eye cancer that was stopped in its tracks with an innovative treatment at Seattle Children’s.

De Vos, a professional photographer, was reviewing shots she took of her 15-month-old identical twin daughters, Julia and Jemma, when a photo of Julia caught her attention. The image shows an excited toddler in dinosaur pajamas, her open mouth featuring three new bottom teeth.

An off-white glow in Julia’s left eye gave De Vos pause. It was an abnormality De Vos hadn’t seen previously in any of the thousands of pictures she had taken. The pupil in Julia’s right eye had a red dot in it—a common photographic nuisance that results when light from a camera flash reflects off the retina in the back of the eye. Read full post »

New Use of Old Surgical Tool Transforms Brooklyn’s Life

Brooklyn Clasby, now 10 years old, received a Potts shunt at the age of 8.

In February 2010, Jennica Clasby knew something was wrong when her 3-year-old daughter, Brooklyn, said she needed to sit down because her “heart hurt.”

“I thought it was really odd to hear that coming from a 3-year-old,” Clasby said. “I sat her down on my lap, put my hand over her heart and I was terrified to feel that it was practically pounding out of her chest.”

Clasby and her husband Brandon, who lived in Colorado, rushed Brooklyn to the emergency room where they were shocked to learn she was in heart failure. Brooklyn was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension (PH), or high blood pressure in the lungs. PH is a chronic condition that occurs when the muscle in the wall of the blood vessels and arteries in the lungs thickens and cannot properly expand to receive blood coming from the heart. This causes resistance to the heart, which then works harder to pump the blue blood in need of oxygenation into the lungs. Over time, the strain on the heart can cause it to fail.

“Our world was turned upside down,” Clasby said. “It’s incredibly hard to hear that your daughter has an incurable, lifelong disease that will progressively get worse. It changed the way we lived and gave us a new appreciation for life.”

Read full post »

Seattle Children’s Sets GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ Title for DNA Experiment at Groundbreaking for New Research Building

Students from Sunrise Elementary in Puyallup, Washington participate in the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS attempt for most people conducting a DNA isolation experiment simultaneously.

Seattle Children’s Research Institute succeeded in a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS attempt for the most people conducting a DNA isolation experiment simultaneously. The record was set to celebrate the groundbreaking for Seattle Children’s newest pediatric research facility, Building Cure, which will be located in Seattle’s South Lake Union biotech corridor at 1920 Terry Ave. It is scheduled to open in 2019.

The GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title was set by more than 300 people at the building’s future location. Several hundred volunteer participants isolated the DNA of a strawberry simultaneously, including elementary school students from Sunrise Elementary in Puyallup, Washington. Read full post »

Priscilla Lives by a Simple Motto and Doesn’t Let Cerebral Palsy Slow Her Down

Priscilla, 7, has always been encouraged to try new things. Although she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 1 years old, she hasn’t let it slow her down. She lives by the motto: The sky is the limit.

Throughout 7-year-old Priscilla Campos’ life, she’s been empowered by her parents to try new things. Her mother, Shannon Cruz, says their family lives by a simple motto: The sky is the limit.

It’s a lesson Priscilla has taken to heart. She’s always believed she could do anything, and she’s proven she can.

“She reaches for the sky,” said Ruben Campos, Priscilla’s father. “There are no limitations. I always tell her she can do anything, and then she does. She’s incredible.” Read full post »

Ciara Helps Pamper Patients at Seattle Children’s

Lynch posed for a photo with Ciara after getting a makeover. Photo credit: Corky Trewin

Today, patients at Seattle Children’s were pampered thanks to Ciara, who along with her glam squad, surprised children at the hospital with complimentary makeovers.

“Every time I visit Seattle Children’s, I see how strong these children are who are going through such difficult battles,” said Ciara. “I wanted to help make them feel as strong and beautiful as they are to me, and to let them know I’m thinking about them. I often hear that I inspire these kids, but they’re really the ones that inspire me. They are the real superheroes of today.”

Ciara, who often visits Seattle Children’s with her husband, Seahawk’s quarterback Russell Wilson, wanted to organize an event to help make kids at the hospital feel beautiful – both inside and out. And so, for the day, Seattle Children’s was transformed into a beauty salon for “Ciara’s Makeover Monday by Revlon.” Read full post »

How a Genetic Discovery Could Explain Parker’s Mysterious Medical Case

The right side of Parker Walsh’s body and brain are bigger than the left. Doctors at Seattle Children’s Research Institute are studying a genetic mutation that could point to a cause for his condition.

When Parker Walsh flashes his toothy smile, he can get everyone around him grinning as well. That smile has pulled Parker, 21, and his family through a lot of tough times.

Parker was born with a host of medical issues that have impacted his development—a craniofacial abnormality, gastrointestinal issues, neurological delays and speech difficulty. Doctors could not pinpoint a specific cause for his conditions, and offered the best treatments available based on their diagnoses.

Now, doctors at Seattle Children’s Research Institute studying a gene that controls cellular growth have provided clues for what might have contributed to some of Parker’s medical issues, and the information could lead to improved diagnosis and therapies for babies and kids that share Parker’s experience. Read full post »

Doctor Suggests Social Media Detox in the New Year

The New Year is a time to look forward and consider making changes to improve health, wellness and overall happiness. Typical resolutions revolve around being more physically active, eating better, spending quality time with loved ones and breaking bad habits. Dr. Megan Moreno, adolescent medicine specialist and a researcher at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, offers an idea that can help parents and teens free up time to focus on those resolutions or can be a worthy resolution of its own – a social media detox.

“A social media detox is a period of time in which a person steps away from using social media and reflects on the positives and negatives of being connected via social networks,” said Moreno. “Changing up your family’s social media use in the New Year can benefit you in many ways, from freeing up time for making healthy lifestyle changes, to improving your outlook on life.” Read full post »