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Innovative Epilepsy Procedure Offers New Avenue of Treatment to Reduce Seizures

Caitlin with Dr. Stephanie Randle

A cutting-edge procedure for epilepsy at Seattle Children’s, known as responsive neurostimulation (RNS), is offering hope and seizure reduction relief to some patients who are still looking for solutions after exploring other treatment options.

With RNS, a battery-powered device is placed in a patient’s skull to reduce seizures. A neurosurgeon connects thin wires from the device to one or two parts of the brain where a child’s seizures start. When the device senses that a seizure may be starting, it sends a signal to stop it.

Seattle Children’s is one of only a handful of centers across the country to offer this device and the only one in the northwestern U.S. to use this device on a child.

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Seattle Children’s Announces Chief Research Operations Officer

Eric Tham, MD, MS

Seattle Children’s has appointed Dr. Eric Tham as its new senior vice president and chief research operations officer. Tham will focus on research administration, finance, operations and continue broader research leadership, effective immediately. Since 2021, Tham has served as interim senior vice president of Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

“I’m excited to help guide the research division as it continues to grow and tackle big questions around improving child health and health equity,” said Tham. “I look forward to continuing to work with Seattle Children’s leadership to help steer the research division into its next chapter.”

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New Bivalent COVID-19 Booster Shots Are Now Available at Seattle Children’s

Beginning today, Seattle Children’s is offering the new Pfizer COVID-19 bivalent vaccine booster. It will be available to patients, community members and workforce members.

We will begin offering the new bivalent Moderna vaccine booster later this week.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the updated COVID-19 boosters from Pfizer-BioNTech for people ages 12 years and older and from Moderna for people ages 18 years and older.

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Partnering with Biotechs to Save Lives

Dr. David Rawlings, director of Seattle Children’s Center for Immunity and Immunotherapies and a scientific co-founder of GentiBio

Biotechnology start-up GentiBio — a Seattle Children’s Research Institute spin-out — announced a multi-year collaboration with global pharmaceutical company Bristol Myers Squibb, the latest success story in the research institute’s rapid development of therapies and technologies that change children’s lives. Spin-off companies and biotechnology/pharmaceutical industry collaborations are a critical part of accelerating and expanding the reach of these innovations. 

GentiBio is collaborating with Bristol Myers Squibb to develop new engineered regulatory T cell (Treg) therapies to re-establish immune tolerance and repair tissue in patients living with inflammatory bowel diseases, which cause debilitating and life-threatening chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Current therapies are largely focused on systemic anti-inflammatories and broad immunosuppression, which can cause adverse effects and are not curative.  

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Vaccines Are Now Available for Kids Under 5

On June 21, Seattle Children’s became one of the first locations in the country to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to children ages 6 months to 4 years old.

This was a day that Seattle Children’s staff has long worked toward, as Seattle Children’s doctors were also involved clinical trial research for COVID-19 vaccines for this age group. For children in the 6 months – 4-year-old age group, our COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial spots were highly sought after, with thousands of applicants for approximately 100 slots at Seattle Children’s.

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What Parents Should Know About the Current Baby Formula Shortage

A confluence of factors has led to a nationwide baby formula shortage. Dr. Dale Lee, medical director of clinical nutrition at Seattle Children’s, shared some advice for parents with The Seattle Times.

Here are some key takeaways from Lee:

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Meet Dr. André Dick – A Beacon for Those Who Follow

April marks National Donate Life Month, a time devoted to spreading awareness about the tremendous need for increasing the number of organ, eye and tissue donors. According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), more than 100,000 people in the U.S. need a lifesaving organ.

One organ and tissue donor can save or enhance more than 75 lives. Anyone can be a potential donor. Registering with the national registry and sharing your decision with your family ensures that your wishes are carried out. You can also be a living donor by choosing to give an organ or part of an organ to someone in need through organ donation.

Seattle Children’s has one of the best and busiest pediatric transplant centers in the nation, working across a six-state region to provide lifesaving organ transplants for patients. Seattle Children’s Transplant Center is one of the few in the world that performs living donor liver transplants, is one of the top five kidney transplant centers in the U.S. and also has some of the best survival outcomes in the nation for pediatric liver, kidney and heart transplants.

Dr. André Dick, senior vice president and surgeon-in-chief, who also serves as surgical director of the pediatric kidney transplant program, took time this month to talk about his journey to where he is now, what he does in his role at Seattle Children’s, and his priorities for the years ahead. Read full post »

Seattle Children’s Therapeutics Announces Expansive Collaboration with Cellevolve to Advance Research for Childhood Brain Cancers

Seattle Children’s Therapeutics, a venture at Seattle Children’s, bringing cutting edge, curative technologies and therapies to defeat pediatric cancer and other diseases that impact children, today announced a collaboration with Cellevolve Bio, a development and commercialization company focused on cell therapies, aimed at developing and commercializing a suite of novel multiplex chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) for the treatment of pediatric central nervous system (CNS) malignancies.

Under the exclusive agreement, Seattle Children’s Therapeutics will conduct early-stage and pre-clinical discovery, and Phase 1 clinical trial development. Cellevolve will lead Phase 2 and subsequent clinical development with key Seattle Children’s Therapeutics involvement. Read full post »

A New Neurosurgical Procedure is Bringing Promising Seizure Relief to Some Epilepsy Patients

Epilepsy can be very difficult to treat – and some families explore a range of options seeking relief from seizures for a child with epilepsy looking for a solution. For 14-year-old Taylor Johnson, a procedure known as deep brain stimulation (DBS) resulted in her experiencing a completely new life and the significant seizure relief she and her family have been trying to find.

In deep brain stimulation, a small battery-powered device sends low-level electrical signals through the brain. The device is similar to a pacemaker in that it uses electrical pulses to help regulate brain function. It can be programmed remotely to help regulate brain function and reduce seizures.

During surgery, a neurosurgeon places two thin electrical wires into deep brain tissue. The wires are connected to a small battery that can be controlled remotely to stimulate the area of the brain called the thalamus. The thalamus is the central point for relaying signals to other parts of the brain. Read full post »

Seattle Children’s Looks to Become “Center of Excellence” In Gene and Cell Therapy

Recent breakthroughs in cell and gene therapy research within Seattle Children’s Research Division, which includes both Seattle Children’s Research Institute and Seattle Children’s Therapeutics, has contributed to the creation of new technologies, new companies and – researchers hope –will lead to a range of new treatments and cures for pediatric diseases down the line.

Cell and gene therapy has become an increasingly popular form of therapeutic treatment and research in recent years.

“It has really become a third pillar of therapeutic treatment behind small molecules and monoclonal antibodies – cell therapy is here to stay and it’s growing exponentially as more capabilities are developed,” said Dr. Brian Phillips, director of the Intellectual Property Core at Seattle Children’s, which aims to help Seattle Children’s researchers and clinicians commercialize their intellectual property. Read full post »