Research

All Articles in the Category ‘Research’

A dedication to pediatric research: The man behind the largest charitable gift in Seattle Children’s history

Jack Rupert MacDonald

Jack Rupert MacDonald

UPDATE: In honor of Jack MacDonald’s $75.04 million legacy gift to Seattle Children’s Research Institute, we will name the Research Institute’s Building 1 in his honor. Effective Jan. 31, the new name of Building 1, which is located in downtown Seattle, will be the Jack R. MacDonald Building. Signage on the building reflecting the new name will be up by the end of this month.

Today, Seattle Children’s announced it has received the single largest charitable gift in its 106-year history, and also the largest known gift to a U.S. children’s hospital for pediatric research. The landmark bequest, a $187.6 million charitable trust from the estate of Jack Rupert MacDonald, was given to Seattle Children’s, the University of Washington (UW) School of Law and The Salvation Army – organizations that held great meaning for Jack.

Each year, the three organizations will receive income earned by the trust. Children’s will receive 40 percent of the yearly income, which in the first year will equate to approximately $3.75 million. MacDonald’s pledge to Children’s was first announced in 2011 as being anonymous.

At Children’s, MacDonald’s legacy will be used to fund pediatric research taking place at Seattle Children’s Research Institute. Jack decided to support research when he learned it was an important priority for the hospital and will support the organization’s quest to find better treatments and cures for childhood disease worldwide.

“Jack’s gift is an inspiration to all of us. It is one of the largest ever to a children’s hospital. And it is the largest single gift in support of pediatric research,” said Doug Picha, President of Seattle Children’s Hospital Foundation and a friend to Jack for many years. “It is transformational not only in what it will do to help us find more cures and better treatments, but also by forcing each of us personally to reflect on the legacy we would like to leave.”

So, you may ask, who was Jack MacDonald? Who was the man behind this incredible gift that will impact so many lives for generations to come?

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Quingo makes gaming fun and charitable, helping fund pediatric research

Screenshot - choose your charityPlaying games for charity may sound too good to be true, but that’s exactly what Brandon Bozzi, Morgan Belford and their Seattle startup Game it Forward had in mind when they created Quingo, a game which benefits six organizations, including Seattle Children’s. Quingo, which combines charitable giving, bingo and trivia, supports Children’s by donating a portion of its revenue to fund hospital specific initiatives, like research.

As research is a primary focus at Children’s, a project was created with Quingo to help exclusively fund pediatric research that could one day lead to better treatments and new cures for childhood diseases.

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Going old school: Researcher encourages walking school bus to prevent childhood obesity

Walking school bus

More than one third of children and adolescents are obese or overweight, and more and more families are coming to Jason Mendoza, MD, MPH, for advice on how to help their kids lose extra pounds. But obesity treatments can be difficult to complete and are often expensive. Mendoza is testing a new approach that aims to prevent obesity using ideas from eras when obesity was uncommon.

“I’m looking at whether getting children to walk or ride their bikes to school can increase children’s physical activity and reduce their risk of obesity,” said Mendoza, a principal investigator in the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and associate professor at the University of Washington.

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The story behind Landon Browne: The 7-year-old who honored his surgeon by dressing up as him for Halloween

Landon Browne and Dr. Jay Rubinstein

During a recent visit to Seattle Children’s, 7-year-old Landon Browne dressed up as his favorite surgeon, Jay Rubinstein, to honor and celebrate him at this Halloween time of year. We suspect you saw the related media coverage, and wanted to share more about Landon, who has captured the public’s interest.

There are landmark moments in every child’s life that a parent likes to document. The first time he rolls over, crawls, stands and walks are among the moments worth noting. But for Alysia and Brendan Browne, the moments they got really excited about for their son, Landon, relate to his hearing.

“When he said, ‘butter’ for the first time, I threw open the front door and yelled, ‘He said, butter!” The neighbors probably thought I was crazy,” Alysia said, with a smile.

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The inner ear may hold a clue in the quest to find the cause of SIDS

Infant ear

Daniel Rubens, MD, is not your average researcher. He’ll tell you for starters, that he’s not technically a researcher, but rather an anesthesiologist. His team is small:  Travis Allen, a nurse anesthetist at Seattle Children’s, volunteers his free time to work alongside Rubens, who is also supported by staff and leaders at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and the University of Washington.

Since 2007, Rubens has spent no more than $100,000 on his research on SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. A big chunk of those funds, $60,000, came from a fundraiser held in Florida by a mother who lost her child to SIDS. She read about Rubens’ research, contacted him out of the blue and wanted to support his efforts.

Rubens’ experience dealing with infants in crisis inspired him to seek an answer to the unsolved mystery of SIDS, and his latest study published in Neuroscience—offers up more clues on the premise that the syndrome may be related to dysfunction within the inner ear. “I was always drawn to the mystery of SIDS,” Rubens said. “I’ve read the literature over the years, and it struck me that there’s so much we don’t know,” he said, when asked what initially piqued his interest.

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Sex, Drugs ‘n Facebook

Facebook homepage

Those three attention-grabbing words can often make parents a bit uneasy when they think about how they relate to their kids. The words are also the title of a new book from Megan Moreno, MD, who heads up the Social Media & Adolescent Health Research Team at Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

Moreno is an adolescent medicine specialist at Seattle Children’s and she sees patients on a regular basis. Her aim, based on her research, is that healthy Internet use will one day be discussed in the same way we tell young people to get enough sleep, to drink in moderation and to eat healthy foods. She even sees it as a topic that will be brought up in the doctor’s office one day. Have you had your vaccinations, talked about safe sex and discussed your Facebook and Twitter habits?

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Results of a parental survey may help predict childhood immunization status

Survey checkbox

Vaccine hesitancy is on the rise. Nationally, it’s an issue, and the non-medical exemption rate continues to increase annually. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4.6 percent of children entering kindergarten in Washington state in 2012 had an exemption, and the figure was 6.1 percent in Illinois and Vermont.

Our Seattle-based team of researchers has been investigating if there’s a valid way of identifying parents who are hesitant enough early on in their child’s life that they will accept fewer immunizations than is recommended. Knowing early whether a parent is hesitant and will under-immunize their child might be helpful to clinicians as they try to understand and lessen a parent’s vaccine concerns.

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All for one and one for all in the battle against childhood cancer

collaborate

It’s 9 a.m. on a recent rainy morning in Seattle. Julie Park, MD, has her shoes drying out by the heater in her office at Seattle Children’s Hospital. She’s on a conference call with doctors and statisticians from Germany, Canada, the U.S. and Europe, and they’re discussing neuroblastoma, the most common solid tumor in children younger than 1 year of age.

Park leads the Neuroblastoma Committee for the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), the world’s largest organization devoted to childhood and adolescent cancer research. COG is supported by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and unites more than 8,000 experts at more than 200 leading children’s hospitals, universities and cancer centers across North America, Australia, New Zealand and Europe.

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Patient voices: Jake beats cancer, starts new life at college

In honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, we will be sharing a series of stories about some of our incredible patients who have overcome cancer or are currently fighting the disease.

In the beginning of June 2012, Jake Steiner was on top of the world. At age 18, he had just graduated high school and was looking forward to working as a camp counselor at the Museum of Flight in Seattle over the summer. He would then be heading off to college at Santa Clara University in the fall. Life was good.

That is, until one week after graduation.

Jake had noticed a pain in his leg and he had a bump on the backside of hip bone that was about the size of his hand. He thought he had just pulled a muscle and a little TLC would take care of it, but his dad took him to a doctor because the bump was so large.

It was then that he got an MRI and received some of the worst news of his life: He was told that the bump was a malignant tumor, and after three weeks, he learned it was Ewing sarcoma. Ewing sarcoma is a bone cancer that mainly affects children and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 20 years old. It’s the second most common bone cancer in children, but only accounts for about 1 percent of all childhood cancers. There are about 200 new diagnoses of the disease in people younger than 20 years old in the U.S. each year.

“I didn’t know what my future was going to hold, but I knew I was not going to be able to go to college in the fall, which really bummed me out,” said Jake. “I was also very scared because I thought I caught it too late and I didn’t know if the cancer had spread. I thought I would die young, and that terrified me.”

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Researchers pinpoint decision-making parts of brain that can affect addiction, ADHD

The brainWhen “Glee” star Cory Monteith died last month from an overdose of heroin and alcohol, his fans were baffled. Monteith, 31, seemed to have everything—a great job, fame and a loving girlfriend and co-star. He had just completed a stint in rehab in April, too. But the pull of addiction is strong and even the smartest people don’t make the best decisions when faced with temptation.

Now, a team led by Susan Ferguson, PhD, from Seattle Children’s Research Institute, and John Neumaier, MD, PhD, from the University of Washington, has used a new technique to identify and learn more about a key reward-based, decision-making part of the brain, the striatum.

The team’s findings have implications for addiction, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. Perhaps one day, with the help of medications targeting this part of the brain, addicts like Monteith can better control their urges and avoid tragic endings.

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