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Research at Northern California


Anyone who has known a child born with a congenital disorder, paralyzed in an accident or challenged by a complex medical condition knows that hope and healing are inseparable. The dream that scientific breakthroughs will give doctors the tools and medicines needed to cure disease is a real one. At Shriners Hospitals for Children – Northern California, David Pleasure, M.D., Director of Research, leads doctors and scientists as they work collaboratively to find new ways to heal children with complex medical needs. Research studies are headquartered in the Institute of Pediatric Regenerative Medicine (IPRM), a joint project of Shriners Hospitals for Children and the University of California, Davis School of Medicine. Located inside the Northern California Shriners Hospital, the IPRM is home to an international team of scientists devoted to bringing discoveries from the research laboratory to the bedside.
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David Pleasure, MD:

Shriners Northern California has a number of different clinical programs; one in burns, one in orthopedics, one in spinal cord and one in general surgery. The research side of things makes an effort to cover those areas as well. Our research is aimed at improving the care of kids with all of those.

Diana Farmer, MD:

The most exciting thing about being a surgeon scientist is that we can bring the bedside to the bench and the bench to the bedside all of the time. We see the problems in real time that need to be solved, and we take them back to our research labs and work on them immediately. That is one of the great things about being a translational scientist, as we call it.

Loren Davidson, MD:

The exciting areas of research for spinal cord injury include stem cells, regenerating neural tissue, and also electrical stimulation to the spinal cord in areas below the level of injury. Historically, we had thought that electrical stimulation below the level of injury, late after the injury, really wouldn't have much meaningful impact, meaning it wasn't possible to have much change in neurologic function a year or more after injury. We're finding that we need to rethink that because we're actually able to see patients with spinal cord injury regain function years after what we thought was a now permanent chronic condition.

David Greenhalgh, MD:

A lot of the research that the entire burn program at Shriners really advanced how we survive after burns and how people do, not only survive, but progress to as normal life as possible has been incredible.

Lewis Wentworth:

As a result of the research that's done by the Shriners Hospitals, we can provide a better service to our patients who are our children. They're our kids.

David Pleasure, MD:

So I think we have a catalytic function. We want to have a worldwide impact, not just an impact within the Shriners system.