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Shriners Children's Innovative Research

Research Making A Difference

Conducting innovative research that will improve the quality of care and quality of life of children and families is part of the mission of Shriners Children's.
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Conducting innovative research that will improve both the quality of care and quality of life of children and families is part of the mission of Shriners Children's. What began more than 40 years ago as a small effort with a $12,000 budget has become a strong, respected research program, especially in the areas of genetics and musculoskeletal conditions, severe burns and spinal cord injuries with a multimillion dollar annual budget.

Over time, our researchers have made landmark discoveries and advances that make a real difference in treatments and in the lives of the children who depend on us. Including, artificial skin and improved wound healing techniques for severe burns. Refining the use of functional electrical stimulation to help some children with spinal cord injuries, as well as those with cerebral palsy to stand, walk and use their hands more effectively. Elaboration of a treatment for OI that involves infusion therapy and has become a standard of care. This allows physicians to quickly predict the rate of the child's growth and immediately make decisions about the patient's care plan. Discovery of a protein, biomarker CXM, which mirrors the child's rate of bone growth.

Building on our success in transforming treatment and lives through research, our strategic plan emphasizes creating tools and developing affiliations that align with our clinical goals and raise the profile of our research program.

The Shriners Children's Genomics Institute continues its mission to perform DNA sequencing of samples from our patients and their families. Our Mexico City hospital is now included in this effort, which enhances our data and possibilities. The availability of advanced DNA sequencing to our medical and scientific staff is driving new areas of clinical research and inspiring collaborative efforts. Recently funding genomics related projects include studies of genetics and cerebral palsy, genetic links to opioid efficacy in patients with burns and genetic links to facial asymmetry.

Shriners Children's is an internationally recognized leader in clinical motion analysis. In the motion analysis center's high speed cameras, reflective markers, force platforms, and muscle sensors combined to record and measure how a child with a mobility impairment is moving. Which allows care teams to create more accurate individualized treatment plans for our patients.

Our researchers and engineers are collaborating with universities and others on new technologies in motion analysis that use markerless camera systems that provide similar information with significantly less time and staff. In addition, these systems are portable, potentially allowing us to bring motion analysis to more kids in more places, a major goal of Shriners Children's. We are also exploring wearable sensors that patients can wear in a suit throughout the day, this will allow us to monitor joint motion and activity levels, providing a way to capture how a patient truly walks during the day. Additionally, we are looking at using virtual reality and games to measure the outcomes of upper extremity surgeries. With these games, a surgeon can determine whether the patient has a better ability to reach for objects in their immediate space.

We are proud of the difference our research has made in treatment protocols and in the lives of children worldwide, and look forward to continuing and expanding our efforts.