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Our Research

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Advancing personalized pediatric care through innovative research

About Our Research Shriners Children's is committed to the pursuit of seminal, cutting-edge discoveries that result in new knowledge and the ongoing improvement of therapeutic treatments, quality of care and provided outcomes to our patients and their families.

Today’s Research is Tomorrow’s Patient Care

We stay at the forefront of pediatric research to provide high-quality, innovative clinical care to children. Our research aligns with our healthcare system’s clinical strengths by continually creating tools and building partnerships Through these actions and scientific breakthroughs, we raise Shriners Children's clinical research profile around the world.

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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Speaker 1:

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.

A Big Vision Founded on Humble Beginnings

What began as a small research effort with a budget of $12,000 is now a sophisticated multimillion-dollar program with international recognition. Over the years, our researchers have made significant breakthroughs in many of our our areas of specialty care – including burn care, congenital neuromuscular disorders, craniofacial conditions, orthopedics, spine care and sports medicine.

We're breaking ground in some of the most innovative areas of health care, including genetics and motion analysis. This work advances our ability to provide precision care and allows us to develop more effective, personalized treatment plans for our patients and treatment for children around the world. Our research team is changing how we provide care, through the evolution of the scientific discovery in our laboratories into new effective medical treatments.

To optimize any treatment, we make it specific to an individual – that’s the long-term goal for everybody, Shriners Children's included.
Marc Lalande, Ph.D., Vice President, Research, Shriners Children's

Advancing Precision Care Through Collaboration

Precision care is the future of medicine. It focuses on a patient's unique characteristics, including genetics and lifestyle, to develop personalized treatment plans for optimal results. Finding more advanced ways to provide precision care is the goal of every Shriners Children's research project.

To accomplish this goal requires a deeper understanding of the unique genetic traits of our patients and their family members, as genetics plays a role in the development of almost all diseases. Understanding the genetic causes of a disease will help us find more effective treatment options and perhaps allow us to reduce or eliminate the root causes of a disease in future generations.

In 2017, we launched our Genomics Institute Laboratory. Founded by our Vice President of Research, Marc Lalande, Ph.D., and operated by our Director of Research, Kamran Shazand, Ph.D., the Genomics Institute is involved in a number of ambitious pediatric genetic research collaborations with partners that include Georgia Tech, Jackson Laboratory, Howard University and Illumina Inc. We are working together to uncover major breakthroughs in pediatric precision care.

Other current research includes wearable and voice recognition devices for orthopedic and spine care patients, as well as motion analysis research for pediatric rehabilitation.

Funding the Future of Pediatric Research

Each year, Shriners Children's provides approximately $20M in funding for innovative research projects across the Shriner’s Children’s system. A portion of this funding goes toward shared facilities and training fellowships for our academic partners and industry collaborators.

If you or someone you know is interested in obtaining additional information related to our research, funding or partnering on a research initiative, please contact our research department.

Research at Shriners Children's

Research is one of the pillars of our mission. What began as a small research effort is now a multi-million dollar sophisticated program, involving peer review of grant applicati
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Fran Farley, MD:
Research is one of the pillars of our mission. What began as a small research effort is now a multi-million dollar sophisticated program, involving peer review of grant applications and recognized around the world.

Fran Farley, MD:
Over the years, our researchers have made major significant breakthroughs in all four of our service lines, improving the care and quality of life for millions of children with these conditions.

Marc Lalande, PhD:
If we advance research, we're going to improve the care that we give our kids, whether it's discovering new drugs, new ways to do surgery, new bracing, that's the goal, is to use that information to do precision medicine, that is to tailor treatments and therapies and improvements to individual kids that we see in our system.

Fran Farley, MD:
Shriners Children's funds innovative research projects, special shared facilities and training fellowships. Today, our research efforts are focused on translational research; I.E. bench-to-bedside and bedside-to-bench research and regenerative medicine, which has the potential to provide countless ways to treat, reduce, or eliminate long-term causes of many of the conditions our patients cope with.

Fran Farley, MD:
We also continue to promote clinical research in which we examine new treatment modalities, as well as outcomes associated with treatment, in order to continuously improve the clinical treatment and care of our patients.

Eric C. Liao, MD, PhD, FACS:
Whenever we think of a clinical problem or scientific problem and we want to collaborate, I can just walk down a hall and knock on the door and the specialists, in whatever field, is abound in our area and we can work on projects together.

Eric C. Liao, MD, PhD, FACS:
So the talent pool here is so high that we're able to put together these projects to then really make a difference.

Marc Lalande, PhD:
We work hand-in-hand with these academic institutions that are going to facilitate and accelerate the research that we do.

Fran Farley, MD:
Relationships like those with Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, or Oregon Health Sciences University, Washington University St. Louis, Temple University, The University of California, Davis, The University of Cincinnati, The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, and others, help us meet our goals of improving clinical practice and pursuing fundamental scientific theories.

Fran Farley, MD:
Learn about our innovative approach to medicine and our internationally recognized researchers. I truly believe there isn't a healthcare system out there like ours.
Researcher in the genomics laboratory

Shriners Children's Genomics Institute Laboratory

The Shriners Children’s Genomics Institute Laboratory is driven to sequence 5,000 genomes yearly.
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Motion Analysis Research Program at Shriners Children's

Learn more about the Motion Analysis Research Program at Shriners Children's
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