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Science & Discovery

New treatment for RSV

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a leading cause of hospitalizations in infants and kept Lurie Children’s neonatal intensive care unit busy over the past fall. William Muller, MD, PhD, Scientific Director of Clinical and Community Trials, has helped identify the first potential immunization against RSV with a single dose providing safe protection across the entire RSV season. The immunization has been found highly effective in the general infant population in a Phase 3 Trial. The results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Improving survival for children in liver failure

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases awarded $17 million to Estella M. Alonso, MD, to oversee a large research study on immunosuppression therapy in children with acute liver failure. Dr. Alonso is the Medical Director of the Siragusa Transplant Center at Lurie Children’s and holds the Sally Burnett Searle Professorship in Pediatric Transplantation. The study’s main objective is to identify a therapy that will improve survival and reduce the need for liver transplantation in children with acute liver failure.

Redefining cardiovascular health

Cardiologist Amanda Marma Perak, MD, MSCI, FAHA, FACC, headed the first study to assess cardiovascular health in the United States utilizing the American Heart Association’s new scoring system. Dr. Marma Perak is the pediatric expert for the simultaneously published American Heart Association Presidential Advisory that redefines the concept of Cardiac Vascular Health (CVH) through new metrics. Dr. Marma Perak’s research highlights how the new measures of CVH can aid clinicians and scientists to track changes with more precision, allowing them to intervene earlier to guide children on a healthier path to good CVH into adulthood.

Investigating neurodegeneration

Yongchao Ma, PhD, Children’s Research Fund Professor in Neurobiology, recently received a $3.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. The five-year grant will fund work investigating the regulation of neuroinflammation and cell death induced by mitochondrial DNA. The work has broad implications for brain development and neurodegenerative diseases like spinal muscular atrophy, the leading genetic cause of infant mortality, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, the most common motor neuron disease in adults.

Testing a brain tumor vaccine

Ashley Plant-Fox, MD, the A.M. Khokhar Research Scholar, from Lurie Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, is leading a phase I/II clinical trial for a novel off-the-shelf vaccine for the treatment of highly aggressive and difficult-to-treat brain tumors – diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) and diffuse midline glioma (DMG). Lurie Children’s will be the lead site, with enrolling sites including Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Children's Hospital Orange County, and Alberta Children's.

Research Statistics


active studies


in external funding, a 21 percent increase over FY21