The flourishing partnership between Texas Children’s and Baylor has unlocked groundbreaking discoveries in the treatment of childhood diseases. For the early physician innovators, there was no such thing as boundaries, only endless possibilities.
Dr. Russell J. Blattner guided hospital researches to new discoveries in the study of polio and encephalitis.
From 1958 – 2004, a National Cancer Institute grant helped Dr. Donald J. Fernbach discover the value of cyclophosphamide, which become one of the most effective and widely used chemotherapy agents to treat leukemia and improve survival rates in children.
An NIH grant helped support the construction of the Clinical Research Center at Texas Children’s Hospital, the first clinic in the U.S. to investigate pediatric infectious diseases.
1978 - 1979
Dr. Ralph D. Feigin obtained $1.5 million per year funding from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to support the Children’s Nutrition Research Center (CNRC). The CNRC is the only federal center dedicated to the study of children’s nutrition in the U.S.
Texas Children’s research funding grew exponentially from less than $5 million to nearly $15 million. This extreme growth helped fund the David Center to advance the diagnosis and treatment of immunodeficiency disorders, and the Gordon and Mary Cain Pediatric Neurology Research Foundation, which led to significant advances in the treatment of epilepsy and other childhood neurological disorders.
Dr. Huda Zoghbi identified the defective gene, MECP2, that causes Rett Syndrome, a genetic neurological disease that usually affects young girls.
All of these extraordinary pioneering efforts and the contribution of other bold researchers, helped propel Texas Children’s to the forefront of pediatric research.
The David Clinic
In 2017, the David Clinic will open at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands. The clinic is named in honor of David Vetter, the famous Texas Children's patient from the 1970s known as the "Bubble Boy" who suffered from an immune disease that prevented him from fighting germs.
The David Clinic at Texas Children's new pediatric community hospital in The Woodlands will be an integral part of the David Center and will place experts in primary immunodeficiency in The Woodlands community to ensure that any child affected by the disease receives world class care and diagnosis in their own community. There are also plans to have three expert physicians staffing the clinic with full access to Texas Children's Hospital's diagnostic laboratory to help advance the understanding of children who are likely to have an immunodeficiency.
Learn more about David and one of his Texas Children’s Hospital physicians in this emotional blog post.
Today, Texas Children’s continues its legacy of research through many important endeavors.
Feigin Center – This is the central hub for pediatric research at Texas Children’s.
With more than 600,000 square feet of space, Feigin researchers –representing nearly every pediatric field – have made landmark discoveries and fundamental contributions to the treatment of childhood cancer and blood disorders, cardiogenic disorders, diabetes, immunodeficiency disorders, asthma, and HIV/AIDS, all of which have saved countless children’s lives. Scientists also have learned how to genetically manipulate tumor cells to develop effective cancer vaccines.
Children’s Nutrition Research Center – The CNRC continues to break new ground on the development of innovative therapies to treat pediatric infectious diseases and help define guidelines for maternal, infant and childhood nutrition. For example, scientists have made significant improvements in:
- HIV care with emphasis on prevention of mother-to-infant HIV transmission
- Novel cell and gene therapy treatments for adult and pediatric cancers
- The impact of cytomegalovirus from infancy to adulthood in the largest study of its kind
The Jan and Dan Duncan
Neurological Research Institute®
Since opening in December 2010, researches at the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute (NRI) at Texas Children’s have accelerated the pace of discoveries and the development of potential therapeutic targets to treat numerous neurological disorders from autism and bipolar disorder to epilepsy and Rett syndrome.
Under the visionary leadership of Dr. Huda Zoghbi, the NRI is the world’s first basic research institute to use a multidisciplinary research approach to understand and treat childhood neurological disorders.
Learn more about the NRI “By the Numbers.”