In The News: Self-Driving Cars; Mother-Infant Dyad; Families’ Health Insurance; One Drug, Two Bone Diseases; Proteomic Dataset; Cancer Patients Quit Tobacco

Jul 12 2019

In The News: Self-Driving Cars; Mother-Infant Dyad; Families’ Health Insurance; One Drug, Two Bone Diseases; Proteomic Dataset; Cancer Patients Quit Tobacco

The Fourth of July fireworks may be over, but sparks are still sizzling (along with the weather) here at the Research Institute as we celebrate our researchers’ published work. Take a look at who’s been in the press lately. This week we’re covering the decision factors behind allowing children to ride alone in self-driving cars, commentary on improving perinatal care in the United States, and why private sector working families are turning to Medicaid and CHIP for health coverage. 

Would You Let Your Child Ride Alone in a Self-Driving Vehicle?

With autonomous vehicles (AVs) slowly driving their way into our lives, CHOP researchers set out to see how parents feel about having their children ride in AVs — alone. Patrice Tremoulet, PhD, a human factors scientist at CHOP’s Center for Child Injury Prevention Studies (CChIPS), shared these parental decision-making considerations in a study published in Human Factors

The results showed parents would require two-way audio communication and prefer video feeds of vehicle interiors, seatbelt checks, automatic locking, secure passenger identification, and remote access to vehicle information. Parents cited convenience as the greatest benefit. Their greatest concern: fear that AVs could not protect passengers during unplanned trip interruptions.

“While our study was exploratory, and had a relatively small sample size, we believe that our results should be used to guide additional research efforts that will enable society to better prepare for unaccompanied child passengers in AVs,” Dr. Tremoulet said. “This research can be used to inform both vehicle design and the development of regulations, policies, and societal infrastructure to enable safe child transport via AVs.”

Learn more in the Research in Action blog.

Mother-Infant Dyad Could be Key to Perinatal Care

Sara Handley, MD, attending neonatologist at CHOP, expressed her view on the regionalization of care and the maternal-infant dyad disconnect in a July online edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Dr. Handley noted how the large number of adverse maternal outcomes (mortality and morbidity), higher infant mortality, and preterm birth rates, sadly reveal that the United States lags behind other countries when it comes to perinatal health. She emphasized how “current research has rarely considered the healthcare needs and outcomes of the mother-infant dyad as a single entity; therefore, data to inform efforts to develop comprehensive, regionalized perinatal care delivery systems are limited.” Dr. Handley suggested research should include the mother-infant dyad as a single entity — “that optimal guidelines and policies in perinatal care should not just reflect the mother or the infant, but define care for the maternal-infant dyad as a whole.”

To read the entire article go to JAMA.

Private Sector Working Families Turn to Medicaid, CHIP for Dependent Coverage

A national study by PolicyLab researchers published in Health Affairs, reported a growing migration of working families from employer-sponsored (private sector) insurance to Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which offer low- or no-cost, comprehensive and child-specific plans, for their children. The authors’ aim was to find out where these parents worked and if that impacted their children’s likelihood of having public insurance.

David Rubin, MD, MSCE, study co-author, pediatrician, and co-director of PolicyLab at CHOP, discussed the results in an opinion piece published in The Hill, including the most surprising finding: “Our study showed it’s actually parents in the largest companies who are running toward Medicaid and CHIP. In fact, by 2016, one in three children whose parents were employed by large private companies were covered by Medicaid or CHIP, up 50 percent from 2008.”

The study co-authors concluded, “To maintain high pediatric insurance coverage rates, substantial policy efforts will be needed in the coming years to ensure the continued accessibility of affordable pediatric health insurance coverage to working families, whether from public, employer-sponsored, or other private insurance markets.”

Learn more on the PolicyLab blog.

Two Rare Pediatric Bone Diseases May Be Treated With Same Drug

At the International Conference on Children’s Bone Health in Salzburg, Austria, Maurizio Pacifici, PhD, director of Orthopaedic Research at CHOP, presented his findings leading to the identification of the drug palovarotene, as a therapeutic for fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) and multiple osteochondroma (MO).  

His team’s laboratory studies with animal models have revealed a protein signaling pathway disrupted in FOP is also altered in MO, although the two diseases are caused by mutations in different genes. In both FOP and MO (also known as hereditary multiple exostoses (HME), abnormal processes eventually interfere with skeletal growth and function, and cause deformities, chronic pain, joint movement impediment, and loss of quality of life. No approved drug treatment currently exists for these severe and disabling bone diseases.  

The findings have led to ongoing testing of the signal-altering drug in clinical trials for both FOP and MO patients.

See CHOP News to learn more.

Collaborative Pediatric Brain Tumor Pilot Study Releases Proteomic Dataset

The National Cancer Institute’s Office of Cancer Clinical Proteomics Research (OCCPR) released a proteomic dataset from the Clinical Proteomic Tumor Analysis Consortium (CPTAC) and Children’s Brain Tumor Tissue Consortium (CBTTC) brain tumor pilot study, which includes more than 200 samples of pediatric brain tumors, representing seven different subtypes of tumors. Combining proteomic data and genomic data, also known as the study of proteogenomics, will provide a more comprehensive look at the biology of brain tumors in children.

Henry Rodriguez, PhD, director of OCCPR which administrates the CPTAC program, and Adam Resnick, PhD, research scientist at CHOP and scientific co-chair of CBTTC, along with Brian Rood MD, from Children’s National Health System, together seized the opportunity to work in partnership on this first-of-its-kind pilot study, making the first steps toward finding targeted therapeutic solutions for pediatric brain tumors using proteogenomics and making that research openly and rapidly available to the public.

See NCI’s press release to learn more.

Tools Aid Doctors’ Efforts in Helping Cancer Patients Quit Tobacco 

A published study, based on researchers’ clinical experience with Penn Medicine’s Tobacco Use Treatment Service (TUTS), showed a simple set of decision-support tools combined with institutional buy-in can help increase the number of cancer patients who engage in treatment to help them quit tobacco and kick the habit for good. TUTS systematically identifies smokers through electronic health records, provides personalized and persuasive advice to quit smoking, and facilitates referrals to evidence-based smoking cessation treatments, including counseling and FDA-approved medication for tobacco dependence.

“Seeing a high number of clinicians from two different specialties use this tool indicates a level of institutional support that has proven critical to the successful launch of our program,” said lead author Brian Jenssen, MD, MSHP, assistant professor of Pediatrics and primary care pediatrician at CHOP.

See Penn Medicine News to learn more. The Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network published the study.

ICYMI

Catch up on our headlines from our last edition of In the News:

  • Parental Support Crucial for Autistic Adolescents to Drive
  • Epilepsy Foundation Announces Epilepsy Learning Healthcare System 
  • TODAY Study Links Youth-onset Type 2 Diabetes and Later Complications 
  • Screening Tools Determine Pediatric Patients’ Well-being
  • Douglas Wallace Honored for Outstanding Contributions in Mitochondrial Research 
  • Gut Microbiota Regulate Obesity Through MicroRNA

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