Leading the charge to develop new, targeted approaches to treat disease, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute investigators have uncovered more of the mechanistic underpinnings of the migratory T cell response, and CHOP announced the inaugural Patricia Brophy Endowed Chair in Neuroblastoma Research to advance innovation into less toxic treatment options for specific cancers. Out in the community, CHOP has teamed up with the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation for the pilot program of its Healthier Together initiative, and researchers are learning how best to help survivors of violence after they are discharged from the hospital.
CHOP Co-authored Study on Child Mortality Tops Most-Read List
Health Affairs, a peer-reviewed journal focused on health policy thought and research, announced its most-read articles of 2018. Topping the list is “Child Mortality In The US and 19 OECD Comparator Nations: A 50-Year Time-Trend Analysis,” co-authored by Christopher Forrest, MD, PhD, pediatrician and academic investigator in childhood obesity research, and Mitchell Maltenfort, PhD, biostatistician, at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and colleagues.
The study, published Jan. 1, 2018, showed the United States has poorer health outcomes than other industrialized nations in spite of greater per capita spending. Based on findings from 2001-2010, the paper recommends that policy interventions focus on the two age groups most at risk for mortality — infants and youth between 15 and 19 years of age.
Learn more by watching Playing Catch-up – How to Address the Lag in reducing U.S. Mortality Rates, a webinar and panel discussion led by Dr. Forrest. You’ll come away with information you can use to identify the underlying causes of mortality in children under age 1 and adolescents 15 to 19 years of age. The panelists discuss major contributing factors driving the lag in U.S. child mortality rates, and they discuss evidence-based policies which should be implemented to address these issues.
Investigators Find Relationship Between Crk Adaptor Proteins and the Integrin LFA-1
In “Crk adaptor proteins mediate actin-dependent T cell migration and mechanosensing induced by the integrin LFA-1,” published in the Dec. 11 issue of Science Signaling, CHOP Research Institute investigators shared the results of their immunology work.
Co-authors Nathan Roy, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow, Tanner Robertson, doctoral candidate, and Janis Burkhardt, PhD, professor, all in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at CHOP Research Institute and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and colleagues wrote about their findings that Crk family adaptor proteins are critical links in the pathways between the activated integrin LFA-1 and cytoskeletal rearrangement in T cells.
The researchers investigated the molecular events that mediate the process through which T cells enter inflamed tissue. Among their findings were that T cells from mice lacking expression of the adaptor protein Crk exhibited defects in phenotypes induced by the integrin lymphocyte function-associated antigen 1 (LFA-1), namely, actin polymerization, leading edge formation, and two-dimensional cell migration.
Their work uncovered more of the mechanistic underpinnings of the migratory T cell response, which may enable future therapeutic control of this process in disease.
Yael Mossé, MD, Named Patricia Brophy Endowed Chair in Pediatric Neuroblastoma Research
Pediatric oncologist and researcher Yael Mossé, MD, director of the Neuroblastoma Development Therapeutics Program at CHOP, has been named the inaugural holder of the Patricia Brophy Endowed Chair in Neuroblastoma Research, established to support the discovery and development of new therapies for patients with neuroblastoma.
Dr. Mossé treats a high volume of patients with high-risk neuroblastoma, one of whom was 8-year-old Alex Scott, founder of Alex’s Lemonade Stand, who died in 2004. Since that time, Dr. Mossé led a breakthrough discovery in identifying the most common neuroblastoma-specific cancer-causing mutation in the anaplastic lymphoma kinase gene. She has subsequently shown that these cancers respond to a targeted therapy she developed that can send the disease into remission.
Patricia “Pat” Brophy, for whom the award is named, was one of Alex’s nurses at CHOP, and the inaugural recipient of the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation Pitcher of Hope Award. She died in 2008 after her own cancer diagnosis. Establishment of this Endowed Chair was announced in June 2018, during Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation’s 15th annual “Lemonade Stand” at CHOP to benefit pediatric cancer research.
“It’s children like Alex who succumb to this awful disease who inspire me every day in the clinic and the lab,” Dr. Mossé said. “This generous funding is critical: We’re moving quickly on new research, and on translating that information into clinical trials of therapies that are more effective, and less toxic for developing young bodies. We’re battling an often treatment-resistant enemy here. But we’re encouraged at every turn by what our patients are teaching us, and believe this research funding will continue to fuel the momentum we’ve achieved in reversing high-risk neuroblastoma in the last few years.”
CHOP and City of Philadelphia Team Up for ‘Healthier Together’
CHOP and the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation (PHDC) have partnered for the new Community Asthma Prevention Program Plus (CAPP+) Home Repairs Program, designed to reduce the impact of unhealthy housing on pediatric asthma outcomes in West Philadelphia neighborhoods.
CAPP+ is the pilot initiative of “Healthier Together,” CHOP's new umbrella initiative focused on health and economic needs, such as hunger, behavioral challenges, and violence, in neighborhoods surrounding the hospital’s campus. Community partnerships like CAPP+ will seek solutions to these poverty-related obstacles to optimal health for kids.
“Healthier Together has a simple vision: to give every child a fair chance at a healthy future,” said Bell at a press conference to announce the initiative. “We are fortunate to live in a city that has many private and public sector change agents who have tremendous expertise. These partners share our commitment to doing the right thing for our most vulnerable children.”
Through a grant to PHDC, CHOP aims to further reduce asthma-related ED visits and hospitalizations by expanding the focus of its award-winning CAPP program to home repairs. For two decades, CAPP community health workers have worked to improve asthma outcomes of children in Philadelphia. They will continue providing home asthma education and environmental intervention, while the PHDC concentrates on remediating asthma triggers in homes such as moisture and mold caused by plumbing leaks, facilitating carpet removal, and eliminating pest infestations to improve air quality.
CAPP+ has identified 10 homes to be part of the pilot initiative. Participants must be enrolled in the CAPP program, have three or more ED visits in a year, reside in the targeted geographic area, and own their home. In addition to fewer ED visits and hospital stays, benchmarks of CAPP+ include fewer missed school days for kids and work for families, and lower health care costs. Through a mutual agreement, PHDC will use minority- and women-owned businesses for home repairs and supplies when possible.
Violence Intervention Study Examines Needs of Patients Following Assault
Rachel K. Myers, PhD, Violence Prevention Initiative Fellow at CHOP Research Institute, and co-authors recently published findings in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence from a study that examined what types of outcomes hospital-based violence intervention programs should seek to achieve for their clients to create safety in the aftermath of violent injury.
Front-line staff members from 22 member programs of the National Network of Hospital-based Violence Intervention Programs (NNHVIP) were asked to identify and prioritize individual-level outcomes they believe clients achieve by participating in an HVIP. The identified outcomes put a spotlight on resiliency-based assets that support healing, and revealed that mental health and coping, social support, and well-being were important indicators of HVIP success. In fact, 17 of the top 25 most highly prioritized outcomes related to psychosocial health. This finding agrees with past research that found the majority of young men of color enrolled in CHOP’s Violence Intervention Program wanted support to access mental health care services following violent injury.
These results highlight the valuable role of HVIPs in helping clients achieve successful recovery to promote safety and overall wellness.
PolicyLab Marks a Milestone
PolicyLab recently gathered champions for children’s health at the “Charting New Frontiers in Children’s Healthy Policy and Practice” forum to celebrate its 10th anniversary of working to achieve optimal health and well-being for children. This Center of Emphasis within CHOP Research Institute is focused on changing programs and policies through interdisciplinary research.
Couldn’t make the forum? Check out this video recap of the event as the Center reflects on its first decade and looks toward the future.
Catch up on our headlines from our Dec. 14 edition of In the News:
- European Commission Approval of Gene Therapy for Inherited Blindness
- Happy 10th Anniversary to Our Center for Autism Research
- Updated ELIANA Data Provides Key Validation for CAR T-cell Therapies
- CHOP Scientists Report Possible Mechanisms Behind Resistance to CAR T-cell Therapy
- CHOP Researchers Share New Findings at 2018 AHA Conference
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