The coming decade is poised for an explosion of discoveries in neuroscience. Our growing understanding of the brain and nervous system has spurred many opportunities to improve diagnosis and treatment for children diagnosed with or at risk for diseases ranging from autism to dyslexia, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and epilepsy.
Boston Children’s is focused on translating lab research from idea to application and market. Our tools include advanced, very high-resolution neuroimaging revealing the brain’s circuitry, a specialized mouse lab, stem cell studies and zebrafish models for drug discovery.
Diagnostics and Prognostics
Accurate, sensitive and minimally -invasive tools for detecting and monitoring disease can help diagnose disease early—when it’s most treatable—track patients over time and help select the right treatment at the right time. Molecular, imaging and other studies of disease biology are opening the door to improved methods of diagnosis and a means for assessing a patients' prognosis before, during and after treatment.
Boston Children's physicians and scientists bring a unique mix of clinical and biological expertise to the search for diagnostic and prognostic technologies for diseases of children and adults
Drug Medical Device Discovery
Children are not small adults. Their growing bodies have different physiologic and metabolic requirements, necessitating a different perspective on safety and efficacy in drug and device development. With the largest research enterprise at a pediatric hospital in the United States, unique patient populations and access to extensive engineering, scientific and technological resources, Boston Children's takes a collaborative approach to device and drug development that puts children first.
The cost of sequencing is dropping precipitously, lowering barriers to widespread use of genetics and genomics in research and by the bedside and bringing new revelations about the relationship between genes, genetic alterations, health and disease. Genetic data offer a valuable window into disease biology and, potentially, new treatments.
However, translating that information into medical knowledge has proven difficult. Boston Children’s initiatives include robust efforts in gene discovery that touch on a broad swath of common and rare diseases and leadership in efforts to set standards for the clinical use of genomic information.
Molecular Cellular Medicine
Understanding how disease unfolds not just in our cells, but in the molecular “talk” within and between cells, is critical for being able to model disease and discover pathways that could be targeted with new treatments.
At Boston Children’s, molecular and cellular medicine underlies work in every part of the hospital and in the research enterprise. Our areas of expertise include immunologic disorders, inflammatory illnesses, infectious disease and cancer.
“Rare” diseases, when taken together, aren't rare at all: They affect 10 percent of the world’s population. More importantly, they hold lessons for doctors, researchers and patients trying to understand more common conditions, and they increasingly are providing a launch pad for treatments that could benefit larger numbers of patients. New technologies are enabling us to find causes for many rare, previously undiagnosed diseases and allowing us to test new approaches to treating them.
Stem Cell Regenerative Medicine
Stem cell research is simultaneously revealing the cellular roots of degenerative diseases and putting researchers on the path to improved diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic tools. With collaborative research programs cutting across several fields and disease areas, Boston Children's is at the forefront of efforts to unlock stem cell biology and develop innovative treatments that harness these cells' regenerative potential.