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Federal grant supports advances in infant heart disease at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Under a new federal initiative to foster "bench to bedside" studies, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia has received a five-year grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) for a coordinated research program in the causes and treatments of heart disease in children. Children's Hospital will receive $3.8 million in the first year of the grant, with the Hospital's five-year total estimated at more than $19 million.

Children's Hospital is one of four centers nationwide that the NHLBI has designated a Specialized Center of Clinically Oriented Research (SCCOR) in Pediatric Heart Development and Disease. The Institute's SCCOR program is a new initiative designed to speed the process by which advances in basic scientific knowledge are translated into innovative treatments for patients.

Pediatric cardiologist Robert J. Levy, M.D., is the principal investigator of the SCCOR program at Children's Hospital, entitled, "Genetic Mechanisms in Pediatric Heart Disease." The SCCOR award builds on an existing, very robust pediatric cardiology program at the hospital. The Cardiac Center at Children's Hospital is among the nation's largest and most comprehensive clinical programs in pediatric cardiology, cardiac surgery and cardiac anesthesia. The Cardiac Center's research program has become a major focal point both nationally and internationally for investigating the genetic basis of congenital heart disease.

"Over the past decade, investigators at Children's Hospital have made a series of discoveries supporting the hypothesis that congenital heart abnormalities are caused by gene defects," said Dr. Levy. "The new SCCOR grant will seek to transform our fundamental hypothesis into a translational approach that yields practical treatments."

Congenital heart abnormalities, which occur in approximately one in 100 live births, are the largest contributor to deaths from birth defects. Although advances in medical and sur
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Contact: John Ascenzi
Ascenzi@email.chop.edu
267-426-6055
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
17-Feb-2004


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