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Pediatric Research Awards, Mood Disorders and Driving, Smart Mouthguards

Published on April 12, 2024 in Cornerstone Blog · Last updated 2 months 1 week ago


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In the News


In research news this week, the Society for Pediatric Research honors two Children's Hospital of Philadelphia physician-scientists, and the American Association for Cancer Research names two up-and-coming investigators as grant recipients. A study out of the Center for Injury Research Prevention investigates the effect of mood disorders in youth and driving licensure, and researchers in the Mitochondrial Medicine Program develop a strategy to capture patient-reported outcomes that results in more personalized treatment approaches. In addition, Flaura Winston, MD, PhD, helps celebrate a science-based radio program's milestone anniversary.

Society for Pediatric Research Honors Two CHOP Physician-Scientists

The Society for Pediatric Research (SPR) announced two CHOP physician-scientists are among the 2024 Abstract Related Awards Recipients.

Scott Jelinek, MD, MPH

Scott Jelinek, MD, MPH

Scott Jelinek, MD, MPH, an attending physician in the Division of Adolescent Medicine, won the 2024 SPR Richard D. Rowe Award for Clinical Research in the well-being and care of LGBTQ+ youth and their families.

His study, "Inclusion and Privacy in Practice: Examination of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Data Collection and Confidentiality Concerns Among LGBTQ+ Adolescents in a Large Pediatric Primary Care Network," was accepted as an oral platform presentation at the 2024 Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting. Dr. Jelinek's findings highlight the necessity for healthcare providers to be acutely aware of the privacy concerns and preferences for electronic data collection among LGBTQ+ youth, advocating for a healthcare system that prioritizes both inclusivity and the safeguarding of sensitive information.

Dr. Jelinek is also an associate fellow with the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania.

Kristan Scott, MD

Kristan Scott, MD

Kristan Scott, MD, a second-year Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Fellow at CHOP, won a 2024 SPR Fellows' Clinical Research Award. His academic interests lie in perinatal health services research and policy with a focus on understanding the drivers of racial and ethnic disparities in maternal and infant morbidity and mortality.

Dr. Scott aims to understand the drivers of postpartum care receipt (or lack thereof) among neonatal intensive care (NICU) parents. Parents of preterm infants face unique stressors such as NICU unit stays that may affect their personal use of healthcare. Whether parents of preterm infants admitted to the NICU unit are at particularly high risk of lacking postpartum care is unknown.

Learn about all the SPR 2024 awards.

AACR Recognizes 2023-2024 Research Grantees

Photo of Kristopher R. Bosse
Kristopher Bosse, MD

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) announced two CHOP researchers are among its newest class of grant recipients.

Kristopher Bosse, MD, assistant professor of Pediatrics at CHOP, received the 2023 AACR-AstraZeneca Career Development Award for Physician-Scientists, in honor of José Baselga. Dr. Bosse's project, "Murine GPC2 CAR T Cells to Define Mechanisms of Immune Escape," will allow his team to define mechanisms of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell resistance in animal models with fully functional immune systems.

"These data, along with results from our ongoing first-in-human phase 1 clinical trial, will enable development of even more effective glypican-2 (GPC2) CAR T cells that can overcome mechanisms that tumors develop to evade these potent therapies," Dr. Bosse said.

The Bosse Laboratory is focused on developing and clinically translating new immunotherapies to the clinic for children with neuroblastoma and other solid tumors. Dr. Bosse's team discovered that the lineage-restricted oncoprotein GPC2 is selectively expressed on the surface of neuroblastomas and essential to neuroblastoma tumorigenesis.

Timothy Spear, MD, PhD, a hematology/oncology fellow in the Maris Lab at CHOP, received the 2023 Friends of the AACR Foundation Early Career Investigator Award.

"I'm grateful for the Friends of the AACR Foundation to dedicate this year's award to pediatric research," Dr. Spear said. "It is often difficult for young investigators to break the funding barrier, and I'm thankful for the opportunity. This award helps accelerate our efforts in developing novel immunotherapies for pediatric cancers."

Dr. Spear and his colleagues are working to develop personalized neoantigen vaccines, to manufacture CAR T cells in vivo, and to create novel humanized and immunocompetent preclinical animal models to demonstrate safety and efficacy of potential new therapies.

The AACR has awarded more than 900 research grants and a total of $138 million since 1993 to support hundreds of scientists devoted to advancing the understanding, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. These grants support researchers in the United States and abroad at every stage of their careers.

Learn about all the AACR grant recipients.

'The Pulse' 10th Anniversary Program Explores Science That's Changed Lives

Flaura Winston, MD, PhD Photo by Daniel Burke Photo and Video

Flaura Winston, MD, PhD Photo by Daniel Burke Photo and Video

Flaura Winston, MD, PhD, participated as a special guest in a live, on-air 10th anniversary celebration of "The Pulse," WHYY's weekly health and science radio program and podcast hosted by Maiken Scott. The milestone event, themed "Science That's Changed Our Lives," included a reception and conversations with scientists whose innovative ideas and work have led to meaningful societal change.

Dr. Winston is the founder of the Center for Injury Research and Prevention (CIRP) at CHOP and director of the National Science Foundation Center for Child Injury and Prevention Studies. Her public health research established the evidence base for crucial injury prevention patents, products, programs, and laws.

Read more about Dr. Winston's research and future directions for CIRP.

Young Adults With Mood Disorders Less Likely to Obtain Driver's License Than Peers

Allison E. Curry, PhD, MPH
Allison Curry, PhD, MPH

CHOP researchers found that teens and young adults with depression, bipolar disorder, and other mood disorders were 30% less likely to obtain their driver's license than their peers without similar disorders. Teens and young adults with mood disorders also experienced a slightly elevated risk of crashing.

"Our results indicate that newly licensed youths with mood disorders have a greater risk of crashing than other young drivers but that this is a manageable risk," said senior study author Allison Curry, PhD, MPH, associate professor of Pediatrics at CIRP. "Our findings point to the need to develop evidence-based training and education for adolescents and young adults with mood disorders who want to drive."

The retrospective cohort study aimed to bridge the gap in the literature on driving and mood disorders in youths since most prior driving studies focused on adults. The study team study used the New Jersey Safety and Health Outcomes (NJ-SHO) Data Warehouse to examine both licensure and driving outcomes among 1,879 adolescents and young adults with mood disorders. This is the first study to utilize a longitudinal cohort with objective outcome measures to report on licensure and driving outcomes for youths with mood disorders. Dr. Curry is the principal investigator for the New Jersey Safety and Health Outcomes (NJ-SHO) Center for Integrated Data.

CIRP has conducted research for several years on the challenges adolescents and young adults with neurodevelopmental differences and mental health conditions face prior to and following licensure. This research provides a scientific foundation for driving safety for different populations and a better understanding of the factors that will help inform evidence-based guidance for families regarding driving readiness and driving instruction.

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Health supported this study.

Learn more in the CHOP news release. The study appears in JAMA Network Open.

Novel Strategy Integrates Patient-Reported Outcomes for Primary Mitochondrial Disease

Marni J. Falk
Marni Falk, MD

Researchers in the Mitochondrial Medicine Program at CHOP developed a method of capturing patient- and caregiver-reported outcomes that will help inform a uniquely tailored treatment strategy, integrating with clinical information from the electronic medical record to provide important information about primary mitochondrial disease.

Adopting this novel strategy into routine clinical practice is useful for rare disorders where clinical symptoms and quality of life may vary widely among patients. This study captured outcomes data at regular intervals through electronic surveys, focusing on quantifying clinical aspects of health that are commonly reported in patients with mitochondrial disease.

"This low-cost, high-yield approach represents a major step forward toward regularly incorporating the patient voice and participation in objective evaluation of their disease progression and response to candidate therapies," said study senior author Marni Falk, MD, attending physician and executive director of the CHOP Mitochondrial Medicine Program.

Laura MacMullen, BA, CCRC

Laura MacMullen, BA, CCRC

Laura E. MacMullen, BA, CCRC, a lead certified clinical research coordinator in the Division of Human Genetics and a clinical research program manager with the Mitochondrial Medicine Program at CHOP, is first author on the study.

Learn more in this CHOP news release. The findings appear in Molecular Genetics and Metabolism.

Minds Matter Concussion Program Aids NFL in Assessment Tool Design

Kristy B. Arbogast
Kristy Arbogast, PhD

Researchers anticipate that the use of smart mouthguards in contact sports could provide a wealth of data to inform the science behind head injuries, paving the way for innovation in injury prevention.

Kristy Arbogast, PhD, research director for the Minds Matter Concussion Program at CHOP, shared her optimism in a Washington Post about the role of smart mouthguards in concussion research and cautioned against their use outside of research studies.

The article covered how World Rugby is pioneering the use of instrumented, or smart, mouthguards during games to identify potential injuries and indicate the need for clinical assessment. While she cautions against relying on wearable technology to trigger a clinical assessment, Dr. Arbogast believes instrumented mouthguards have a useful role in the future of injury prevention.

Dr. Arbogast and the Minds Matter Concussion Program team play a leadership role in the NFL's Engineering Roadmap, helping to set and oversee the implementation of this initiative's research plan. The NFL pledged $60 million over five years beginning in 2016 to improve the understanding of injury prevention in professional football and to create incentives for small businesses, entrepreneurs, innovators, and helmet manufacturers to develop new protective equipment.


Catch up on our headlines from our March 29 In The News:

  • Pilot Study Results Suggest Amino Acid Supplements Potential Option in Concussion Management
  • PolicyLab and Vaccine Education Center Discuss Ways to Increase Vaccine Rates on College Campuses
  • 3D Imaging of ENS Reveals New Features of Hirschsprung Disease
  • CHOP Nurse Scientist Appointed Department Chair at Penn Nursing
  • Philly Spin-In Generates Over $1 Million in Donations for Cardiac Center Research

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