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Sports Medicine Research Award, Concussion Research Collaboration, Stephan Grupp, PAS Meeting, Type 1.5 Diabetes

Published on May 19, 2017 in Cornerstone Blog · Last updated 3 months ago


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Our latest research news roundup carries a hint of summer and exciting new beginnings: As more than 70 Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia experts traveled to sunny California for the annual Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) Meeting, back at home, sports medicine research ramped up with new investigations into how we can protect kid’s health on (and off) the field. Keep reading for more of this week’s headlines, and learn how our researchers are staying active at the center line of pediatric research.

American Medical Society of Sports Medicine Honors Dr. Christina Master

This week in San Diego, sports medicine physicians from across the nation huddled up for the 26th Annual Meeting of the American Medical Society of Sports Medicine (AMSSM). The conference gathered clinicians whose treatment expertise ranged from adolescent athletes all the way up to the NFL level for a single purpose: To discuss the most challenging topics in sports medicine and present awards to those conducting innovative research.

Our own Christina Master, MD, a sports medicine pediatrician at CHOP, received the “Best Overall Research Award” from the AMSSM for her work, “The Use of Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) for Assessing Cognitive Workload after Concussion.” Dr. Master has an impressive history of never staying in the neutral zone to advance brain injury research (as you’ll see in our next sections). She helped develop the Concussion Care for Kids: Minds Matter program at CHOP, a program designed to help parents, coaches, and school staff recognize the signs of concussion in children and teens. Dr. Master also recently presented her research on policies that guide the participation of adolescents in organized sports at April’s PAS Meeting, and she leads research projects aimed at reducing the incidence and impact of concussions.

Learn more about the AMSSM Meeting in the organization’s press release.

CHOP & Penn Engineering Team Up for Concussion Research

Our teamwork game is strong in a newly announced collaboration between Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Penn Engineering. With a $4.5 million award from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Dr. Masters will act as co-investigator alongside Kristy Arbogast, PhD, co-scientific director of the Center for Injury Research Prevention at CHOP, and Susan Margulies, PhD, professor of bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. Over the course of five years, the investigators will develop novel assessment tools that incorporate objective metrics such as activity, balance, eye tracking, and cerebral blood flow to estimate when young athletes can safely return to the game after a concussion. The research will involve observing adolescents ages 14 to 18 and pigs (in a separate but parallel study, of course). This dual approach will allow the researchers to replicate what they observe on the sports field in children in a controlled, animal-study environment. Read more about the exciting collaboration in the official CHOP press release.

Over 70 CHOP Researchers Convene at PAS Meeting

Held just a few hundred miles up the California coast from the AMSSM conference, the 2017 PAS Meeting attracted thousands of international pediatricians and healthcare providers to San Francisco for the purpose of sharing their latest pediatric healthcare research. CHOP has a history of active engagement at the annual PAS meetings, and 2017 was no exception: This year’s conference featured presentations from over 70 CHOP clinicians with topics ranging from how U.S. Army family deployment might impact the risk for maltreatment (presented by Doug Strane, MPH, clinical research associate in PolicyLab), to the developing role of telemedicine in healthcare (presented by John Chuo, MD, attending neonatologist), to how we can improve analgesia administration for children with autism in the emergency department (presented by Eron Friedlaender, MD, attending physician) – and much, much more.

A handful of CHOP investigators also received prestigious awards presented at the meeting. Sagori Mukhopadhyay, MD, MMSc, attending neonatologist at CHOP Newborn Care at Pennsylvania Hospital accepted the Society for Pediatric Research Physician Scientist award, while Aletha Akers, MD, medical director of Adolescent Gynecology Consultative Services in the division of Adolescent Medicine, received the Society for Pediatric Research New Member Outstanding Science Award. Barbara Schmidt, MD, attending neonatologist at CHOP Newborn Care at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, took home the William A. Silverman Leadership Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Perinatal Pediatrics. Congratulations to all!

Learn more about the PAS meeting in our preview post, as well as the CHOP press release.

Stephan Grupp Named Chief of Cellular Therapy and Transplant in Oncology Division

Back on the home field at CHOP, Stephan Grupp, MD, director of our Cancer Immunotherapy program, was announced as the new Chief of the Section of Cellular Therapy and Transplant in the division of Oncology at CHOP. Dr. Grupp’s contributions to pediatric oncology are both meaningful and momentous: Alongside his role as a pediatric oncologist specializing in aggressive neuroblastoma, Dr. Grupp’s research lab has been devoted for over two decades to developing molecularly-targeted and cell-based therapies to treat leukemia and solid tumors. More recently, he played a pivotal role in the development of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy for children and adolescents with relapsed and refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Dr. Grupp’s lab led the first pediatric trial of CAR T-cells in a CHOP patient in 2012, and since then, more than 150 children have been treated with the immunotherapy. Dr. Grupp is also lead investigator of studies that explored the safety and efficacy of CTL019, a CAR T-cell product currently under FDA priority review, in pediatric and young adult ALL patients.

“Dr. Grupp was the top candidate for this crucial position, and will now expand an already outstanding program that is revolutionizing cell therapy for children with resistant relapsed or refractory ALL and pioneering new strategies for stem cell transplantation,” stated Stephen Hunger, MD, chief of the division of Oncology at CHOP in a press release.

Learn more about Dr. Grupp’s research on Cornerstone and Bench to Bedside.

Newly Discovered Genetic Influences in Type 1.5 Diabetes May Herald Better Treatment

While diabetes is most commonly thought of in its two major forms, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, the more physicians know about its less common subtypes – such as latent autoimmune diabetes (LADA) – the more accurately they can treat and diagnose a patient. In a new study published in BMC Medicine, Struan F.A. Grant, PhD,  a genomics researcher at CHOP, and his fellow researchers did just that: Focused specifically on LADA, an adult-onset subtype also commonly known as Type 1.5 Diabetes, they wanted to explore whether a patient with the condition more closely resembled patients with Type 1 or 2 when it came to their genetic profiles. (Currently, Type 1.5 Diabetes is nicknamed so because of its seeming similarities in clinical features to both Type 1 and 2.)

In a genetic analysis of 978 LADA patients, the researchers discovered that the DNA profiles of LADA patients had more similarities with Type 1 patients than Type 2. In fact, one genetic variant commonly found in Type 2 diabetes was not present in LADA patients at all. In a press release, Dr. Grant stated that the findings suggest, “some proportion of patients diagnosed as adults with type 2 diabetes may actually have late-onset type 1 diabetes.”

“Correctly diagnosing subtypes of diabetes is important because it affects how physicians manage a patient’s disease,” Dr. Grant also stated. “If patients are misdiagnosed with the wrong type of diabetes, they may not receive the most effective medication.”

Learn the details of the study in our press release.


On Cornerstone, we summarized the exciting events at our Scientific Symposium, took a quick snapshot of research into what might determine a quicker response time to bedside alarms, and learned five new things about what may contribute to stress resilience.

Here are our headlines from our May 5 edition of In the News:

  • Douglas Wallace, PhD Honored With Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science
  • Dr. Paul Offit, MD Marches for Science
  • Extra-Uterine Support Device Gains Traction In Mainstream Media
  • CHOP Experts Weigh In On New Bullying Statistics
  • Violence Prevention Initiative Wins Hospital Charitable Services Award

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