Children’s Hospital Colorado Launches Multi-Disciplinary Research Institute

June 21, 2024
Last year, Children’s Hospital Colorado launched a Precision Medicine Institute to allow experts to more efficiently integrate precision medicine into care

Children’s Hospital Colorado, in partnership with University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, has launched the Colorado Child Health Research Institute, enabling more than 500 physician-scientists, Ph.D.s, nurse-scientists and other investigators to collaborate across disciplines to make research discoveries.

The Institute will seek to enhance administrative and operational efficiencies for investigators so they can focus on science, with the goal of more rapid translation of discoveries to patients and families. The institute also offers access to the most advanced clinical care through more than 1,100 clinical research studies and trials.

“Medical advances happen faster here because we’ve broken down silos and embraced an intentional culture of multi-disciplinary collaboration and teamwork, which enables discovery to thrive,” said Ronald J. Sokol, M.D., inaugural chief scientific officer of the Institute and the Bruce and Bev Wagner Family Endowed Chair for Child Health Research, in a statement.

The Institute brings together experts, peers and colleagues from Children's Colorado and six health professional schools at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus: School of Medicine, College of Nursing, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Dental Medicine, the Colorado School of Public Health and the Graduate School.

The institute has eight major functions: Research strategy and administration, research operations administration, research education, regulatory affairs, research business services, internal grant awards, clinical research contracting and research informatics and data science. It will work with research teams from dozens of specialties, programs and centers on campus, touching all aspects of child health. 

An example of work already accomplished includes brain tumor research. With the largest group of pediatric physician-scientists in North America focused on childhood brain tumors, Children’s Colorado created an international registry of data and tissue samples for collaboration with scientists around the world to identify how tumors develop and what new therapies can be developed to treat them.

Another example includes cystic fibrosis research.  Experts on campus were selected by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to lead clinical trials of treatments targeting the abnormal protein pathways of CF and have proved the safety and effectiveness of new drugs now available to a range of patients, from adolescents to infants with CF. Researchers on the medical campus have helped move CF from a fatal childhood disease to a condition managed into adulthood.

In 2023, Children’s Hospital Colorado launched a Precision Medicine Institute to allow experts to more efficiently integrate precision medicine into care provided to patients throughout the hospital. The Precision Medicine Institute integrates big data, including genomic data, into each individual patient's care plan to determine the best treatment for each patient.

Children’s Colorado specialists are developing novel precision medicine treatments for numerous childhood diseases such as pediatric cancer, rare neurodegenerative diseases, cystic fibrosis, cardiomyopathy, neuromuscular conditions, genetic and metabolic disease,   and many others.


“Accurate genetic diagnoses form the foundation of precision medicine, and we see genomics and next-generation diagnostics driving more precise treatment and care plans,” said Alisa Gaskell, Ph.D.,  scientific director of the Precision Medicine Institute, in a statement. “While today we can only diagnose some patients, new technologies and analytical approaches will allow us to understand how genetic makeup affects the course of illness, and that knowledge will help us transform healthcare centered around the unique features of each patient.”

Historically, underrepresented groups have been missing from large-scale genomic data sets, and increased genomic testing at Children’s Colorado will allow for improved health equity across patient populations, the Institute said.

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