Children's Memorial Research Center: News 

Dr. Sunjay Kaushal 
Sunjay Kaushal, MD, PhD

Study shows promise that heart damage in children could be repaired by using stem cells from patient's own heart 

January 27, 2011 - Visionaries in the field of cardiac therapeutics have long looked to the future when a damaged heart could be rebuilt or repaired by using one’s own heart cells. A study published in the February issue of Circulation, a scientific journal of the American Heart Association, shows that heart stem cells from children with congenital heart disease were able to rebuild the damaged heart in the laboratory.

Sunjay Kaushal, MD, PhD, surgeon in the Division of Cardiovascular-Thoracic Surgery at Children's Memorial Hospital and assistant professor of surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, who headed the study, believes these results show great promise for the growing number of children with congenital heart problems. With this potential therapy option these children may avoid the need for a heart transplant.

"Due to the advances in surgical and medical therapies, many children born with cardiomyopathy or other congenital heart defects are living longer but may eventually succumb to heart failure,” said Kaushal. “This project has generated important pre-clinical laboratory data showing that we may be able to use the patient’s own heart stem cells to rebuild their hearts, allowing these children to potentially live longer and have more productive lives.”

Read the full press release. 

Hardy CR 2010 figure 

Study suggests another embryonic link to cancer 

December 15, 2010 - Metastatic melanoma is a highly aggressive skin cancer associated with poor clinical outcome. One key feature is the expression of a cellular type resembling embryonic stem cells in its molecular profile. Both stem cells and aggressive melanoma cells participate in bidirectional communication with the microenvironment, which can profoundly influence cell behavior.

During early vertebrate development, the expression of Nodal, an embryonic substance that governs the pattern and position of tissue development, is specifically regulated by a Notch signaling pathway, a receptor protein involved in many instances of choice of cell fate in animal development. Cancer cells can exploit normally dormant embryonic pathways to promote tumor development. The reactivation of Nodal in metastatic melanoma has previously been shown to regulate the aggressive behavior of these tumor cells.

In a study published in the December 15 issue of Cancer Research, the laboratory of Mary J.C. Hendrix hypothesized that cross-talk between the Notch and Nodal pathways can explain the reactivation of Nodal in aggressive metastatic melanoma cells. Here they demonstrate a molecular link between Notch and Nodal signaling in aggressive melanoma, via the activity of a Nodal enhancer element. They show a precise correlation between Notch4 and Nodal expression in multiple aggressive cell lines, but not poorly aggressive cell lines.

Read the full press release. 


 InTouch Fall 2010 

The Fall 2010 issue of InTouch with Research at Children's Memorial Research Center is available.  InTouch is the quarterly newsletter for the research center.  InTouch Archive.

Children's Memorial Hospital publications 

On a monthly basis, we compile a list of journal publications by Children's Memorial Hospital authors. View the list (September 2010 to the present).

Scientific Membership Application - Now Online

Children’s Memorial Research Center has begun its latest membership drive and is now accepting membership applications for its six different programs and 10 centers through the following web based application form. After completing this form, please send a copy of your latest NIH Biosketch or a brief resumé to Peg Rainey at: .

Research Center Halsted building 

About Children's Memorial Research Center

Established in 1986, Children's Memorial Research Center is the research arm of Children's Memorial Hospital, the pediatric teaching hospital for Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. The research center is also one the interdisciplinary research centers and institutes of the Feinberg School, where principal investigators who are part of the research center are full-time faculty members.

Over 200 investigators, 500 staff and numerous trainees contribute to the six Programs in Basic Research and Translational Medicine. In addition, there are ten Centers of Excellence.

Our History

The Medical Research Institute Council and the MRIC PavilionResearch Center Halsted building

The Medical Research Institute Council (MRIC) was established in 1951 as a private, independent initiative to raise funds for innovative biomedical research. In 1991, the MRIC became affiliated with Children's Memorial, and since that time has raised more than $45 million. The generous support of the MRIC has been responsible for construction of Phase II of the Children's Memorial Research Center laboratory building on Halsted Street in Lincoln Park, endowed professorships for: the president and scientific director, the Neurobiology Program, the Cancer Biology and Epigenomics Program, and the Bernard L. Mirkin Research Scholar. MRIC funding has led to advanced investigations in cancer, heart disease, genetics, microbiology and neonatology.

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The Six Research Programs

To encourage a synergy of ideas among investigators in various disciplines, the research center's work is organized around six interdisciplinary research programs:

  1. Cancer Biology and Epigenomics 
    Four locations 

    Children's Memorial Research Center
    Four Locations

  2. Smith Child Health Research 
  3. Developmental Biology 
  4. Clinical and Translational Research 
  5. Human Molecular Genetics  
  6. Neurobiology 

The Ten Centers of Excellence

  1. Chicago City-wide FOCIS Center of Excellence 
  2. Clinical Trials Research 
  3. Community Partnerships & Health Promotion 
  4. Falk Brain Tumor Center 
  5. HIV/AIDS Research 
  6. Intestinal and Liver Inflammation Research
  7. Obesity Management and Prevention    
  8. Neuroblastoma Research
  9. Pediatric Critical Illness & Injury 
  10. Pediatric Practice Research Group 

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