Pediatrics

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Research

Indiana University School of Medicine Pediatric Hematology/Oncology faculty at the Riley Children’s Cancer Center are fully integrated as a comprehensive service line with a mission to be a world-class academic health care leader for children with cancer and blood disorders. Since 1924, Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health has been the only comprehensive children’s hospital in the State of Indiana, providing the most advanced care possible for pediatric patients.

The Riley Children’s Cancer Center treats 76 percent of all new pediatric cancer diagnoses in Indiana and sees an average of 250 new cancer patients each year. Faculty pediatricians at this center offer the latest in treatment for all pediatric cancers as well as local access to a variety of investigational treatments under the Children’s Oncology Group, Indiana University School of Medicine investigator-initiated trials and the Pediatric Precision Genomics Program. The location of Riley Hospital on the IU School of Medicine Indianapolis campus provides a rich environment to enable translational researchers to stretch the limits of current scientific knowledge to promote improvements in child health on both national and international levels.

Leading-Edge Research Expertise

The Riley Children’s Cancer Center is the only Children’s Oncology Group (COG) center in Indiana that is part of the Phase 1 and Pilot Consortium as well as an overall top 5 accrual site for COG. This team is also a member of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium, National Experimental Therapeutics Consortium, the NEXT Consortium and the BMT Clinical Trials Network (BMT-CTN), allowing for early access to clinical trials and newly developed cancer treatments and research. The Section of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology is also affiliated with the Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, a designated NCI Cancer Center which also offers clinical trials to young adults through the National Clinical Trials Network.

Research by IU School of Medicine Pediatric Hematology and Oncology faculty as well as nationally and internationally known collaborators led to the first pediatric Specialized Programs of Research (SPORE) ever funded by the National Cancer Institute. Moreover, Precision Genomics research conducted here led to an NIH programmatic grant aimed at identifying biomarkers that predict the efficacy and toxicity of chemotherapies for children with cancer to optimize treatment of individual pediatric patients. Personalized medicine permeates Pediatric Oncology, implementing CLIA-approved Next-Generation Sequencing-based diagnostic platforms to drive patient care and promote the design of innovative research and future pediatric clinical trials.

Basic and Translational Research

Translational research is primarily conducted in the Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research and the Health Information and Translational Sciences group. Work in these collaborative centers focus on both discovery basic research and translational studies, which seek to rapidly move basic or bench research findings into the clinical setting. The research programs range from studies of fundamental biologic principles utilizing the most sophisticated molecular biologic techniques to evaluations of new therapeutic strategies, as well as community engagement. Through research, this pediatric specialty team offers the latest advances in treating a multitude of pediatric diseases and their complications aimed at optimizing care of children.

Pediatric faculty research programs have achieved national recognition with an outstanding record for attaining peer-reviewed, external research funding. The Department of Pediatrics innovative, clinical, translational and informatics approach is the key to establishing the model for implementing a precision medicine approach aimed at treating and curing children with the most aggressive cancers. This cutting-edge clinical and research approach is critical to moving this field forward to improve treatment for life-threatening cancers.