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Renovations at Riley Hospital for Children Will Boost Pediatric Clinical Research

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A grant of nearly $8.5 million to the Indiana University School of Medicine will enable the renovation of a former research floor of the Clarian Health hospital into a state-of-the-art facility for conducting clinical research trials that are designed for children.

The IU grant is one of 146 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act construction awards, totaling $1 billion, to construct, repair and renovate scientific research laboratories and related facilities across the country. The grants were announced here by U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins, along with IU President Michael A. McRobbie and IU School of Medicine Dean D. Craig Brater.

The grant from the National Center for Research Resources of the NIH, for $8,386,919, will enable the IU School of Medicine to transform a former research floor of Riley Hospital into the pediatric clinical research center. The project comes as the NIH and the Food and Drug Administration, recognizing that children are underrepresented in clinical research, are encouraging investigators to include more children in clinical trials.

“Indiana University is deeply grateful to the National Institutes of Health for this Recovery Act award to the IU School of Medicine,” said President McRobbie. “This award will greatly impact the future of pediatric research conducted at Riley Hospital for Children. It will provide IU School of Medicine researchers with the facilities and resources they need to conduct path-breaking research into disorders that affect the health and lives of so many of our nation’s children.”

“The Children’s Health and Evaluation Facility will enable us to conduct studies that will improve health care for countless children in the future,” said Dr. Brater. “For example, most drugs and diagnostics are tested in adults – but children aren’t just little adults. They respond to therapeutics differently than their older counterparts, and this facility will give us the ability to understand those differences.”

After renovations are completed in late 2012, the 18,500-square-foot center will house laboratory, bio-storage, office and other research-related space specifically designed to be flexible and accommodate the growing emphasis on collaborations between basic and clinical researchers and among researchers at different institutions. The facility will enable researchers to conduct comprehensive phenotyping, which is the use of many state-of-the-art research techniques to identify more clearly how genetic versus environmental factors contribute to the appearance and ongoing manifestations of a disease.