Children’s Mercy has a long history of leadership in neonatal research and clinical care. The hospital’s expertise in this area was reaffirmed earlier this year when Children’s Mercy, in conjunction with Truman Medical Center and the University of Missouri-Kansas City, received a grant totaling approximately $1.5 million over five years from the prestigious Eunice Kennedy Shriver NICHD Neonatal Research Network.
The NICHD Neonatal Research Network centers perform clinical research to seek ways to improve the outcomes of both term and preterm high-risk infants. The Children's Mercy-Truman-UMKC Center, is one of only 18 NIH-funded Neonatal Research Network centers in the nation, and the only one in Missouri or Kansas.
Led by William Truog, MD, Sosland Chair in Neonatal Research at Children’s Mercy and Professor and Associate Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the UMKC School of Medicine, the Center supports clinical and translational research across numerous specialties in conjunction with the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Elizabeth J. Ferrell Fetal Health Center at Children’s Mercy, the Special Care Nursery at Truman Medical Center, and the UMKC Department of Obstetrics.
“We have a track record, a multi-year history, of successfully performing significant clinical research studies in the nursery, coexisting with and complementing overall excellent clinical care,” says Dr. Truog. “Our participation in this network gives infants access to innovative diagnostic and therapeutic interventions and medicines that would be hard to get otherwise.”
The Children’s Mercy Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is the only level IIIc nursery within a 250 mile radius. Leadership in studies of surfactant, nitric oxide and ECMO has helped the hospital develop a reputation for providing advanced neonatal care, and is one of the reasons why the Children’s Mercy neonatology program is ranked among the best in the country by U.S. News and World Report.
Howard Kilbride, MD, Neonatology Division Director, and Eugenio Pallotto, MD, NICU Medical Director, are co-investigators with Dr. Truog on the NICHD grant and both have a wealth of experience in leading and participating in clinical research. In 2008, the Center for Infant Pulmonary Disorders was formed to further strengthen the hospital’s focus on evaluating, treating and investigating the complexities of lung injury in premature and full-term newborns requiring medical intervention.
Clinical research currently underway at Children’s Mercy includes a sponsored trial of combined exogenous surfactant and inhaled nitric oxide compared to inhaled nitric oxide alone in very preterm infants at very high risk for developing severe broncho-pulmonary dysplasia. Dr. Truog serves on the national steering committee for this multi-center trial, which builds upon pilot work completed at Children’s Mercy and five other locations.
Upcoming studies within the Center include Phase 2 trials of promising medications for full-term and preterm infants with evolving pulmonary disorders, and supporting pulmonary follow-up studies of infants previously enrolled in the earlier nitric oxide trial, as these children are nearing their teenage years.
“It is part of our mission, our obligation, our ethical mandate to better understand mechanisms of disease and treatment to reduce infant morbidity and mortality, and promote healthy outcomes for both today’s and tomorrow’s children,” says Dr. Truog.
For more information about neonatology services and research, call (816) 234-3591.