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Research Impact

Choosing research brings hope for the future

“Research matters because cancer is hard and I want the experience to be less awful for future families,” says Elsie’s mom Lynsey.

Children's Mercy patient, Elsie, is smiling while sitting on a stool in an exam room. She is wearing a K-State cheerleading uniform.
Elsie, who is receiving treatment for ALL, is participating in cancer research to find answers for all children.

When Elsie had just turned three, she was admitted to the Children’s Mercy PICU with anemia. A few days later, after her port placement and initial procedures, her family found out that she had ALL - acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

It was devastating and life changing news.

As a patient at Children’s Mercy, Elsie has access to and participates in Children’s Oncology Group trials. The Children’s Oncology Group has played a critical role in transforming childhood cancer from a virtually incurable disease 50 years ago to one with a combined 5-year survival rate of 80% today.

It is a privilege to be able to participate in research that so many have made possible, and affect treatment in a way that hopefully leads to better outcomes for future families going through this.

Elsie’s mom, Lynsey

Thanks to philanthropic investment in research from community champions like you, the vast majority of children that participate in clinical trials with a new diagnosis of cancer are offered a phase three trial with proven, cutting-edge treatments.

“Understanding how necessary studies are to improve treatment, Elsie’s involvement in research is part of our education and update to our family and friends that are following along with her treatment,” says Lynsey.

Elsie’s been in treatment for a year now. She remains resilient and fun and the same Elsie that she’s been her whole life.

“I don’t think that there is anything that could dull Elsie’s sparkle,” says Lynsey.

Your investment in research ensures children get access to the very best treatment science has to offer now. It also accelerates better treatments and cures for families in the future.

Families like Elsie’s are participating in research that your support makes possible to find answers for children.

Watch Elsie's story

Unlocking healthy futures for all children

With your support, physicians and scientists at Children’s Mercy are working together to find medical discoveries through research and innovation that will change the face of pediatric health care and bring answers to patients and families in our community and around the world. Today, there are nearly 1,000 active research studies underway at Children’s Mercy. Thank you for joining us, making the following pioneering work possible and helping children like Elsie.

Two icons: one of an amoebae and one of a double helix strand.

Emerging infections

Building on nearly two decades of infectious disease research, a new area of emphasis (AOE) at the Children’s Mercy Research Institute will focus on emerging pathogens and infections. The aim is to get ahead of infectious diseases in order to protect the health of children.

Blazing a trail in genetic cancer testing for all children, investigators at the Children’s Mercy Research Institute have developed a genetic test for all children newly diagnosed with cancer or those who experience a relapse of their disease. The test - available free of charge to Children’s Mercy patients - allows researchers and physicians to better understand treatment options for a child’s cancer, their chance of survival and hereditary cancer risk factors for the patient and their family.

Two icons: one of pills and one of a microscope.


Leveraging the largest pediatric clinical pharmacology program in North America and nationally-recognized expertise in genomic medicine, the GOLDILOKs® PRISM study is focused on bringing precision dosing of antidepressant medications for the rapidly growing number of teens who are experiencing depression and anxiety.

Children's Mercy patient, Celia. She has a trach tube, is smiling and playing with a toy.

Genomic Answers for Kids diagnosed Celia

Children’s Mercy is now home to the world’s most advanced system for rare disease diagnosis. With philanthropic support, Genomic Answers for Kids (GA4K) has rapidly enrolled 5,583 families, analyzed 25,317 genomes and discovered 1,602 diagnoses. Using the foundational expertise developed through this research program, the genomic team is now making cutting-edge 5-base sequencing available to critically ill patients at Children’s Mercy — the first hospital in the U.S. to do so.

Read Celia's story.