By Daniel Webster, dWeb.News Publisher
| Source: Nicklaus Children’s Hospital
MIAMI, Oct. 14, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Biobank this summer enrolled its 500th participant, a significant milestone for the biorepository, founded in 2019 to address imbalances in genomic research, with the goal of enhancing individualized care for children in South Florida and beyond. The Biobank is part the hospital’s Personalized Medicine Initiative. It aims to use the latest genomic science to accelerate treatment for pediatric conditions. Side effects are minimized and benefits are maximized.
“Enrolling more than 500 participants in the Biobank is a great success for Nicklaus Children’s Hospital,” Principal Investigator, Dr. Paula Espinal said. It is thrilling and rewarding for our patients and partners to see the tangible benefits of our efforts. It furthers our drive to expand access to even more sites and even more people in the years to come.”
Dr. Espinal noted, “Biobanking is key in generating biomedical research and improved medical care. This will allow patients and physicians to gain powerful, actionable insights into how to navigate medical care. In developing new drugs and other technologies, we want to ensure that the genetic makeup of our community is taken into account. “
Doctors diagnose genetic disorders in patients by comparing their DNA to “reference genomes,” based on the pooling of genomes that have already been sequenced. The majority of participants in genomic research today are European-born, with a large underrepresentation of Black, Hispanic and Latino peoples. This presents a problem in the application of genomics to patient care in a multi-ethnic society like South Florida.
The Biobank was founded to help address this gap through a $7 million gift from Sanford Health. The Nicklaus Children’s Biobank will collect samples from diverse participants. This is to reflect the diversity of South Florida as well as the increasing diversity of American children. Personalized medicine will be more effective for young patients if we can understand genetic variants and disease patterns.
Nicklaus Children’s Hospital made a giant leap in embracing the genomic revolution in medical care in 2018, becoming the first and only pediatric hospital in the southeastern U.S. to implement personalize medicine at the bedside with the founding of its Personalized Medicine Initiative. Research that validates the benefits of whole-genome sequencing and rapid whole-genome sequencing to help children with undiagnosed disorders is another highlight of the program.
Since its opening, the Nicklaus Children’s Biobank has collaborated with leading U.S. research entities. Most recently it has worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Boston Children’s Hospital to better understand the link between COVID-19 and multisystem inflammatory disorder in children (MIS-C) and to assess why children are less often affected by COVID-19, while viruses such as influenza cause severe pediatric illness.
“The success of population-based studies depends on the willingness of large numbers of diverse individuals to grant researchers access to detailed medical and genetic information,” said Dr. Espinal. “The goal of the Nicklaus Children’s Biobank is to encourage and facilitate focused research in the pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment of patients in our diverse South Florida community.”
For the future, Nicklaus Children’s Biobank is focused on continuing to increase participant enrollments and cultivating strong partnerships, as well as expanding to more underserved populations. The Nicklaus Children’s Biobank aims to increase participation in research and educate more South Floridians about personalized medicine, genomics, and biobanking.
Dr. Espinal is the principal investigator of the Nicklaus Children’s Biobank and Manager of the Personalized Medicine Research Program. Steven Melnick, MD, is the Nicklaus Children’s Biobank’s Medical Director and Chief of the Department of Pathology and Laboratories.
About Nicklaus Children’s Hospital
Founded in 1950 by Variety Clubs International, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital is South Florida’s only licensed specialty hospital exclusively for children, with nearly 800 attending physicians and more than 475 pediatric subspecialists. The 309-bed hospital, known as Miami Children’s Hospital from 1983 through 2014, is renowned for excellence in all aspects of pediatric medicine with many specialty programs routinely ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report since 2008. It is home to the largest program of pediatric teaching in the southeastern United States. The hospital has also been named an American Nurses Credentialing Center Magnet facility (ANCC), the highest honor bestowed on a nursing professional. For more information, please visit www.nicklauschildrens.org.
Rachel Bixby Nicklaus Children's Hospital 305-898-9165 firstname.lastname@example.org
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