Current Research

Center for Infant Pulmonary Disorders at Children’s Mercy Hospitals

The MISSION of the Center for Infant Pulmonary Disorders (CIPD) is to improve the diagnosis, treatment and outcomes for infants with congenital or acquired lung disorders. Most, but by no means all, of these infants are born extremely preterm and develop an often debilitating lung disorder called bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). The CIPD’s long term GOAL is to save lives, reduce suffering, and maximize use of resources. Our faculty seek to speed the application of individualized diagnostic and treatment methods for BPD and other disorders which arise soon after birth but produce childhood long and sometimes lifelong impairment in lung function.

The CIPD is fortunate to have a generous endowment established to help support our research. Proceeds from the Cooper Connor Endowed Fund for Pulmonary Research are directed specifically to the CIPD. This support has helped, especially during the past five years, for us to participate as one of eighteen sites in the Neonatal Research Network. Without the Cooper Connor Endowment funding, we would not have had the resources to fully participate in these or other studies. Many studies conducted by the Network are aimed at improving lung outcomes of very preterm infants. All of the complications associated with prematurity are decreasing in incidence-with the notable exception of BPD. As survival rates for immature infants have improved, the incidence and prevalence of this disorder have continued to increase, not decrease. This finding focuses the attention of investigators associated with the CIPD as we look for ways to reduce the medical, emotional, and financial burdens of the infants and their families.

Studies being supported by the CIPD include the following: a clinical trial testing the role of hydrocortisone for severe BPD; a clinical trial of “extra” doses of surfactant for reducing or preventing BPD; a clinical trial individualizing the dosing of the steroid dexamethasone for amelioration of severe BPD. In addition, our faculty are involved in studies testing medications to reduce elevated lung blood vessel pressure in full term infants, a sometimes fatal condition.

New faculty are bringing increased depth and breadth of knowledge and skills in clinical research supported by the CIPD. In the past two years, Alain Cuna, MD; Tamorah Lewis, MD, PhD; and Venkatesh Sampath, MD, have been recruited to our team of neonatologists, pediatric pulmonologists, data analysts, and clinical research coordinators that comprise the CIPD. Each of these individuals brings new expertise in genomics, in regulation of gene activity, and in pharmacogenomics. Each also supplements current expertise in data analysis and data management, allowing more precise linkage of risks of developing lung disorders to their outcomes. Coupled with the CIPD Director, William E. Truog, MD, our clinical research coordinators and other individuals at Children’s Mercy-Kansas City, we commit to being the best possible stewards of the resources available to accelerate success in the struggle against devastating lung disorders.

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