Emory’s Pediatric Research Center Selected as Primary Site for Pediatric Cardiac Research

Last year in August, the Pediatric Research Center of Emory University and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta was selected as the new Pediatric Heart Network (PHN) primary site for clinical research. The PHN was created and funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (an offshoot of the National Institute of Health).

The PHN serves as a cooperative network of pediatric cardiovascular research centers which conducts new clinical studies on children with acquired or congenital heart disease. For this primary research site conducting trials in in Atlanta, William Mahle, M.D., and William Border, M.B.Ch.B., M.P.H., are serving as the Primary Investigators in charge of leading PHN’s research efforts. The Pediatric Heart Network has received much acclaim for conducting the highest quality research in their field.

William Mahle, M.D., already served as the Pediatric Cardiologist and Medical Director of Clinical Research at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (He is also an associate professor of Pediatrics at the Emory University School of Medicine). Dr. Mahle was quite proud to be selected as one of the Primary Investigators for this site. After his appointment, he stated that the decision was recognition of the strong commitment that Children’s Healthcare and Emory have made to supporting further research and developing therapies which can really improve pediatric healthcare.

The Emory-Children’s Pediatric Research Center will function as one of nine other core sites which are spread out across the US and Canada. The PHN has allocated $19.6 million in funding for these core clinical centers, of which Emory and Children’s Healthcare will be co-recipients. The Emory-Children’s program has had a very strong history of successful pediatric research, which has contributed greatly to the ongoing endeavors of PHN (in particular their Single Ventricle Reconstruction trial and the Single Ventricle Reconstruction Extension Study). PHN has given the Emory-Children’s Pediatric Research Center a five-year funding period.

During this time, the site will advance testing on local research initiatives which include a new collaborative program involving Emory University, the Children’s Sibley Heart Center, and the industrial engineering program at Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Border, the other Primary Investigator at the site, has also stated how excited he is to be a part of the Pediatric Heart Network. According to Dr. Border, the collaborative goal of PHN matches the new research initiatives at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. He hopes that if they can build a working community between these highly influential institutions across the country, than they can work together to produce even better results for children with cardiac diseases. (You can also check out some of the other great facilities conducting clinical research trials in Georgia).

Aside from being the new Primary Investigator, Dr. Border is also the Director of Noninvasive Imaging, Medical Director of the Cardiovascular Imaging Research Core (CIRC) at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Sibley Heart Center, and an associate professor at the Emory University School of Medicine. The new research efforts will be conducted under the Center for Clinical Outcomes Research and Public Health and the Center for Cardiovascular Biology.

Both of these centers are part of the Emory-Children’s Pediatric Research Center, but they also include partnerships with the Morehouse School of Medicine and Georgia Institute of Technology. Incredibly, under the leadership of Paul Spearman, M.D., 14 new priority centers have already been identified. Spearman serves as Children’s chief research officer and the vice chair for research in the Emory University Department of Pediatrics.

The new priorities are the Aflac Cancer Center for hematology and oncology; transplant immunology and immune therapeutics; immunology and vaccines; developmental lung biology; cystic fibrosis; pediatric healthcare technology innovation; cardiovascular biology; endothelial biology; autism; nanomedicine; neurosciences; outcomes research and public health; drug discovery; and lastly clinical and translational research.