Neurodevelopmental disabilities often involve problems in learning, attention, inappropriate behaviors, sleep, and social skills. A significant number of patients do not respond well to existing treatments for neurodevelopmental disabilities, and treatments for many other developmental disorders remain to be developed or adequately evaluated. Untreated developmental disabilities such as autism spectrum disorders, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and intellectual disability (formerly referred to as mental retardation) are highly challenging to families, educational systems, and caregivers.
Children's Hospital is coordinating a newly established collaborative organization, the Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Research Network, that will bring together experts in neurodevelopmental disabilities to provide greater opportunities to investigate the effectiveness of new therapies, and more rapidly translate basic science findings into eventual clinical treatments. "Two of our largest challenges are how to best individualize treatments to our patients, and how to develop more effective interventions for these conditions," says Nathan Blum, MD, chair of the network's executive committee and the director of the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities program at Children's Hospital.
The initial three-year, $200,000 per year grant from the Maternal Child Health Bureau will connect 12 leading pediatric programs to facilitate multi-site studies that include many participants to provide a large enough sample size to properly evaluate new treatments as they are developed. The network will also provide opportunities to apply recent advances in genetics and neuroimaging to neurodevelopmental disorders. In particular, genetic studies such as those conducted at Children's Hospital’s Center for Applied Genomics and other facilities are identifying biochemical pathways that are altered in neurodevelopmental conditions. Applying the findings of these discoveries to clinical trials may lead to better diagnostic tools for early diagnosis and possibly earlier interventions.
CHOP Research investigators will manage the Network Coordinating Center and will work with other network members at Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Boston University Medical Center; Children’s Hospital, Boston; Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center; Hasbro Children's Hospital; Lucile Packard Children's Hospital; Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital; the University of Arkansas Medical Center; the University of California at Davis MIND Institute; the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center; and the Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital.Read the full press release.