Promising research at Chicago area children’s hospitals

Each year Chicago area children’s hospitals conduct clinical trials and research projects in the hope of uncovering new treatments and answers for illness, health and developmental issues children face.

Spinal Cord Injury and Quality of Life Study

This project will examine psychosocial outcomes among youth with spinal cord injury and their primary caregivers. Specifically, this study is assessing levels of community participation, health-related quality of life, anxiety, depression and coping among children with SCI, as well as anxiety, depression and coping among their caregivers.

How to participate: Participants should be between 1 and 18 years old and have been injured for at least one year. Contact Sara J. Klaas, (773) 385-5448 or email

Natural History of Osteogenesis Imperfecta

Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) is a congenital disease that causes extremely weak bones. This longitudinal study involves collecting and analyzing information about past medical history, current medical history and overall health of people who have OI. Enrollment of children with OI can help reveal treatable problems early. Enrollment of adults as well as children will help uncover issues previously not known to be associated with OI and about long-term effects of treatments.

How to participate: Shriners is one of six U.S. centers enrolling children and adults into this study. People of all ages and all types of OI are needed. Study participants are required to visit Shriners, or another participating center, once a year for five years. Each person will receive an extensive annual physical exam, including various diagnostic studies. Contact Angela Caudill, (773) 622-5400 ext. 5271 or email

Nationwide Children’s Study

Dr. Daniel Johnson is part of a nationwide team of researchers trying to see how the environment affects growing children. The National Children’s Study will take soil, air and water samples from homes and neighborhoods nationwide. At least 4,000 of those children will come from the Chicagoland area. Johnson and the other researchers will track these children for 21 years.

How to participate: The study is enrolling women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant soon. Call (866) 315-7124 or visit the National Children’s Study online at

Sleep Disorders in Children

Dr. Leila Kheirandish-Gozal is investigating how poor sleep in children can affect the cardiovascular system. Her sleep research team is looking for evidence that sleep disorders potentially lead to heart attacks, diabetes and other chronic conditions later in life. They are also watching the sleep patterns of healthy weight and overweight children, looking for evidence of a molecular mechanism triggered by poor sleep that interrupts the child’s metabolism or encourages weight gain.

How to participate: Any family with a child struggling with poor sleep may contact the Pediatric Sleep Medicine Clinic, (773) 702-1242.

Treating Neuroblastoma

Dr. Susan Cohn is working on developing just the right combination of treatments to beat neuroblastoma, the most common cancer in infants. Her research is building off the groundbreaking study she led with other Children’s Oncology Group physicians last year, which found that children treated with immunotherapy after a stem cell transplant had a 20 percent increase in disease-free survival.

How to participate: Clinical trials are ongoing, testing a number of new medicines in children who have failed conventional treatment. For any child with newly diagnosed neuroblastoma, or who has relapsed after treatment, and is interested in the trials, call (773) 702-6808.

Food Allergy Study

Thirty years ago, food allergy was extremely rare. Today, 4.3 million U.S. children suffer from this potentially life-threatening condition. Dr. Xiaoban Wang and researchers hope to find answers to the causes of food allergies, how they can be predicted and prevented, and treatments.

How to participate: Eligible families in Chicago and suburbs should have at least one food allergy-affected child (age birth to 21). Participants will complete a questionnaire about their child’s environmental exposures, diet, lifestyle and specific allergies. A clinical evaluation will be conducted to measure the child’s height, weight, blood pressure and lung function. A small blood sample will be taken and allergy skin tests administered. Each participant will receive a $25 gift card to Target, free parking and additional gift card(s) to cover travel expenses. Contact the Children’s Memorial Food Allergy Study team, (888) 573-1833 or email

Treatment of intermediate-risk neuroblastoma withsurgery and chemotherapy

The purpose of this study, led by Dr. Richarchito Manera, is to reduce therapy for people with intermediate-risk neuroblastoma. Participants will be placed into groups and will be assigned to receive a minimum of two, four or eight cycles of chemotherapy, respectively, after first undergoing an operation to remove as much of the primary tumor and involved lymph nodes as possible.

Each child will receive at least two cycles of chemotherapy about every 21 days. After the initial two months of treatment, each child will be further classified for the remainder of the treatment.

How to participate: Specific criteria available from the Loyola Clinical Trials Office, (708) 216-2026.

Pediatric Acupunctureand Pain Study

This pilot study hopes to determine the role of acupuncture in the management of pain, nausea and vomiting in pediatric, adolescent and young adult patients. According to research studies, between 30 to 70 percent of pediatric patients with chronic illness experience pain.

How to participate: Anyone between age 5 and 20 who is experiencing pain, nausea or vomiting may be eligible. Participants will receive eight acupuncture treatments, plus a small cash stipend at the completion of each treatment. Contact Angela Johnson, (312) 563-2531 or email

Pediatric PerennialAllergic Rhinitis

In this study, Dr. James Moy and researchers will evaluate the effects of an investigational nasal spray in children with year-round allergy symptoms (perennial allergic rhinitis).

How to participate: Subjects must be 3 to 8 years old and have perennial allergic rhinitis but otherwise be in good health. The study will include 11 visits and will last about one year. Contact Amy Bulbrooke, (312) 563-2647, or email

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