The 2017-18 U.S. News & World Report “Best Children’s Hospitals” rankings were released this morning, and Boston Children’s Hospital has been named the #1 children’s hospital in the nation.
The U.S. News rankings rely most heavily on outcomes. In other words, were we able to make a difference?
At Boston Children’s, that goal is what drives our researchers and innovators to seek answers for all our patients, from the complex to the common. We seek out cures for children with the rarest disorders, whose needs are unimaginable, whose chances of survival may be heartbreakingly low. We also wrestle with everyday conditions like asthma, diabetes, even the flu: Can we prevent them, can we minimize their impact on children’s lives?
This is a moment worth celebrating — but it’s also a moment to give thanks. To our clinicians who challenge the status quo, and then push the boundaries of what’s possible. To parents who increasingly work alongside us, pushing for answers. To a rising tide of biomedical advances — CRISPR, next-generation sequencing, cell therapy, big data analysis. To the young scientists who work, usually behind the scenes, to make things better. To our donors and investors who believe in the power of science and support our efforts.
We created this video to give a taste of what can happen when all of you strive together to make the impossible possible.
Responding to Chinese scientists’ attempt to use CRISPR gene editing technology to edit human embryos, the White House spoke up, saying, “altering the human germline for clinical purposes is a line that should not be crossed at this time.”
Seasonal Genes(The Scientist)
Our immune systems vary with the seasons, according to a study that could help explain why certain conditions such as heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis are aggravated in winter while people tend to be healthier in the summer.
Common vitamin reduces recurrence of some skin cancers(The Washington Post) Nicotinamide, a cheap over-the-counter vitamin, appears to reduce recurrence of some common skin cancers associated with sun exposure for people who have had them before, researchers at the University of Sydney report. …
Splice of life (Nature)
In light of the recent news that Chinese scientists genetically modified human embryos, the author calls for transparent discussions on the risks and ethics of editing human embryos. …
Chinese team reports gene-editing human embryos(MIT Technology Review)
Using the CRISPR technique, the researchers attempted to correct the gene for thalassemia in fertilized eggs. The experiment showed that the technique is far from ready from clinical use, and added new fuel to the already-fiery debate over editing genes in human embryos.
How Apple is building an ecosystem for your body(Fast Company)
The company’s HealthKit and ResearchKit together may form the core of a new “digital ecosystem” for health data and digital medicine, just as iTunes did for music and movies. But a lot of unanswered questions remain that could affect Apple’s chances for success in the health arena. …
The problem with satisfied patients(The Atlantic)
When patient satisfaction surveys are directly tied to federal funding, hospital administrators put extra effort into making patients happy. But does happier always mean healthier?
A Pancreas in a Capsule (MIT Technology Review)
Can stem cells solve the Type 1 diabetes puzzle? A handful of United States patients have had lab-grown pancreas cells, derived from human embryonic stem cells, transplanted in a human safety trial. Tech Review documents the challenges, and potential, of turning stem cells into real, functioning pancreas cells. …
Vector’s picks of recent pediatric healthcare, science and innovation news.
U.S. proposes effort to analyze DNA from 1 million people(Reuters)
President Obama provided more detail last week on his Precision Medicine Initiative, which would allocate $215 million toward developing treatments tailored to patients’ genetic makeup, including $70 million for cancer research. The initiative is being hailed as a shot in the arm for research and innovation (this cancer example is but one of many), but skeptics question whether precision medicine will live up to its touted potential, citing the shortcomings of genomics in determining disease risk or in reversing diseases, even when genetic variants have been well studied. …