KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Children’s Mercy Hospital has received a large grant to help fund a one-of-a-kind facility to help diagnose and treat genetic diseases in children, the hospital announced on Monday.
The hospital received a $1,000,000 gift from the William T. Kemper Foundation to fund the Center for Pediatric Genomic Medicine at Children’s Mercy. Officials say that the facility – which the hospital says is the first genome center in the world to be located in a children’s hospital – will focus on the diagnosis of inherited pediatric diseases, and to improving health care for children.
“The Children’s Mercy Center for Pediatric Genomic Medicine will secure Kansas City’s place as a center of biotechnology, but more than anything, it will benefit the children born with genetic diseases,” said Samuel Bennett, Foundation Program Manager at Commerce Bank, in a statement released Monday morning. “At this time, there is no other facility like this in a clinical setting. For all of these reasons, the William T. Kemper Foundation wanted to be at the forefront of this effort.”
The hospital says that the grant will allow the Center to have their critically ill patients in their Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) the opportunity to have their entire genome decoded, analyzed and returned to their physician in as little as two days. Officials say that Children’s Mercy is the only pediatric hospital in the world with access to this rapid genome sequencing approach, called STAT-Seq, developed at the Center.
“Up to one third of babies admitted to a NICU in the U.S. have genetic diseases,” said Stephen Kingsmore, M.B. Ch.B., D.Sc., FRCPath, Director of the Center for Pediatric Genomic Medicine at Children’s Mercy, in a statement. “By obtaining an interpreted genome in about two days, physicians can make practical use of diagnostic results to tailor treatments to individual infants and children.”