The centre will support clinical trials into potential treatments for paediatric neurological ailments and diseases, including the degenerative disease, Batten disease, and common neurological conditions, such as epilepsy, autism, Fragile X and Angelman syndrome.
Using the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital as a resource for research and breakthrough scientific discoveries in neurology, the Blue Bird Circle Clinical Research Centre will “advance care to the next level,” by developing treatments for a variety of childhood neurological disorders.
In addition to identifying potential therapeutics for paediatric neurological disorders by studying the effects of various therapies at the clinical research centre, it will also serve as an off-site clinical research centre for other trials being conducted around the country, which Texas Children’s Hospital believes will “allow the maximum benefits to be drawn from each trial.”
Speaking about the grant from the Blue Bird Circle, which will be paid out within a five to ten year period,Dr. Gary Clark, chief of paediatric neurology at Texas Children’s Hospital, said the money will enable Texas Children’s “to put the foundational infrastructure [for the centre] in place, as well as hire the critical personnel needed for the new clinical research centre,”
Describing this type of clinic as “past due,” Clark asserted however, that the research centre is “very forward looking, as not many exist in the US.”
Meanwhile, Pat Lucas, president of the Blue Bird Circle, said the organisation has “always been involved in research,” and “helping this new clinical research centre come to fruition is a perfect fit” for the Blue Bird Circle, which operates through volunteerism in the Blue Bird Circle Clinic at Texas Children’s Hospital and The Blue Bird charity shop.
“This is a logical progression and in line with our mission,” she said, which is to take “what we see daily in the Blue Bird Clinic at Texas Children’s to the next step in helping patients and families affected by neurological ailments.”
In a review conducted by the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, it was found that 6 out of every 1000 children in the US have autism and 2 out of every 1000 children have cerebral palsy.