Child Health Research Centre Appeal

A new research centre for paediatric endocrinology

CHRCChildhood illness is a big worry for parents. Good health depends upon the normal function of all the organs and systems of the body. The endocrine glands produce hormones that are essential for childhood growth and development. Endocrinology is the study of the function of the endocrine system, and doctors who work in the medical speciality of paediatric endocrinology care for babies, children and adolescents with hormonal disorders. In paediatric endocrinology the major medical problems are:

  • Abnormal growth and development
  • Early or late puberty
  • Diabetes and obesity
  • Under-active or overactive thyroid glands
  • Failure of the adrenal glands, or excessive production of adrenal hormones

Many children and adolescents suffer from one of these medical conditions before they are eighteen. These problems can cause serious illness with distress for both the child and family, and some may be life threatening without early diagnosis. However, with expert care most children can be successfully treated and are able to lead normal healthy lives.

Paediatric endocrinology at Barts and The Royal London hospitals

Paediatric endocrinology at Barts and The Royal London hospitals has an international reputation from its 25 years of clinical excellence. We were the first to discover a mutation in an important gene involved in child growth (IGF-I), and a mutation in the adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) receptor gene.

A key component in this success story has been the roles played by our experts in setting new standards for treating childhood growth disorders, for example we pioneered treatment using human recombinant IGF-I. Ground breaking research continues, particularly in the molecular mechanisms of endocrine diseases. We are fortunate to have a unique collaboration with the world famous William Harvey Research Institute and its state-of-the-art molecular research laboratories.

Today the most pressing problems we face are the rising levels of childhood obesity and diabetes. These conditions are the main cause of increased referrals to our clinics, particularly for children of Asian descent. New research is urgently needed to increase our understanding of these serious health problems because if not treated early they can cause even greater difficulties in later life. Childhood obesity and diabetes are likely to lead to heart disease, or other complications such as blindness and kidney disease, before the age of 40.

A new Child Health Research Centre

The reason for this very special appeal is our need to establish a new academic Child Health Research Centre to be sited in the William Harvey Research Institute at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Charterhouse Square. We want to build on our current strengths and develop new research directions in paediatric endocrinology. This will translate into better care for sick children and improvements in their long-term health. Our aim is to raise £2.4 million to fund the appointments and salaries of a new professor, a consultant senior lecturer and a research team.

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