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Children's Mercy receives $1,000,000 grant from the William T. Kemper Foundation

The grant will provide rapid genetic testing for acutely ill babies in intensive care nursery

KANSAS CITY, Mo., January 28, 2013 - Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics has received a $1,000,000 grant from the William T. Kemper Foundation. The contribution will fund the Center for Pediatric Genomic Medicine at Children's Mercy, which is the first genome center in the world located inside a children's hospital, with a 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. "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 grant will allow the Center to offer critically ill patients in the hospital's level IV neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), and their parents the opportunity to have their entire genome decoded and the results analyzed and returned to their physician in as little as two days. 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. "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."

STAT-Seq demonstrates for the first time the potential for genome sequencing to influence therapeutic decisions in the immediate needs of acute patients. "So often with these very rare genetic diseases, patients and physicians are on a diagnostic odyssey. Test after test, treatment after treatment, they don't know what's wrong," said Kingsmore. "Now by having the entire genome information in days instead of months, physicians can get a diagnosis quickly and definitively effect treatment."

The Center is currently working at capacity to analyze data from patients at Children's Mercy as well as from other pediatric institutions across the United States and around the world. This grant will fund additional equipment and staff to expand capacity and further the goal of diagnosing and treating as many children with genetic diseases as possible.

 About Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics

Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, located in Kansas City, Mo., is one of the nation's top pediatric medical centers. The 351-bed hospital provides care for children from birth through the age of 21, and has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of "America's Best Children's Hospitals." For the third time in a row, Children's Mercy has achieved Magnet nursing designation, awarded to fewer than seven percent of all hospitals nationally, for excellence in quality care. Its faculty of 600 pediatricians and researchers across more than 40 subspecialties are actively involved in clinical care, pediatric research, and educating the next generation of pediatric subspecialists. For more information about Children's Mercy and its research, visit childrensmercy.org or download our mobile phone app CMH4YOU for all phone types. For breaking news and videos, follow us on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.


About The William T. Kemper Foundation

The William T. Kemper Foundation was established following his death in 1989. The Foundation is dedicated to continuing Kemper's lifelong interest in improving the human condition and quality of life through the support of education, health and human services, civic and economic development, and the fine and performing arts.