Research & Innovation
As a national referral center for Kawasaki disease, Children’s Hospital Boston is on the forefront of treatments for this type of vasculitis. Most of the current therapies for Kawasaki, in fact, were either initiated or validated here. But advances in diagnosis are equally important: Without timely treatment, Kawasaki may inflame the coronary arteries and lead to potentially life-threatening heart problems. Children’s researchersare now working to identify proteins in urine that may act as a biomarker -- or red flag -- for whether a child has Kawasaki, and allow treatment to begin as soon as possible.
Through clinical trials and research projects, Children’s is also helping to pioneer the use of biologics -- protein-based drugs made from living cells -- for a number of pediatric diseases, including vasculitis. Most recently, our rheumatologists examined a class of biologics called tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers as a treatment for Takayasu arteritis. In a study of Children’s patients, they found that TNF blockers worked reliably with other medications to help sustain remission in Takayasu patients.