​2017 Pediatric Annual Report: We promise to treat every disease, no matter how rare

ciaccio with patient

Today we begin a series of articles on our five promises to each child under our care and in our community:

  • To treat every disease no matter how rare
  • To prevent illness and injury
  • To pursue the knowledge to advance pediatric medicine
  • To make the world a better place for kids
  • To maximize every child's full potential

Each post will share our achievements in the research lab and in the clinic this past year, and will discuss Comer Children’s unique ability to offer new therapies to improve outcomes for sick children.

In this video, John M. Cunningham, MD, chair of the Department of Pediatrics and physician-in-chief of Comer Children's Hospital, discusses our 2017 accomplishments and our continued efforts to be at the forefront of pediatric medicine, and see how we are creating better tomorrows for the children we treat today:


“Our ultimate goal is to cure every child with sickle cell disease”

John M. Cunningham, MD, director of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation and chair of the Department of Pediatrics

The pediatric stem cell transplant team is exploring novel approaches to increasing the donor pool so that more children with sickle cell disease (SCD) might benefit from stem cell transplants without suffering from severe complications. This spring, UChicago Medicine will open a study of allogenic stem cell transplant (the use of healthy stem cells from a donor to help restore the blood-forming cells of the patient’s bone marrow) for children with severe forms of SCD. If successful, this therapy may be applied to a broader group of sickle cell disease patients, as well as children with malignant diseases such as leukemia and with non-malignant diseases such as thalassemia, aplastic anemia and immune deficiencies. Read more


“We’re making heart devices a reality for our youngest patients”

Daniel Gruenstein, MD, director of the pediatric cardiac catheterization lab      

gruenstein with patientPediatric cardiologist Daniel Gruenstein is at the forefront of developing cardiac devices specifically for the repair of heart defects in children. Find out how these devices work and how Comer Children’s state-of-the-art hybrid pediatric cardiac catheterization lab helps reduce radiation exposure in kids.


“Our research will improve the everyday lives of children with neurofibromatosis”

James H. Tonsgard, MD, co-founder of a government-funded national consortium to research new treatments for neurofibromatosis (NF)

tonsgard with patientPediatric neurologist James Tonsgard is involved in numerous studies on new drug therapies and the genetic causes of NF that could bring relief to children suffering from this disorder affecting the skin and nervous system. Learn more


"Adolescent cancer patients should have access to more cancer trials"

Ami Desai, MD

Ami Desai, a specialist in pediatric cancer and blood diseases, is making sure that more adolescents and young adults (AYA) are enrolled in adult cancer trials when the investigational or approved drug being tested is appropriate for their cancer. There is a strong history of collaboration between the pediatric and adult cancer teams at the University, which ensures that the AYA population is treated with the most effective therapies. Read more


“We have the surgical expertise to treat the rarest of anomalies”

Fuad Baroody, MD, pediatric otolaryngologist and head and neck surgeon

baroody with patientAt least 50 physicians, nurses and therapists at Comer Children’s Hospital claim 18-month-old Bennett Carroll as their patient. He was born with a mass made up of several different types of tissue obstructing his airway. Nine surgeries, six hospital admissions—including a four-month stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit—and five Emergency Department visits later, the major challenges are now behind him. Learn more about how the medical team came together to provide seamless care for Bennett.