Children's Hospital Oakland opens new $5.6 million infectious disease lab

01/31/05

Children's Hospital & Research Center at Oakland opens new research laboratory to develop & improve vaccines for infectious diseases

Media Tour
Friday, February 4, 2005 at 11 a.m.
Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute
5700 Martin Luther King Jr. Way
Oakland, CA 94609
RSVP to vrobinson@mail.cho.org

February 3, 2005- Oakland, CA.- Children's Hospital & Research Center at Oakland has completed construction of its new $5.6 million Center for Immunobiology and Vaccine Development (CIVD), which was designed as a national model to help accelerate the pace of research into pneumococcal, meningococcal, chlamydia trachomatis, anthrax and other infectious diseases. The CIVD will bring together a variety of research programs focused on understanding the immunobiology of infectious diseases, both existing and emerging, and developing vaccines to prevent them.

"This new facility will allow us to conduct research that we could not otherwise perform," said Bertram Lubin, M.D., senior vice president of research at Children's Hospital & Research Center at Oakland and president of Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI). "Some of our most talented scientists will be using this state-of-the-art laboratory to translate our scientific research into meaningful medical treatments. Our goal is to reduce the long lag time between the identification of a new infectious disease and an effective treatment."

The research that will be conducted at the CIVD focuses on some of the most serious infectious diseases, particularly in children, for which no vaccines are available. Even where vaccines are available, scientists still have an incomplete understanding of how these vaccines work. Specialized facilities are required to conduct molecular, cellular and clinical studies to understand the immunobiology of infectious diseases, both existing and emerging.

The CIVD was constructed in the remaining 8,000 square feet of available space inside CHORI located at 5700 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, which is a few blocks north of the hospital. This new unit consists of interactive laboratories and office spaces, as well as specialized, shared facilities such as a DNA clean room and a biological safety level-3 facility (BL-3), which is one of the highest safety and security standards for this type of medical research.

"The CIVD's BL-3 status means that when we constructed this laboratory we had to meet some of the highest safety standards established by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)," said Alex Lucas, Ph.D., deputy director of CHORI. "The end result is that we are better equipped to expand our research capabilities to design and improve vaccines in ways we never could before."

CHORI was awarded a $2 million construction grant from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) at the NIH to build the CIVD. Dr. Lucas was the principal investigator on this grant. The remaining funds were secured through individual donations and large financial gifts from the philanthropic community.

CHORI's operating budget in 2005 is $48 million, which is generated through extramural grants obtained by scientists and clinicians. The awards CHORI scientists received placed CHORI 14th out of 113 children's hospitals and pediatric departments in the United States, according to data provided by The National Association of Children's Hospitals in their most recent survey.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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