Since January 2007, Texas Children’s Hospital (TCH) and its Department of Pathology have effectively partnered with the Grant-A-Starr Foundation (GASF). The Foundation contributed more than $1,200,000 to TCH Pathology during the first generation of this project. This investment has made a huge difference, impacting hundreds of children already in Houston. By 2011, we had implemented 13 new molecular diagnostic tests for rapid detection of respiratory viruses (including influenza H1N1), bacteria causing intestinal infections, viruses causing meningitis, and improved detection of HIV in children. Since 2011, 4 additional new molecular diagnostic tests have been added including respiratory viruses like Adenovirus and Rhinovirus. Many children have been saved and treated effectively by having the Right Diagnosis at the Right Time. The rapid response to the influenza H1N1 pandemic in 2009 highlighted the ability of our enhanced diagnostic R&D operation (supported by Grant-A-Starr) to help control the rapid spread of pandemic “flu” and manage these serious infections.
Texas Children’s and its Department of Pathology created the new Texas Children’s Microbiome Center (TCMC) in February 2009. With the support of GASF, the TCMC became fully operational in October 2011 in our new home (10,000 sq ft in the Feigin Tower at TCH). Dr. Ralph D. Feigin provided the original inspiration for this project, and it is appropriate that our efforts are now housed in the Feigin Tower at TCH. The TCMC serves as the home of our GASF supported project – Diagnosing Unknown Childhood Infections or the DUCI Project.