Medical research

“Medical research is expensive, but a child’s life is priceless.”

– Rosie Simpson
Chief Executive Officer, Children’s Hospital Foundation

We help fund the research that’s needed to find faster diagnoses, better treatments, and ultimately cures for some of the most devastating childhood illnesses and injuries. Research and medical breakthroughs have the power to turn fear into hope and change the futures of sick and injured children everywhere. 

Children’s Brain Cancer Centre

Despite advances in other types of childhood cancer, survival rates for brain cancer have made little progress over the past 30 years. The Children’s Brain Cancer Centre aims to change that. This Centre brings together the ‘best of the best’ in paediatric brain cancer research to bring new hope to children and young people fighting this devastating disease.

Woolworths Centre for Childhood Nutrition Research

Most Australian children do not receive adequate nutrition in their diet and poor nutrition has a significant impact on a range of health outcomes.  We need more research to understand why, and that identifies where and how we can improve access to healthy diets. .  This Centre harnesses the combined resources of experts who can improve the health and life prospects for children.

Children's Brain Cancer Centre

Despite advances in other types of childhood cancer, survival rates for brain cancer have made little progress over the past 30 years. The Children’s Brain Cancer Centre aims to change that. This Centre brings together the ‘best of the best’ in paediatric brain cancer research to bring new hope to children and young people fighting this devastating disease.

Woolworths Centre for Childhood Nutrition Research

Most Australian children do not receive adequate nutrition in their diet and poor nutrition has a significant impact on a range of health outcomes.  We need more research to understand why, and that identifies where and how we can improve access to healthy diets. .  The Woolworths Centre for Childhood Nutrition Research harnesses the combined resources of experts who can improve the health and life prospects for children.

Research Advisory Committee

The Children’s Hospital Foundation is committed to accountability and transparency in awarding funds to paediatric research. Applications for research funding undergo a rigorous peer-review process conducted by an independent Research Advisory Committee.

Our Research

Through the generosity of our supporters, the Children’s Hospital Foundation funds research that has a strong focus on translational outcomes and leads to faster diagnoses, better treatments, and ultimately cures for some of the most devastating childhood illnesses and injuries.

For Researchers

We help fund the research that’s needed to find faster diagnoses, better treatments, and ultimately cures for some of the most devastating childhood illnesses and injuries. We are committed to helping child health researchers discover new and improved ways to help sick and injured kids get better.

Our Research Stories

Blazing the trail in sepsis research

A young child comes into the Emergency Department looking relatively well with fever. In just a few hours, he develops severe meningococcal septic shock, a life-threatening condition for the boy and a life-changing moment for the treating doctor.

This is the event that inspired resident doctor Luregn Shlapbach to pursue paediatric research. He was struck by the speed at which a major infection known as sepsis could lead to organ shut down and intrigued by how such a thing could happen when until then, the child had led a healthy, normal life.

Fast forward to the present, Luregn is now a consultant in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at Queensland Children`s Hospital and an Associate Professor at The University of Queensland. His research group focuses on investigating sepsis, infection and inflammation, which are all linked in several ways.

During sepsis, defence mechanisms which usually protect us from infections go off-track and lead to an impaired response. This pattern of inflammation is not only seen in sepsis, it can happen in other conditions, such as after heart surgery, requiring heart-lung-machine support.

Sepsis affects over 500 children in Queensland every year and together with other conditions frequently seen in critically ill children, imposes a huge burden on children`s health, their families, and society. Luregn and his research team have helped to shape a better understanding of who is affected by sepsis, its impact and which risk factors are relevant.

“A critically ill child should have an entire healthy life ahead and too often severe critical illnesses like sepsis lead to adverse long-term outcomes in children. If we can improve the way we recognise and treat such conditions it may make a difference for a whole lifespan,” he says.

Your donations have been instrumental in building Luregn’s research team and initiating several projects that have led to larger research grants from other agencies.

“We would not have achieved as a team what we have in the past years without the Foundation’s support. I have been impressed by how the Foundation has a very holistic approach to research, making sure not only the projects, but as well the consumers’ perspective, and the impact on change of practice are kept in focus,” Luregn says.

Recent success in securing funding from the Federal Government’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) is a testament to the group’s outstanding impact on paediatric research. Two MRFF grants worth a total of $5.5 million will help them investigate the genes involved in children with suspected sepsis and how genes can predict long-term outcomes in infants after heart surgery. With the support of the community the Children’s Hospital Foundation is a proud partner for both these initiatives.

“We now have a unique opportunity to leverage the work from past years. This research will centre around the question of why some children are unusually sick, how we can improve recognition and treatment, and what long-term outcomes these translate to,” Luregn says.

Luregn’s ultimate goal is delivering precision medicine.

“Wouldn`t it be wonderful if we can develop personalised medicine for children with sepsis – the right drug, to the right patient at the right time,” he says.

We agree.

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