The Impact of Gift From a Child through Children’s National Hospital

GFAC Regional Center of Excellence, Children’s National Hospital in Washington D.C. directly shared donated post-mortem tissue with twelve institutions in 2022 . The Children’s National GFAC team is led by  Tissue Navigator,  Augustine Eze, M.S. and co-lead investigators Drs. Javad Nazarian, Ph.D. and Miriam Bornhorst, M.D. This team spent the last year deepening and growing partnerships, improving the way families are approached about donation, and advancing research to further GFAC’s mission.

Children’s National finalized a contract with LifeNet Health, a non-profit tissue procurement organization. “Working with LifeNet allows us to expand into Virginia and improve on the time to procurement in the state,” said Dr. Bornhurst. “Because they have such a large network within Virginia, we should be able to get all of our donations statewide within 48 hours.” This advancement improves the ability to collect donations from Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, Virginia’s only freestanding children’s hospital. It means that many more families will have the chance to learn about and access GFAC’s resources.

The team at Children’s National is working to improve the way families are approached about donation and to ensure it is part of the standard of care. This year they will begin a study to examine real and perceived barriers that limit donations. The team also continues to improve the way families are educated about the impact of their gift. “Now we will spend 30 minutes to an hour with the family,” says Dr. Bornhorst. “We review the tumor donation itself as well as which research project will benefit and how. I think that has really helped with family satisfaction, but also with institution satisfaction. The providers who refer the patients also feel involved and know we will take good care of their patient family.”

Thanks to the precious donations received through GFAC, Dr. Nazarian and his colleagues have continued to advance research and care for pediatric brain cancer. Dr. Nazarian’s team uses the world’s most comprehensive tissue micro-array (TMA) system to study the donated samples. Dr. Nazarian reported that “800 samples are being analyzed at the same time, on the same platform. This really expedites discovery.”

The Swifty Foundation/Gift from a Child continues to support Children’s National Hospital and we are excited to see all their team accomplishes in 2023!

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