Clinical Assistant Professor of Paediatrics
Alberta Children's Hospital
C2-284, 2888 Shaganappi Trail NW
Calgary, AB T3B 6A8
Use of biomarker technology to determine pathophysiology of pediatric neurological diseases such as perintal stroke and pediatric vasculopathy
Primary Area of Research:
Rare neurological diseases are collectively common, yet often poorly understood in pediatric neurology. They account for enormous health care costs. They result in significant morbidity and family burden. True mechanisms of disease are the unifying target for both understanding pathophysiology and designing new treatments. Inflammation provides a tangible example applicable to all pediatric neurology subspecialties. Modern biomarker technologies provide remarkable opportunities to explore such mechanisms. Such analyses can be performed on minute volumes (100uL) of any body fluid providing immediate and great clinical research potential.
The pediatric arteriopathies provide one example where clinical research activity is leading in the determination of the cause of childhood stroke and its recurrence. With morbidity spanning a child’s life, global impact is large. Inflammatory cerebral vasculitis is suspected as the leading cause for this arteriopathy but no means currently exist to make this diagnosis. This has major implications for the use of anti-inflammatory treatments that might improve outcome. These novel tools now afford the opportunity to both diagnose and understand inflammatory mechanisms in cerebrovascular disease but have never been applied to children with stroke.
We are well-positioned in Calgary having collaborations with experts providing leading Luminex technology that allow rapid determinations of hundreds of inflammatory proteins in small samples. We continue to grow collaborations with researchers in other major centers to determine the role of inflammation in neurological diseases of childhood. Major directions poised for growth include pediatric stroke, traumatic brain injury, pediatric demyelinating diseases, medically-refractory epilepsy, primary headache disorders, and applying this knowledge to trial new treatments in childhood neurological disorders.