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Children's Hospital, Wash. U. teaming up on child diseases

By Robert Frederick, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – St. Louis Children's Hospital and Washington University's School of Medicine announced a new collaboration Wednesday that will focus on finding cures for major childhood diseases, including cancer and asthma.

Researchers will examine the genetic information of healthy children, those with diseases, and also those of the zebra fish.

They'll first focus on finding genes that lead to the different diseases. Next, they'll focus on how to safely affect those genes, like taking vitamin B before and during pregnancy.

To find other ways nutrition affects development, Children's Hospital Dr. Jonathan Gitlin says they also will be looking at the zebra fish because the transparent embryo develops outside the mother.

"So some of it will begin with fish, and some of it will begin with sequencing DNA directly from patients, and all of it will happen simultaneously. Will it take us awhile? Absolutely. We're talking about discovering cures in a decade."

The $355 million collaboration, called the Children's Discovery Institute, also will mean expanded facilities at Children's Hospital.