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>>Research at QFCUH

The search for innovative therapeutics conditions the effectiveness and diversity of the treatments offered. It plays an essential role in the control and quality of clinical activity through the updating of techniques, the evaluation of care protocols and new drugs, fundamental research and its multiple applications. Every year at QFCUH, between 30 and 50 new drugs are administered to patients according to the strict Helsinki international rules, so that children benefit from treatments for cancer, metabolic diseases or genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis, for example. It is essential for Europe that children also access medicines developed by pharmaceutical companies, which was, for a long time, very difficult to obtain. However, some progress has been booked on this matter since 2005.

Taking care of a sick child takes time. He or she must be put at ease before being able to proceed with the investigations. Everything is done to avoid pain. Non-invasive techniques are used. They are more complex and more expensive than direct techniques used with adults and require devices and equipment adapted to children of different ages. In addition, there is no voluntary control subject in pediatrics, whereas in adult medicine it is quite different. This makes pediatric research much more complex.

Active participation in scientific progress therefore requires constant investment in people and equipment. It implies a close relationship between hospital teams and the research laboratories of the Faculties of Medicine and Schools of Public Health (ULB and VUB), with steady concern for innovation and rigor in the conduct of clinical studies in humans.

The QFCUH has invested in the development of local structures (Kids' Fund), some of which are officially recognized by the Université Libre de Bruxelles (Pediatrics Laboratory). Our Scientific Fund (Belgian Kids' Fund for Pediatric Research), which was created 25 years ago by physicians of the institution, has distributed nearly 200 research grants during this period and has enabled young physicians or academics working in pediatric research to complete nearly 70 doctoral theses. This activity, in addition to providing a better understanding of children's diseases and therefore better treatment, has offered these young academics the opportunity to become teachers themselves and to occupy positions of responsibility in the hospital or within the hospital network of the University.

The University's Pediatrics Laboratory, located right next to the hospital, in the buildings of Queen Elizabeth Foundation, is the most important laboratory for the detection of metabolic diseases in Belgium, evaluating more than 50,000 children out of the 120,000 annual Belgian births. In addition to this crucial activity, it also focuses on fundamental research in the field of rare diseases, but also in the early stages of inflammation and children's innate immunity. In the future, it will be the starting point of what will become a Pediatric Research Institute, supported by the forthcoming construction of a building next to the Childrens’ Hospital.

About the Research Department

Since 2020, QFCUH has created a new Research Department in order to further develop in-house research activities, a sector that has already flourished for many years, and also with the aim of creating a Research Institute in the coming years.

Professor Georges Casimir, for a long time the institution's Medical General Director, has been appointed Director of Research. He is also Secretary of the Scientific Foundation of the QFCUH (Belgian Kids' Fund for Pediatric Research) which celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2021 and becomes the President of the Royal Academy of Medicine the same year. He will work in close collaboration with Professor Alec Aeby, Research Advisor within the Medical Directorate and with all the medical and nursing departments. The part related to pharmaceutical research is dependent on the sponsored clinical research unit, which is led by Dr. Thierry Schurmans and Bernard Wenderickx, Nurse Coordinator of Applied Research.