With 80 on-going research projects concentrated on seven areas, Little Prince scientists have made significant contributions to the understanding of childhood diseases and their treatments. One of its most significant achievements is screening for early diagnosis of adrenal cortex tumor, a serious condition that can cause premature death, which can be completely eliminated by early intervention.
Among its other achievements are:
DNA test for early diagnosis of cancer
FISH method for early diagnosis of leukemia
A research project conducted at Pelé Little Prince Research Institute led to a reduction in the cost of the FISH exam from R$300.00 to only R$12.00, effectively democratizing the access to it. As a result, all patients with leukemia treated at the Little Prince Hospital and at other hospitals can benefit from the procedure and receive accurate diagnoses and guidance for treatment.
Membrane bandage with antibiotics for treatment of burns
The Pequeno Príncipe Pelé Research Institute has patented a bandage for burn victims, which is more efficient than those currently available. The product presented the best results in the healing process, with formation of vessels on the tissue and lower incidences of infection. This research was developed in partnership with the Federal University of Paraná.
Lower doses of radiation on imaging tests
Imaging tests are essential for the treatment of hundreds of pediatric patients every year. Many protocols indicate two daily x-ray examinations for weeks. However, the scientific literature has associated radiation exposure to an increased risk of developing cancer, and children tend to be more vulnerable. A study developed by the Pelé Little Prince Research Institute focuses on pediatric radiology and develops new standards to reduce the radiation doses in x-ray examinations for patients from birth to 15 years old.
Method for evaluation of verbal communication after cochlear implant
Since the 1970s, the cochlear implant has been used and improved upon. At Little Prince Hospital, cochlear implantation has been performed since 2007, the only pediatric hospital in Brazil to offer the procedure through the Brazilian Unified Health System (SUS).
The monitoring of post-implant patients revealed the need for an instrument to objectively measure the development of their verbal communication. Thus the Pelé Little Prince Research Institute conducted a study to this end.
Based on the US-developed FAPCI method (Functioning After Pediatric Cochlear Implant) – the only existing validated psychometric instrument for such measurements – the Institute created a Brazilian version (FAPCI-BP) that has been adopted and validated for use. This version can be used to evaluate verbal communication performance in children with or without cochlear implants.
New fungus found in brazil
Treatment of critically ill children in the intensive care unit (ICU) and children receiving chemotherapy for cancer include invasive procedures such as the use of central venous catheter and parenteral nutrition. If on the one hand this is crucial for the treatment of these children, on the other it increases the risk of fungal infections, which can be fatal.
A study of invasive infection by the fungus Candida – carried out with ICU patients in Little Prince Hospital – identified a fungus that caused serious infections and had not been isolated in Brazil before. A delay in the diagnosis of fungal infection brings risks to the patient when it reaches the bloodstream. Prior to this study, no one had reported this microorganism in Brazil. The fungus was identified in children undergoing complex surgeries, premature infants or those immunocompromised. The results of this study led to the development of other projects, including a study to identify the risk factors of these infections in order to prevent them.
In search of early diagnosis for primary immunodeficiencies
The study on primary immunodeficiencies at the Institute began in 2013. Since then, 20 patients had their diagnoses confirmed and another 100 are under investigation. Each case is evaluated in the clinic. Patients undergo testing for functional and genetic modifications. By knowing which genes are involved in immunodeficiency, it is possible to offer precise genetic counseling and treatment advice.
200 genes have been identified as primary immunodeficiency causing genes, and there are more than 200 clinical forms of primary immunodeficiency.