Our immunology research examines the body system that protects us from infection, and includes a joint clinical research program that includes our Division of Allergy and Immunology and our Infectious Diseases program.
The Clinical Immunology Program is led by Michael Keller, M.D., who is the Director of the Jeffrey Modell Diagnostic and Research Center for Primary Immunodeficiency Disorders. In a notable first for Children's National, investigators from the Division of Allergy and Immunology and Infectious Disease have begun a joint clinical research program to study primary immunodeficiency disorders, allergic diseases and Lyme disease with intramural investigators from the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease.
Funded by a grant from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, the program involves direct partnering with NIH investigators to study the mechanistic biology and natural history of these disorders. The Primary Immunodeficiency program, co-led by Drs. Keller and Luigi Notarangelo (NIAID) has received IRB approval at both institutions and had their first joint clinic at the Children's National Friendship Heights in February 2018.
Clinical Research in Pediatric and Adolescent HIV Infection
Tapping into the strength of their translational and basic research, the faculty’s research collaborations are yielding exciting new insights into the pathogenesis and therapy of childhood cancer, hematological disorders and immunological diseases. The District of Columbia has the highest rates of HIV infection and AIDS prevalence in the nation, particularly among children and youth. This is the result of an overall high HIV prevalence rate in the community, previous high rates of perinatal transmission and a growing number of acquired cases of infection.
Several investigators are involved in funded research on infection trends and responses to treatment:
- Natella Rakhmanina, M.D., Ph.D., collaborates with investigators at the MedStar Washington Hospital Center to look at the current algorithm used for maternal HIV testing during pregnancy and the use of antiretrovirals as an effective prophylaxis for perinatal HIV transmission. Specifically, Dr. Rakhmanina is interested in determining whether any differences exist in transmission rates between African-American women and African immigrant mothers. Dr. Rakhmanina also leads a multidisciplinary team of clinical researchers studying the most efficient mechanism of screening youth in pediatric emergency departments. Finally, her team has also launched a citywide study on prevention of HIV infection in at risk young women by using pre-exposure prophylaxis.
- Lawrence D’Angelo, M.D., Ph.D., is involved with ongoing studies with the restructured Adolescent Trials Network, collaborating with investigators in Florida, New York and Maryland to improve medication adherence and treatment outcomes in HIV-infected youth. He also collaborates locally with members of the D.C. Center for AIDS research to improve the transition of HIV infected youth from pediatric to adult care.