New clinic is 'last refuge' for children with neurological disorders

Phoenix, AZ, October 7, 2005-The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) has teamed up with the Children's Health Center at St. Joseph's Hospital and the Barrow Neurological Institute to establish a new Pediatric Neurogenetics Center. The center will provide a multidisciplinary diagnostic setting for children with complex and tragic neurogenetic disorders.

"This clinic is a last refuge for children with neurological disorders that remain unexplained. We will seek to use state-of-the-art research tools to decipher diseases and offer solutions to children and families," said Dr. Dietrich Stephan, head of TGen's Neurogenomics Division. "This is a unique effort which complements the significant expertise and focus in Arizona on keeping our children safe and healthy."

(L-R) Dr. Dietrich Stephan, Dr. Vinodh Narayanan, TGen genetic counselor Stephanie Buchholtz, and Dr. Kirk Aleck, gather at the kick off reception for the new Pediatric Neurogenetics Center at St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix, AZ.

The center's team of expert clinicians, researchers and academics offers children and their families the most comprehensive care available. The fusion of neurological, genetic and clinical experience offered by the center's care team makes it the only facility in Arizona and one of only a few in the nation to offer this type of cutting-edge evaluation.

"Children with neurogenetic problems are often difficult to diagnose," said Dr. Vinodh Narayanan, a pediatric neurologist at St. Joe's. "They often go through extensive evaluations, exams, genetic consultations, radiological studies, and genetic testing without arriving at any conclusions."

The clinic is under the directorship of clinical geneticist Dr. Kirk Aleck and Dr. Narayanan, who lead a staff of genetic counselors, metabolic specialists, and highly trained nurse practitioners.

"We are dedicated to helping kids with complicated neurological problems that may be genetic in origin and have been difficult to diagnose," said Dr. Aleck. "The collaboration between TGen, Barrow's, and St. Joseph's Hospital creates a team that is unique and capable in making progress in diagnosing these children."

The Pediatric Neurogentics Clinic is located on the campus of St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, AZ.

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Media Contacts: Amy Erickson-TGen (602) 343-8522
Kimberly Lodge-St. Joseph's Hospital (602) 406-1050

About TGen
The mission of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is to make and translate genomic discoveries into advances in human health. Translational genomics research is a relatively new field employing innovative advances arising from the Human Genome Project and applying them to the development of diagnostics, prognostics and therapies for cancer, neurological disorders, diabetes and other complex diseases. TGen is focused on personalized medicine and plans to accomplish its goals through robust and disease-focused research programs and its state-of-the-art bioinformatics and computational biology facilities.

About St. Joseph's Medical Center
Located in the heart of Phoenix, Arizona, St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center is a 520-bed, not-for-profit hospital that provides a wide range of health, social and support services with special advocacy for the poor and underserved. St. Joe's is a nationally recognized center for quality tertiary care, medical education and research. It includes the internationally known Barrow Neurological Institute and the only Trauma Center in the state of Arizona that is verified as a Level I Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons. The hospital is also a respected center for pediatrics, maternity care, oncology, orthopedics, cardiology and many other medical services.

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