The Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital Joins Four Other Top Research Institutions in Joint Initiative Focused on Single Ventricle Heart Defects

$5.7 million was awarded across the group as they set out with the goal of accelerating scientific discoveries and development of treatments for single ventricle heart defects

January 21, 2020

Columbus, OhioThe Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital announced today that it is the recipient of a $1 million Innovation Fund, endowed by the nonprofit foundation: Additional Ventures. In receiving this funding, AWRI will join four other research institutions in a large-scale coordinated research effort centered on identifying new avenues to functionally cure patients with single ventricle heart defects (SVDs). 

Single ventricle heart defects are rare and incurable (affecting about 5 in 100,000 newborns each year), and among the most challenging and costliest to treat. This group will focus on cutting-edge research to better understand the root causes of SVDs and to develop functional cures for those living with this condition. 

“Forty years ago, children with single ventricle heart defects didn’t survive past infancy,” said Erin Hoffmann, Additional Ventures president and co-founder. “While surgical advancements have vastly improved the chance of survival for these children, it also means that we must now focus on high-impact research to provide new treatment options that allow them to live long, normal lives.”

Nationwide Children’s Tissue Engineering Program leaders, Christopher Breuer, MD, and Toshiharu Shinoka, MD, PhD, were the first in the world to tissue engineer blood vessels and implant them in human infants for repair of congenital heart defects. Now, Nationwide Children’s is home to the first FDA-approved U.S. human trial to investigate the safety and effectiveness of using tissue engineering to repair congenital heart defects.

“I am so appreciative of the very generous gift from Additional Ventures. These funds will be used to extend our research platform to include more high risk, high reward projects that are more challenging to fund through more traditional grant mechanisms. In addition, we hope to form new collaborations with investigators at the Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in the hope of leveraging all of the extraordinary resources at this institution in order to advance the care and treatment of children born with congenital cardiac anomalies,” said Christopher K. Breuer, MD, director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine at Nationwide Children's Hospital and the Nationwide Endowed Chair in Surgical Research. 

“Our goal is to provide a platform for scientists and clinicians to test bold, transformative ideas, and then the space to come together and share their learnings. By attracting these      world-class experts and incentivizing risk-taking, we believe we can make a significant impact for these kids in a short amount of time,” said Kirstie Keller, PhD, Director of Scientific Programs at Additional Ventures.

For more information on Additional Ventures and the five Innovation Funds please visit additionalventures.org.

About The Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital
Named to the Top 10 Honor Roll on U.S. News & World Report’s 2019-20 list of “Best Children’s Hospitals,” Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of America’s largest not-for-profit freestanding pediatric health care systems providing wellness, preventive, diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitative care for infants, children and adolescents, as well as adult patients with congenital disease. As home to the Department of Pediatrics of The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Nationwide Children’s faculty train the next generation of pediatricians, scientists and pediatric specialists. The Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of the Top 10 National Institutes of Health-funded free-standing pediatric research facilities in the U.S., supporting basic, clinical, translational and behavioral health research. The AWRI houses a Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) facility for producing gene-and cell-based therapies; one of the largest biorepositories in North America; and comprehensive genome sequencing and analysis capabilities. More information is available at NationwideChildrens.org/Research.

About Additional Ventures 
Additional Ventures is a nonprofit foundation that aims to accelerate research progress and improve clinical care for children born with congenital heart defects (CHDs) and their families, so they can live long, healthy lives. To find more information and sign up for news updates, visit additionalventures.org.

About Nationwide Children's Hospital

Named to the Top 10 Honor Roll on U.S. News & World Report’s 2019-20 list of “Best Children’s Hospitals,” Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of America’s largest not-for-profit freestanding pediatric health care systems providing wellness, preventive, diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitative care for infants, children and adolescents, as well as adult patients with congenital disease. Nationwide Children’s has a staff of more than 13,000 providing state-of-the-art pediatric care during more than 1.5 million patient visits annually. As home to the Department of Pediatrics of The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Nationwide Children’s physicians train the next generation of pediatricians and pediatric specialists. The Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of the Top 10 National Institutes of Health-funded freestanding pediatric research facilities. More information is available at NationwideChildrens.org.