Boston Children's Hospital Milestones

1869

Boston Children’s Hospital opens as a 20-bed facility at 9 Rutland Street in Boston's South End.

1891 

Children's establishes the nation's first laboratory for the modification and production of bacteria-free milk.

1920

Dr. William Ladd devises procedures for correcting various congenital defects such as intestinal malformations, launching the specialty of pediatric surgery.

1922

Dr. James Gamble analyzes the composition of body fluids and develops a method for intravenous feeding that saves the lives of thousands of infants at risk of dehydration from diarrhea.

1932

Dr. Louis Diamond characterizes Rh disease, in which a fetus's blood is incompatible with its mother's. Diamond later develops exchange transfusion to treat the disease.

1938

Dr. Robert Gross performs the world's first successful surgical procedure to correct a congenital cardiovascular defect, ushering in the era of modern pediatric cardiac surgery.

1947

Dr. Sidney Farber achieves the world's first successful remission of acute leukemia. He goes on to found the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

1954

Dr. John Enders and his colleagues win the Nobel Prize for successfully culturing the polio virus in 1949, making possible the development of the Salk and Sabin vaccines. Enders and his team went on to culture the measles virus.

1971

Dr. Judah Folkman publishes "Tumor angiogenesis: therapeutic implications" in the New England Journal of Medicine. It is the first paper to describe Folkman's theory that tumors recruit new blood vessels in order to grow.

1978

Dr. Stuart Orkin develops restriction endonuclease mapping to diagnose thalassemia in utero.

1983

Children's physicians report the first surgical correction of hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a defect in which an infant is born without a left ventricle. The procedure is the first to correct what previously had been a fatal condition.

1985

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute funds a major research program in molecular genetics, the first HHMI program at a pediatric hospital.

1986

Drs. Louis Kunkel and Stuart Orkin and their research teams develop the technique of positional cloning to identify the genes responsible for Duchenne muscular dystrophy and chronic granulomatous disease, respectively.

1989

Researchers in Neurology and Genetics discover that beta amyloid, a protein that accumulates in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease, is toxic to neurons, indicating the possible cause of the degenerative disease.

1990

Dr. Joseph Murray, chief of Plastic Surgery emeritus, wins the Nobel Prize for his pioneering work in organ transplantation.

1996

Boston Combined Residency Program (BCRP) formed.

1998

Dr. Anthony Atala successfully transplants laboratory-grown bladders into dogs, a major advance in the growing field of tissue engineering.

1999

Dr. Todd Golub first uses gene expression microarrays to differentiate cancers. 

2000

Dr. Frederick Alt finds that end-joining proteins maintain the stability of DNA, helping to prevent the chromosomal changes that precede cancer. 

2001

Children's performs the world's first successful fetal repair of hypoplastic left heart syndrome in a 19-week-old fetus.

2002

Dr. Nader Rifai co-authors a landmark study showing that a simple and inexpensive blood test for C-reactive protein is a more powerful predictor of a person's risk of heart attack or stroke than LDL cholesterol. 

2003

Drs. Heung Bae Kim and Tom Jaksic develop, test and successfully perform the world's first-ever serial transverse enteroplasty (STEP) procedure, a potential lifesaving surgical procedure for patients with short bowel syndrome. 

2004

Children's surgeons perform New England's first multi-visceral organ transplant when an 11-month-old boy receives a stomach, pancreas, liver and small intestine from a single donor. 

2005

Dr. Stephen Harrison and colleagues show how a key part of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) changes shape, triggering other changes that allow the AIDS virus to enter and infect cells. 

2006

Dr. Scott Armstrong identifies self-renewal genes that turn a normal blood cell progenitor into a leukemic stem cell. 

2006

Dr. David Pellman discovers a set of genes whose loss is only lethal in hyperdiploid cells and are therefore therapeutic targets in hyperdiploid cancer cells. 

2006

Dr. Hannah Kinney links sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) to abnormalities in the brainstem serotonin system, which regulates breathing, blood pressure, body heat and arousal. 

2007

Charles Nelson proves that abandoned children do much better cognitively if moved from institutions to foster care. 

2007

Dr. Len Zon discovers that prostaglandin E2 greatly stimulates the growth of blood and probably other tissue stem cells.

2007

Dr. Lois Smith finds that omega-3-polyunsaturated fatty acids reduce pathological retinal angiogenesis and are a potential therapy for retinopathy of prematurity. 

2008

Dr. George Daley discovers how to reprogram human somatic cells to pleuripotent stem cells with defined transcription factors. 

2008

Dr. Chris Walsh and his colleagues identify several genetic loci that cause autism. 

2008

Dr. Rani George finds that activating mutations in the receptor tyrosine kinase ALK cause some cases of neuroblastoma. 

2008

Drs Vijay Sankaran and Stuart Orkin discover that the fetal hemoglobin to adult hemoglobin switch is controlled by the BCL11A transcription factor. This solves a decades old problem in hematology and has important implications for the treatment of sickle cell disease and thalassemias. 

2008

Dr. Zhi He observes that stimulation of the mTOR pathway greatly increases axon regeneration after CNS injury. 

2008 Manton Center for Orphan Disease Research founded.

2009

Immune Disease Institute joins Children's Hospital Boston as the Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine. 

2009

Drs. George Daley and Richard Gregory show that the microRNA, Lin 28, plays an important role in germ cell development and cancer. 

2009

Drs. Len Zon and George Daley discover that blood flow triggers development of hematopoietic stem cells. 

2011

Drs. Luigi Notarangelo, Sung-Yun Pai and David Williams achieve the first successful treatment of severe combined immunodeficiency by gene therapy in the US.

2012

Dr. Heung Bae Kim develops novel method to stretch arteries in vivo for repair of arterial defects.

2012

Standardized Clinical Assessment and Management Plans (SCAMPS) method developed for reducing costs and variability of care and improving outcomes. 

2013

Drs. Amy Starmer, Ted Sectish and Chris Landrigan develop a patient handoff method (I-PASS) that greatly reduces medical errors and preventable adverse events

2014

Drs. Jeff Burns and Tracy Wolbrink launch OPENPediatrics, an innovative web-based digital learning platform linking physicians and nurses across the world

2015  Dr. Joel Hirschhorn and others identify a large number of genes that contribute to obesity and body fat distribution. 

2015  Dr. Len Zon defines the perivascular hematopoietic stem cell niche.  
2015 Dr Beth Stevens wins MacArthur “Genius” Award for defining the role of microglia in synapse pruning in development and Alzheimer’s disease.
2015 Dr Len Zon shows that reversion to a neural crest identity initiates the first cancerous cell in melanoma.