The NIH-funded Pediatric Clinical Research Center (PCRC) at UCSF, has a forty-year history of translating ideas and discoveries into clinical practices that save children’s lives. The PCRC is part of the Clinical & Translational Science Institute at UCSF, a campus-wide institute dedicated to the rapid translation of research into improvements in patient and community health.
Among the treatments first evaluated at the PCRC were AZT (aziothymidine), which prevents mother-to-newborn transmission of HIV, artificial "surfactant" to lubricate and help open the lungs of newborns in respiratory distress, human growth hormone produced through genetic engineering ( approved by the FDA just six years after UCSF researchers discovered the gene), and lifesaving combination therapies for neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer.
Clinical researchers at the PCRC have tested not only drugs, but also daring new procedures and innovative medical devices, including continuous positive airway pressure to better mechanically ventilate newborns and novel surgical procedures to repair or forestall organ abnormalities that result from chronic diaphragmatic hernia -- a birth defect that results in life-threatening organ abnormalities.
The PCRC encompasses three research units—a discrete, five-bed inpatient facility located within the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, staffed by research nurses; an adjacent outpatient clinic which has 2 exam rooms and provides nursing and infrastructure for outpatient studies; and a specialized research outreach team to carry out studies in the Intensive Care Nursery and Pediatric Heart Center.
The PCRC is also supported by a full-time child developmental psychologist, bionutrition services, a specialized sample processing laboratory, and an early-phase clinical trial unit.