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University of Iowa News Release

April 12, 2006

Neonatal Research Network Selects Children's Hospital Of Iowa NICU

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of the Children's Hospital of Iowa at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics is now part of an elite national network of research centers.

The Children's Hospital of Iowa NICU was one of 16 centers chosen from a large pool of applicants to be a part of the Neonatal Research Network of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), a branch of the National Institutes of Health. The selection includes a five-year, $1.37 million award from the NICHD.

The network was developed to conduct research studies to investigate the safety and effectiveness of treatment strategies to care for premature and critically ill newborn infants. The network was started in 1986 by NICHD and is made up of select medical institutions across the country. Applications for participation in the network are accepted once every five years and reviewed for scientific merit by a panel of experts.

"Of the hundreds of academic pediatrics departments and neonatology units in the country, there are only a handful that are chosen to be a part of the network. So it is nice recognition for our team and what we've accomplished. We are confident we will be able to make significant contributions to the network's research, which, in turn, will help to improve the care of babies throughout the United States and the world," said Edward Bell, M.D., principal investigator for the award and professor of pediatrics in the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and vice-chair for faculty affairs in the department.

Bell said the best way to do multicenter research is to use an existing network that already has the infrastructure and communications network, rather than trying to recruit other hospitals to try to help with the research.

"We have answered most of the big questions in neonatology. Now we are focusing on questions that take a large number of patients enrolled in a study to answer. The most important new therapies are evaluated in multicenter trials," Bell said.

Bell said that participating in the network is a good way for the Children's Hospital of Iowa NICU to participate in some of the biggest, most important clinical research studies involving newborns.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5137 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 5224-1178

MEDIA CONTACT: Becky Soglin, 319 335-6660; Writer: Andrea Schreiber