Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute

Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute

Promises made. Promises kept.
Your Impact in Action.

Aiden Maxwell’s mother, Lisa, credits the NRI with "bringing her son back" after tuberous sclerosis complex, a genetic condition resulting in benign brain tumors and severe seizures, reversed his development at the age of two.

In 2013, Aiden participated in a clinical trial at Texas Children’s that grew out of the basic research in the Cain Laboratories at the NRI. NRI researchers discovered that rapamycin, an approved cancer drug, and its analog, everolimus, proved highly effective against his severe epileptic seizures.

"It was devastating, because at 23 months he was speaking simple sentences, and he was able to do really complex things," she said. "The second those tumors calcified, it was like I had a newborn again. After two years of reading with him and responding with him, it was like we didn’t have a child anymore. He went back to no speech, and he was destructive. He would just tear stuff down. And there was no, ‘Mama, I love you,’ anymore. That was gone because of one mutated gene."

In 2013, Aiden participated in a clinical trial through the NRI. It tested everolimus, a cancer drug, which proved to be highly effective against his severe epilepsy. "Within 6 months of being on the trial, his speech was clearer. He can read, he can do math. I really believe that this drug helped create new neural connections around his tumors. He actually went seizure-free for a good two years. It was miraculous. The best part of all? I got to hear my son say, ‘I love you’ again."

—Lisa Maxwell

The Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute (NRI) at Texas Children’s Hospital is advancing the understanding of neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders through basic and translational research to ultimately mitigate the impact of these devastating disorders on human lives.

Promises made.

More than one billion people—including 300 million children—in the world suffer from some form of neurological disease. In the U.S., there are 50 million children and adults affected, and the number of children is increasing at an alarming pace. Collaborative, multidisciplinary research is needed to speed basic science discoveries in the laboratory and translation of those discoveries into more effective treatments for patients.

  • Our promise is to advance research of neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders and ultimately alleviate the impact of these devastating disorders on human lives.
  • Endowment support will secure the future of the NRI and help recruit and retain leading experts in computation, engineering, genetics, neurology, neurophysiology, neuropsychiatry, neuroscience and pathology. Investments like these will ensure that the most important medical breakthroughs in neurological disease research continue to occur at the NRI.

Promises kept.

Following are just a few examples of the exciting advances made possible through your generous support of the NRI during Promise: The Campaign for Texas Children's Hospital.

  • As part of the national Undiagnosed Diseases Network, NRI faculty have identified a number of new genes causing previously undiagnosed—or inaccurately diagnosed—disorders. Over 132 patients have been diagnosed and 31 new syndromes identified, enabling physicians to recommend alternative therapies and/or genetic counseling.
  • An NRI team found that a group of genes involved in childhood neurodegenerative disorders also impacts patients with Parkinson's disease. This research could be a key to treating Parkinson's disease.
  • NRI researchers have identified a neural circuit that is critical for feeding and is also activated by nicotine, charting a path forward for understanding and treating both eating disorders and addiction.
  • A team of NRI researchers has demonstrated that deep brain stimulation (DBS) of a specific area of the brain can restore learning and memory deficits in a mouse model of Rett Syndrome.
  • More than $20 million was raised in support of endowments that will help accelerate research. 

To learn more about  Campaign for Texas Children's Hospital  download the full Impact Report.

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