Ronald A. Matricaria Institute of Molecular Medicine at Phoenix Children's Hospital

Molecules and DNA strands

Molecular, or personalized, medicine uses genetic information to determine the right treatment for the right patient at the right time.

By studying a patient's genetic makeup, researchers can identify their susceptibility to disease, predict their response to a particular drug and match the patient with a personalized therapy.

Challenges with existing molecular medicine programs include:

  • The amount of time that it takes to develop a new drug or treatment.
  • 70 percent of all medications prescribed to children have been tested only in adults.  (Clinical studies in children lead to a better understanding of the specific differences between children and adults, thus leading to the development of safer, more effective and age-appropriate treatments.)
  • Research and development of novel treatments for pediatric diseases have fallen short over past decades. 

New collaboration brings new hope to children

molecular medicine logo

Phoenix Children’s Hospital announced the creation of the Ronald A. Matricaria Institute of Molecular Medicine on Dec. 4, 2012, with the goal to unlock genetic codes and develop drug therapies to improve the outcome for thousands of young patients.

A founding gift by Ronald A. Matricaria provided the initial investment to establish the Institute. Matricaria is a member of the Phoenix Children’s Hospital board of directors and former chairman/CEO of St. Jude Medical, Inc. Additional funding for the $50 million venture will come from philanthropic contributions and grant revenue.

A critical component to this venture is Phoenix Children’s collaborative relationships with leading bioscience institutions.

The Institute is a critical piece in the development Phoenix Children's emerging academic medical program and will position the Hospital to become national contributors and leaders in molecular medicine.

A distinguished team works to cure pediatric diseases

The team of scientists and staff will focus on pediatric cancers in phase one, and expand to other pediatric diseases over time.

Two distinguished scientists are joining Phoenix Children’s and were named the Institute’s co-directors:

  • Timothy Triche, MD, PhD, Professor of Pathology, Cancer Biology, Pediatrics, Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, and Director, Center for Personalized Medicine, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and
  • Robert Arceci, MD, PhD, King Fahd Professor of Pediatric Oncology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Joining the leadership team in a collaborative role is Daniel Von Hoff, MD, Physician in Chief, Senior Investigator, Director of Translational Research for TGen, who will leverage his experience in clinical trials for adults to advance therapy development in children.

Initially, the institute will employ 50 scientists and other staff, contributing to Phoenix's growing biomedical corridor.

Additional information and resources

Learn about pediatric cancers.

Read the full press release.

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