Science in Action – Childhood Diseases

Sponsored by COSMIC and supported by a number of other charitable organisations, the research team at St Mary’s and Imperial College are carrying out a programme of research into life-threatening childhood diseases with the ultimate aim of developing new methods of treatment.

The Human Genome

Over the past decade, there has been a major revolution in medical science through the unravelling of the human genome, and the development of sophisticated new methods for studying both the genes and proteins which are involved in the response to infections and life-threatening illnesses.

The Human Genome Project, which successfully identified every gene in the human body, has provided the research team with an invaluable set of tools. The task facing the scientists now is to identify what role each gene plays in the susceptibility to disease, and the progress of disease once contracted.

The diseases being investigated by the research team are mainly Kawasaki disease, meningococcal disease, Sceptic Shock and meningitis.

To find out more about some of the ground breaking research supported by COSMIC – click on one of the images below:



Malaria kills over a million children in Africa each year, despite the availability of effective antimalarial drugs. It has not been clear why the children die, even after receiving treatment. The St Mary’s/Imperial College research team undertook a study to understand the reasons why the children die. By taking sophisticated intensive care methods and monitoring … Continue reading Malaria

Kawasaki Disease Research Fund

Kawasaki disease is a rare condition that mainly affects children under the age of five. The characteristic symptoms are a high temperature that lasts for more than five days, with: a rash swollen glands in the neck dry cracked lips red fingers or toes red eyes It is thought that Kawasaki disease is caused by an infection, … Continue reading Kawasaki Disease Research Fund


Fighting Tuberculosis In 1996, Professor Levin’s research team identified the first human gene that causes susceptibility to tuberculosis. The paper revealing this discovery is one of the most frequently cited papers in tuberculosis research in the last ten years.  

Meningococcal Disease

Ground Breaking Research   The team at St Mary’s investigated the reasons why some patients with meningococcal suffer blood clots and loss of limbs and others come through the disease relatively unscathed. The team ground breaking discovering identified a new defect in a specific protein controlling blood clotting. This discovery opened up a whole new … Continue reading Meningococcal Disease

Emotional Support for Parents

  Supporting well being COSMIC has funded research which looked at the provision of information to families to help improve psychological outcomes following a child’s admission to paediatric intensive care (PICU). The booklet being tested as part of this research is targeted at families of children aged 4 years and above, but the researchers also … Continue reading Emotional Support for Parents

Sleep and Respiratory Research

A fields of research that COSMIC have supported is research into respiratory and sleep disorders in children. Many children admitted to the PICU have trouble breathing or or continued respirataory or sleep problems. Due to the support of Imperial College along with kind grants from the Sydney and Phyliss Charitable Trust we now have an … Continue reading Sleep and Respiratory Research

Allergy Research

The Paediatric Department at St Mary’s Hospital is known for its incredible clinical expertise as well as the cutting edge research performed by the Paediatric Research Unit. One of the services conducting this kind of research are the Allergy Team, who work on anything from general allergies such as pollen and bee-stings to life-threatening food … Continue reading Allergy Research