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About Sickkids
About SickKids

May 11, 2012

Freedman receives Grand Challenges grant

By Lucas Bailey

Dr. Stephen Freedman, Associate Scientist in the SickKids Research Institute and a physician in the Division of Paediatric Emergency Medicine, has received funding through the Grand Challenges Explorations initiative. The funds will support a clinical trial involving children in the emergency departments at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, and the Aga Khan Maternal and Child Care Centre, Hyderabad, both located in Pakistan.

Created by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Grand Challenges program enables individuals to test unorthodox ideas that address persistent health and development challenges.

Dr. Freedman is the co-principal investigator on a study focused on treating children with gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and small intestine). The study will evaluate the use of ondansetron to enhance oral fluid tolerance, in the hope that it reduces the need for intravenous fluid administration. The total amount of the grant is US$100,000.

If the trial is successful, the research team will have the opportunity to receive a follow-on grant of up to US$1 million to evaluate the treatments use in remote settings where conventional treatments are unavailable.

“Grand Challenges Explorations encourages individuals worldwide to expand the pipeline of ideas where creative, unorthodox thinking is most urgently needed,” said Chris Wilson, Director of Global Health Discovery and Translational Sciences at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We’re excited to provide additional funding for select grantees so that they can continue to advance their idea towards global impact.”

The grant program is open to anyone from any discipline and from any organization. Grand Challenges Explorations grants have been awarded to researchers in more than 44 countries.