Burns Receives Pioneer Award for KD Research

Jane Burns, MD

UC San Diego’s Pediatrician and Professor, Jane Burns, MD, received the Pioneer Award for Kawasaki Disease Research. Chosen for her outstanding commitment, compassion, and life-long career to Kawasaki Disease research, awareness and treatment, Dr. Burns was the first to receive the Pioneer Award by Dr. Kawasaki and the KD Foundation.

Physicians, research scientists, KD kids, KD families, and friends from around the world joined for a heart-felt evening at the La Costa Resort and Spa on November 7th, 2009. Everyone attending the gala had the opportunity to meet Dr. Tomisaku Kawasaki and Dr. Jane C.Burns - the Guests of Honor at the "To Save A Child's Heart" gala.

Dr. Burns and Dr. Tomisaku Kawasaki established the Kawasaki Disease Research Center on the University of California campus in San Diego in 1994. Fifteen years later the center is closer than ever before to unlocking the mysteries of KD.

It is the dream of Dr. Burns to ensure the funding of an Endowed Chair of Kawasaki Disease Research at the Department of Pediatrics, UC San Diego. The research chair will insure that her work and that of her colleagues will continue to live on into posterity, saving young lives for generations to come.

“We’ve no idea how many more cases go untreated,” Dr. Burns shares, concernedly. “We hope our outreach, in San Diego, and around the globe, will help change that.”

Kawasaki Disease – a disease that can only be clinically diagnosed – affect more than 50 new patients at Rady Children’s Hospital, San Diego. By December this year, more than 4,000 new patients will be diagnosed with Kawasaki Disease in the U.S., and over 20,000 new patients in Asia. If untreated, Kawasaki Disease can lead to lethal coronary artery aneurysms.

The disease is named after Tomisaku Kawasaki, a Japanese pediatrician who first described the illness in medical literature in 1967. Although it is more prevalent among children of Asian and Pacific Island descent, KD affects people of all racial and ethnic groups. It is estimated that more than 4,200 children are diagnosed with Kawasaki Disease in the United States each year.

Dr. Burns and her colleagues around the world, continue to conduct on-going research to develop a diagnostic test so that children with the disease can be cured.

WRITTEN BY: Shivani Singh, Sr. Writer, Dept of Pediatrics, UC San Diego s1singh@ucsd.edu