The Wyss Foundation Provides $5 Million in Funding for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Wyss/Campbell Center for Thoracic Insufficiency Syndrome

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Funding from Hansjörg Wyss now totals $10 million, aiding the clinical care of children with spinal disorders and bolstering revolutionary research, naming the Center in perpetuity

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) is thrilled to announce a gift of $5 million from the Wyss Foundation to support innovations that improve the lives of patients with thoracic insufficiency syndrome (TIS). An initial gift from Hansjörg Wyss, philanthropist and chairman of the Wyss Foundation, was made to CHOP in 2019 and honored the legacy of the late Dr. Robert Campbell, a world-renowned CHOP pediatric orthopaedic surgeon. Now, additional funding has renamed and established the Wyss/Campbell Center for Thoracic Insufficiency Syndrome, one of CHOP’s frontier programs, a trailblazing group of initiatives pioneering new advances in children’s health.

The Wyss/Campbell Center for Thoracic Insufficiency Syndrome is the first multidisciplinary program of its kind and is one of the only programs in the country dedicated to finding the right answers for children living with this complex medical condition, which affects healthy breathing and lung growth. The philanthropic impact and progress made since the 2019 gift include:

  • The innovation and development of new machine learning-based algorithms to create a “3D movie” of a patient’s lung throughout its respiratory cycle, which allows the team to leverage useful data in understanding respiratory function, determining patient-specific treatments and response to possible orthopaedic intervention and a better understanding of respiratory function as the child’s body and organs grow.
  • Laboratory-based research for the testing of a variety of imaging methods and models that answer fundamental questions about chest wall and spinal deformities and help the team develop new devices to treat some of these deformities.
  • Modification of the standard vertical expandable prosthetic titanium rib (VEPTR) distractor, the only FDA-approved device to treat children with thoracic insufficiency syndrome, that was originally created by Dr. Campbell in the late 1980s, providing the ability to adjust the amount of force surgeons use to expand the chest and lengthen the spine in the growing child, providing a more personalized treatment approach.
  • Monthly multidisciplinary clinics, launched in April 2021, where patients can be seen by experts in orthopaedics, pulmonology and physical therapy including imaging studies and lung function tests.  
  • Ongoing cutting-edge research of expanding distraction force technology, spinal tethering as an alternative to spinal fusion, measuring tether tension and illuminating growth modulation, all to provide more personalized methods of treating patients with thoracic insufficiency syndrome.

“The generosity of Hansjörg Wyss and the Wyss Foundation is powering critical scientific advancements, fueling groundbreaking clinical research, and directly improving the healthcare of children, specifically those in under-resourced families,” said Jack Flynn, MD, Chief of the Division of Orthopaedics and Richard M. Armstrong Jr. Endowed Chair in Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery at CHOP. “This support is providing our clinicians with the vital platform for innovation to make tangible improvements in the lives of the patient families we serve. The progress we have made is possible because of this crucial backing and we are excited to reach new milestones in the years to come.”

The $5 million gift will ensure the Center, its clinical team, researchers and patients have the resources needed to thrive by amplifying studies, tools and education. The Center will be named Wyss/Campbell Center for Thoracic Insufficiency Syndrome in perpetuity.  

“CHOP is making vital contributions to pediatric health, enabling children to live longer, healthier lives.  The Wyss Foundation is honored to support the team working to improve the quality of life for children living with TIS,” said Molly McUsic, President of the Wyss Foundation. “The Wyss/Campbell Center is a great way to honor the legacy of Dr. Robert Campbell and is home to life-saving treatments and some of the world’s most distinguished researchers and physicians.”

Learn more about the Wyss/Campbell Center for Thoracic Insufficiency Syndrome.

Contact: Kaitlyn Tivenan, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, 267-426-8614 or