Vascular Anomalies Medical Expert Receives Debut Liam’s Land Grant of $40,000 for
Lymphatic Malformation Research
LITTLE ROCK, AR. (May 4, 2012)/SAVANNAH, GA (May 30, 2012) – A
vascular anomalies expert at the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research
Institute (ACHRI) and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
(UAMS) is the inaugural recipient of a medical grant from Liam’s Land,
a non-profit founded in Savannah, Georgia that champions research into
Gresham Richter, MD, a surgeon and researcher on the ACH campus, will
receive the $20,000 Kathryn Barton Hobbs Medical Grant funded by
Liam’s Land each of the next two years to continue his investigations
into the causes of lymphatic malformations; research geared to finding
treatment options and prevention strategies. Dr. Richter is also an
associate professor of Pediatric Otolaryngology in the UAMS College of
“Children with lymphatic malformations deserve more answers and a
cure,” Richter said. “We are excited to have Liam’s Land as a resource
to help kids affected by this disorder.”
Lymphatic malformations are clusters of channels and cysts that fill
with a type of fluid that is difficult for the vascular system to
process, resulting in intense swelling. They typically develop in the
neck or underarm areas, though they may affect any part of the body.
Researchers have yet to find a cause of lymphatic malformations,
though there is evidence they begin during fetal development. More
than 1 in 4,000 children are born with lymphatic malformations, and
they usually undergo dozens of surgeries before adulthood and can
suffer breathing and eating impairments as well as levels of
The program where Richter works at ACHRI is one of only a few in the
world dedicated to identifying a cure for lymphatic malformations and
other vascular anomalies affecting children.
“Identifying what drives lymphatic malformation growth is vital
information. If Dr. Richter and his lab can identify what promotes
this development, there is great hope for finding an antidote to stop
growth and cure this challenging disease,” said Janet Steffen, RN,
founder and executive director of Liam’s Land Organization (501c3).
The Steffens’ son, Liam, was born with lymphatic malformation in 2010.
Just over 2 years old, Liam has already endured multiple surgeries and
MRIs. The organization’s first grant is named in honor of Kathryn
Barton Hobbs, who lost her life to lymphatic malformation more than 10
In addition, Steffen has launched an international LM registry to
track the incidence and prevalence of LM as well as examining medical,
environmental, and workplace exposures to parents while pregnant.
The registry will also help track outcomes in order to insure proper
medical treatment and care. Steffen reports that many physicians may
see LM once in their career and not be fully experienced in treatment.
Unfortunately this can lead to poor outcomes. Steffen stresses that
parents ultimately seek physicians and institutions that care for many
LM cases. It is her hope that Liam’s Land will be a resource for
prestigious multi-institutional children hospitals in their work
developing “stands of care and best practice” to encourage proper
treatment and procedures for lymphatic malformation patients
“We are excited about funding ACHRI and UAMS’s research. Dr.
Richter’s initial success is already a beacon of hope for those with
lymphatic malformation, “stated Steffen. Arkansas Children’s Hospital
is the only pediatric medical center in Arkansas and one of the
largest in the United States serving children from birth to age 21.
The campus is celebrating 100 years of providing Care, Love and Hope
in 2012. The private, nonprofit healthcare facility boasts an
internationally renowned reputation for medical breakthroughs and
intensive treatments, unique surgical procedures and forward-thinking
medical research – all dedicated to fulfilling our mission of
enhancing, sustaining and restoring children’s health and development.
ACHRI provides a research environment on the ACH campus to meet the
needs of the UAMS faculty. Research scientists at ACHRI conduct
clinical, basic science, and health services research for the purpose
of treating illnesses, preventing disease and improving the health of
For more information about lymphatic malformation and the work Liam’s
Land is providing to find the cause, treatment, and cure, go to