The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) will receive a $500,000 grant from the Education and Research Foundation of the American Medical Association (AMA), to be used for pediatric research.
"It gives the AMA great pleasure to provide these much-needed funds to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development," said AMA President Percy Wooton. "I am confident that this grant will play an important role in the quest to alleviate suffering among the children of our nation, and indeed, the world."
"The award will be used primarily for pediatric pharmacology research, an area of great potential benefit for both children and the physicians who care for them," said NICHD Director Duane Alexander, MD. Dr. Alexander noted that three-quarters of all medications marketed today do not carry FDA-approved labeling for use in children and that only five of the 80 drugs most frequently used in newborns and infants are labeled for pediatric use.
"The AMA has long been a champion of basic research, and these funds will be especially helpful as we intensify our efforts in the area of pediatric drug research," Dr. Alexander said. "We are truly grateful for the generosity of this gift."
The half-million dollar grant is being made as a complement to the AMA's Dr. Nathan Davis Awards program, which honors public officials who have provided outstanding service to the public. The program was named for the founder of the American Medical Association and is currently in its tenth year of honoring both career and elected officials at the local, state, and federal levels. Unlike the Dr. Nathan Davis Award, however, the Dr. Nathan Davis Grant is being presented to an institution--the NICHD--to benefit biomedical research and to advance the public health of our nation's children.
Specifically, NICHD will use the funds to support studies in its Pediatric Pharmacology Research Unit (PPRU) Network. The PPRU was established four years ago, to provide pharmacology researchers with facilities to conduct their research, scientific expertise, and access to pediatric patients.
Dr. Alexander explained that for new drugs or drugs that have been patented, drug companies provide the funding for PPRU Network studies which gather the information needed for pediatric drug labeling. However, drug companies do not have the financial incentive to conduct the necessary testing on drugs which are not patented, a category which includes some of the drugs most frequently prescribed to children. The AMA's grant will be used to support the testing of as many non-patented pediatric drugs as possible. Priority will be given to those drugs most often prescribed or most in need of study. Information gained from these studies will be provided to the FDA for pediatric drug labeling.
The AMA's Education and Research Foundation gave its last Dr. Nathan Davis Grant to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, under the direction of Dr. Anthony S. Fauci. This prior grant of $250,000 was given for AIDS research.