NIH Awards $8.5 Million for Research on Pharmaceuticals for Children
Studying drugs in pediatric populations is challenging because drugs often affect children differently than they do adults. The scarcity of pediatric studies limits the ability of doctors and scientists to predict drug dosing, safety and efficacy in children. To address this gap, the National Institutes of Health announced 18 grants to help determine outcome measures and increase the likelihood of success of future trials of treatments for children.
Crane: Crane: The NIH recently awarded $8.5 million for research on children’s pharmaceuticals.
Dr. Hirschfeld: We need to understand if the diseases that are seen in children, such as for instance high blood pressure, are the same diseases as they are in adults, and the same causes, or if they are different.
Crane: Dr. Steven Hirschfeld is the associate director for clinical research at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, which is funding the awards.
Dr. Hirschfeld: So this initiative is designed to be what we hope will be a first attempt at looking at multiple outcomes for diseases that are of importance to children, and we believe also of importance to adults, and will allow us to understand some of the differences between children, children at different age groups, and adults, and adults in different age groups.
Crane: The award will sponsor 18 studies in pediatric cardiology, neonatology and pediatric neurology at institutions throughout the country.
Dr. Hirschfeld: We were particularly interested in conditions related to childhood seizures, related to high blood pressure, and related to treatments of infections in very young children.
Crane: Dr. Hirschfeld says the causes and development of those conditions are different in children than in adults. But until now, children have not been as closely studied as adults for various reasons.
Dr. Hirschfeld: Some have to do with the technical challenges. Some have to do with perceptions of the vulnerability of children, and concerns about protection of children in research. And some have to do with misunderstanding the diseases in children, or not having enough understanding, and some have to do with the fact that most children are relatively healthy.
Crane: Dr. Hirschfeld adds that cancer trials in children are a good model for systematic clinical research. About half of kids with cancer enroll in trials, and they generally have better disease outcomes than adults. For more information on the awards for pediatric studies, visit www.nichd.nih.gov. This is Kristine Crane, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Kristine Crane
Sound Bite: Dr. Steven Hirschfeld
Topic: children, pharmaceuticals, kids, drugs, research, studies, treatment, childhood seizures, childhood high blood pressure