Towards better medicines for children: PedCRIN project builds research infrastructure

Children represent 20% of the European population and their health is a major societal challenge for Europe and the world, requiring the development of evidence-based paediatric medicines and treatment strategies. Yet, there is a current lack of data specific to neonates, infants and children; over 50% of the medicines used in these groups have not been tested on them specifically, but rather, on adults. This is problematic as neonates/infants/children and adults differ widely in many ways, from their physiology to their metabolic pathways.
It is thus important to conduct paediatric trials to increase the knowledge base to develop appropriate, safe and effective health interventions for neonates, infants and children. However, there are various challenges to paediatric studies including dosage and form, recruitment, and many ethical concerns (informed consent, exposure to molecules while still developing, etc.). Therefore, the management of paediatric trials requires the highest level of ethical standards and scientific rigour.
Through PedCRIN, ECRIN aims to address the above challenges to paediatric trials. This will be achieved by bridging paediatricians and other partners across Europe (and internationally) to combine resources and expertise to conduct and manage robust studies, while minimising risk and protecting the child participants.
The three-year PedCRIN project involves five work packages, including project coordination and implementation; definition of the PedCRIN business strategy and governance structure; development of tools specific for paediatric and neonatal trials (trial methodology and (patient-centred) outcome measures, adverse event reporting, bio-sample management, ethical and regulatory database, monitoring, quality and certification); provision of operational support to selected pilot trials, which will be coordinated by ECRIN with the support of national paediatric coordinators hosted by paediatric networks (that currently exist or are being set-up); and communication targeting user communities (including industry partners) and policymakers, and aiming to empower patients and parents.

PedCRIN has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme (INFRADEV-3 call) under grant agreement number 731046.

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Twitter: @ECRIN_ERIC

03/02/17, Francesca Rocchi