Advancing Pediatric Clinical Trials: Examples of Our Work
COVID-19 research is moving quickly, and I-ACT for Children is on the front lines advocating for the research needed to develop agents that are proven safe and effective for children.
The COVID-19 Emergency Access Program allows all biopharmaceutical and other companies who are developing COVID-19 treatments and vaccines to use the organization’s pediatric research network to conduct their pediatric trials. Under the new emergency program, non-member companies can work with I-ACT for Children to plan and execute COVID-19 clinical trials and access a global research network designed to generate regulatory-grade scientific data.
Learn more about our Emergency Access Program by clicking here.
On May 28, I-ACT for Children held a virtual workshop – “Developing Pediatric Treatments for COVID-19” – with regulators, biopharma developers and experts on the front lines of treating children with COVID-19. Speakers shared the latest on the clinical presentation of COVID-19 in children, the state of COVID-19 therapeutic research and innovative approaches to collecting the data required to advance safe and effective COVID-19 therapies for children. More than 300 people participated in the workshop. Recommendations from the workshop have been submitted for publication consideration to a peer-reviewed journal. The workshop agenda, presentations and a recording of the meeting can be found here.
One of our major goals is to build infrastructure through pre-competitive projects that will develop tools and systems to benefit all pediatric clinical trials.
I-ACT for Children has a growing network of pre-qualified pediatric clinical sites that can be activated quickly for our members. A map of the current site network can be found here: https://www.iactc.org/i-act-for-children-site-network/. Each site has been vigorously vetted to become an I-ACT for Children network site. Our network sites can access a centralized IRB and are connected through a site-network portal where they can share best practices, education and tools.
While many GCP training programs exist for PIs and research staff, they typically have little information specific to pediatric research. This has forced sponsors to spend time and money developing their own training material – resulting in study sites having to complete multiple programs. In addition to wasting resources and increasing costs, this repetitive training contributes to delays in trial start-up.
I-ACT for Children is collaborating with the Duke Clinical Research Institute to develop a pediatric-focused GCP training supplement that will be accepted by the pediatric research community and industry sponsors, with the goal of eliminating the need for multiple trainings and speeding the time to trial enrollment.
The use of QI measures has significant potential to enhance clinical trials in children by speeding start-up times, increasing enrollment and improving patient retention rates.
I-ACT for Children has launched the pilot phase of our quality improvement initiative at the first 17 sites in our network. This pilot phase of the Pediatric Improvement Collaborative for Clinical Trials & Research (PICTR®) program will assess the feasibility of collecting QI data across our broader site network.
In 2020, we will work with Dr. Peter Margolis and his team at the James M. Anderson Center for Health Systems Excellence at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center to expand the program to 40 I-ACT for Children network sites. PICTR® will capture clinical trial operational data from each site that can be analyzed to determine where best practices are happening and where processes could improve. These data then will be shared and applied across the network to create a continuous learning environment designed to maximize trial speed, quality and efficiency.
Only 20 percent of devices are approved for use in pediatric patients. The pediatric device space is smaller than the pharmaceutical field, so it faces even greater challenges in patient recruitment and study completion.
I-ACT is working with device experts at Children’s National Health System to develop guidance documents for industry and research centers that will provide best practices for designing, reviewing and completing pediatric device trials. The goal: accelerate the development of pediatric medical devices so that the devices used in children have actually been designed for them.
- More rapid completion of testing and approval of new DMD therapies
- Reduced clinical trial start-up and execution time
- Enhanced patient experience, reduced number on placebo
- Potential for rapidly testing combination therapies
I-ACT for Children co-hosted an FDA workshop on May 15, 2019, with the Duke Clinical Research Institute to understand the gaps in knowledge related to e-cigarette use among youth and seek recommendations on where future FDA resources should be directed to fill those gaps. Click here for more information.
I-ACT for Children hosted its 1st annual Pediatric Research Innovation Forum on Oct. 15-16, 2019, which focused on the inclusion of adolescents in adult clinical trials. The goal of the meeting was to drive innovation in this area by bringing key stakeholders together to agree on what’s known, identify continuing challenges and propose solutions to address those challenges.
There was robust engagement throughout the meeting and participation from multiple stakeholder groups – including leading scientific researchers, FDA representatives, patient advocates and pharma company research leaders. The meeting drew High-level participants from across the United States as well as from Spain, England, Canada and Germany.
I-ACT for Children now will work with meeting participants to develop a recommendations document for publication and dissemination, which will be informed by the Working Group sessions held during the meeting. Click here for meeting materials.
We have completed a number of proprietary projects on behalf of our I-ACT for Children members. These include: