I missed this very good viewpoint article on the BBC News website yesterday by Professor Neena Modi, Vice-President for Science and Research at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. Professor Modi argues that children and parents are being denied the benefits of clinical research and that until we undertake more clinical studies involving children they will continue to have to take inferior medicines. It is true.
There are some outstanding charities who have led child health research such as Action Medical Research, SPARKS, Great Ormond Street Hospital [GOSH], Children’s Liver Disease Foundation and Wellchild to name just a few, and AMRC estimates that about 40 or so of our members have funded relevant medical research over the past five years. I also recall speaking at a Medicines for Children Research Network [MCRN] hosted event two years ago which brought together clinicans, parents and researchers from across Europe. I was impressed by the network approach we have built to improve clinical research in the UK but also took back an overriding message that much much more needed to be done.
Professor Modi lays out a very clear prescription of the things that needs to be put in place to make this happen – from patients asserting more strongly the right of their children to be involved in research to developing a stronger cadre of research leaders among paediatricians.
In September, AMRC will be doing a joint meeting with MCRN for our member charities to identify more funding opportunities in this area and also areas where collaborations can be formed to achieve more. It is good to know that AMRC and the sector is playing its part to meet Professor Modi’s concerns.