Research helps doctors discover and learn about safe and effective medical treatments for people. Research may include new medicines, devices or therapies. It may also include examining how children grow, learn and develop or how certain conditions or diseases develop and/or act.
Clinical research is the best way doctors can find out what works and what doesn’t in treating children’s health. Many medications or devices have only been studied in adults. This is a problem because children are not just “smaller adults.” Sometimes treatments act differently in children, so it’s important to learn how new treatments may affect children by including them in clinical research.
For more information on why clinical research is important for children please visit the Department of Health and Human Sciences.
Watch Riley families talk about their research experience.
Why is it important for children to participate in clinical research?
There are also many diseases and conditions that only affect children or act differently in children. Doctors can learn more about these conditions and how to better treat them by conducting research studies. These studies may or may not involve using a medication or device and may take one visit or multiple visits. It’s important for doctors to understand diseases that affect children better so they can develop the best treatments.
Sometimes research studies don’t help a child directly, but may help doctors to better understand a disease so future generations may benefit. All of the information collected in these studies is useful and can help doctors understand how to make better treatments, medications or devices.
Can healthy children participate?
Children who are well and have no conditions or diseases can also participate in clinical research. Sometimes doctors need to compare information from children with a disease to healthy children. This is important because it’s not often clear how specific conditions impact a child’s development, health or quality of life without comparing them to someone not suffering from the same condition.
How do children participate?
Research is important, but remember it is also YOUR CHOICE. Taking part in a clinical research study is a choice a child and family will need to make and give permission to participate in. Also, the child and/or family can choose to stop participating in a study at anytime.
Before a child takes part in research, parents can and should ask any questions they may have about a study. Some examples of questions are:
- Why is this study being done?
- How will it help my child or other children?
- What are the risks?
- How long will the study last?
What types of research are being done?
Riley Hospital for Children is one of the very best hospitals in the nation. Part of the reason we’re considered in the top group is because of the clinical research we do. Some areas of research we’ve excelled in include: children’s hearing, newborn baby’s health, childhood cancer and the understanding of autism. These are only a few examples. Riley conducts research in all areas of children’s health. A complete list of research studies being conducted at Riley Hospital for Children can be found at www.indianactsi.org/clinicaltrial.
What is a Clinical Research Network?
Riley Hospital for Children has become a premier research hospital by partnering with other leading children’s hospitals throughout the world to improve Indiana’s children’s health. These partnerships are called research networks. A research network is a group of leading doctors/researchers at the best children’s hospitals across the country. They work together developing research studies which may lead to new treatments for people. Some of the doctors here at Riley are part of these clinical research networks. Having a large group of doctors working together allows for the research to be completed in a muchshorter time frame. This means changes in treatment can be made as quickly as possible.