Children remain underrepresented in drug research says Purdue expert, new tools can help

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Children continue to be underrepresented in drug and medical research, making them less likely to receive personalized health-care treatments for life-threatening conditions such as cancer and infectious disease, says Purdue University professor of chemistry Peter Kissinger.  New tools are about to change this.

Prescribing and administering drugs is especially difficult because young children cannot describe their feelings with any precision, and supportive data from clinical trials has been lacking. Many drugs are also used off label.

“One area where we believe we can make a difference very quickly is in pediatric intensive care where patients have limited blood volume and their health status can change very quickly,” Kissinger said. “Studies have shown that we can now collect blood samples of as little as 0.1 percent of an ounce in a preprogrammed way that reduces labor, blood waste, and infection risk, while still allowing quality measurements. Some chemical diagnostics can now be made with a million-fold reduction in volume compared to 1980. This opens a number of opportunities for pediatric health care, especially for very young children."

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