As human experimentation continues to grow into an ever more complex and sophisticated endeavor, the relevant ethical and regulatory structures become more intricate. When pediatricians and general practitioners are invited by pharmaceutical companies to enroll their offices in a clinical trial or a multicenter observational study or when they develop their own research questions, they frequently find themselves at a loss in the human research environment. The legal and regulatory complexity may have an unintended deterring effect at a time when office-based high quality pediatric research is urgently needed to support evidence-based medicine. Unfortunately, in many instances, unaware practitioners become involved in low-risk research activities without knowing it and become entangled in legal, auditing, and compliance procedures. This paper, written in 2 parts, aims at providing a general guidance on the principles that regulate human research with a focus on pediatrics. Part 1 discusses the history, the legal framework, and the consent process and highlights some practical aspects of initial protocol submission, continued review, and institutional review board determinations with the main focus on multicenter clinical trials (industry-sponsored research). Part 2 focuses on pediatric research regulation, also known as subpart-D, and minimal risk research, which encompasses many research activities aimed at addressing questions that may emerge in pediatricians' practices (investigator-initiated research).
Copyright © 2017 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.