Developments in the Design, Conduct, and Reporting of Child Health Trials

Pediatrics. 2024 Jun 4:e2024065799. doi: 10.1542/peds.2024-065799. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

To identify priority areas to improve the design, conduct, and reporting of pediatric clinical trials, the international expert network, Standards for Research (StaR) in Child Health, was assembled and published the first 6 Standards in Pediatrics in 2012. After a recent review summarizing the 247 publications by StaR Child Health authors that highlight research practices that add value and reduce research "waste," the current review assesses the progress in key child health trial methods areas: consent and recruitment, containing risk of bias, roles of data monitoring committees, appropriate sample size calculations, outcome selection and measurement, and age groups for pediatric trials. Although meaningful change has occurred within the child health research ecosystem, measurable progress is still disappointingly slow. In this context, we identify and review emerging trends that will advance the agenda of increased clinical usefulness of pediatric trials, including patient and public engagement, Bayesian statistical approaches, adaptive designs, and platform trials. We explore how implementation science approaches could be applied to effect measurable improvements in the design, conducted, and reporting of child health research.