Giving Kid's Drugs A Closer Look

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Science  17 Mar 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5460, pp. 1917
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5460.1917a

A majority of the drugs used to treat seriously ill children have never been tested on children, meaning that doctors are often in the dark about potential side effects and proper dosages. To address such problems, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation last week announced that it will donate $8 million over the next 2 years to establish the Glaser Pediatric Research Network to expedite drug studies.

Until this year, when the Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act took effect, manufacturers weren't required to test drugs on children, notes Philip Pizzo, chief of pediatrics at the Harvard- affiliated Boston Children's Hospital. The new network, he says, will create “a sustained infrastructure” that will make it much easier to do coordinated clinical studies for everything from cancer to psychiatric illnesses. Research priorities for the network—which includes children's hospitals affiliated with Harvard; Stanford; the University of California, Los Angeles; Baylor College of Medicine in Houston; and the University of California, San Francisco—will be set by a scientific advisory panel that is yet to be named.

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