Kids and Clinical Trials - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Kids and Clinical Trials


MEDSTAR -- A new poll shows parents want FDA approved drugs for their kids, but are uncomfortable when it comes to letting them take part in the research. Vince Sherry reports on the dilemma facing clinical trials that study children's medicine.

11 year old Christine Wall is a cancer survivor who bravely faced surgery, chemotherapy and radiation to kill a rare tumor.

Christsine says "It's scary because you don't know what's happening. Is it growing? Is it getting stronger?"

The good news is the treatment worked. The bad news is the cancer could return. So doctors asked the family to led Christine try an experimental vaccine to reduce the risk. It was a big decision.

Mike Wall, Christine's father, says "It's a decision you're gonna' have to live with and it has to be thorough and not rushed."

Dr. Matthew Davis, M.D. says "One of the biggest fears for parents about clinical trials is that the children will be used as guinea pigs."

A recent poll shows parents are only willing to put their child in a study if the risk of harm is small. And that creates a dilemma.

Dr. Davis says "In order to understand how medicines are safest and most effective for children, we do need to have children involved in clinical trials."

To overcome their concerns, parents need to do their own research and ask a lot of questions.

"Many times the most information you're gonna' get about a drug that's available in a clinical trial is from the doctors and nurses involved in that clinical trial itself." says Davis.

To cover all the bases, the Walls also asked for advice elsewhere.

"There are doctors all over the country who may not even be familiar with the trial, but will evaluate the trial and give you an opinion of it." says Christine's father Mike.

In the end, the family decided to let Christine get the vaccination. It may be her best shot at keeping the cancer away.

Christine Wall says "You can't give up - ever. You can't let the bad things cancel out the good things, you just have to keep going."

This is Vince Sherry reporting.

Other reasons parents said they would allow their children to participate in a clinical trial include: if the disease runs in the family, if their doctor encourages it and if the research helps other kids. 17% said they would if the child received payment.

77 percent of adults say they want their children to only get FDA-approved medications.
30 percent of parents say they would allow their children to participate in a clinical trial.
Clinical trials provide children with access to new treatments and may lead to findings that help other children with similar problems.
Currently, 25 percent of the clinical trials listed on the NIH's, website are exclusively for children.
For more details, refer to our comprehensive research summary.

Online Reporter: Ashley Gatz

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