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New network will advance treatments for children

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Three leaders from Children’s National Health System are among the investigators of a new FDA-funded program created to launch a global clinical trials network. The initial $1 million grant from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) establishes a network among the Institute for Advanced Clinical Trials for Children (I-ACT for Children), the National Capital Consortium for Pediatric Device Innovation (NCC-PDI) (affiliated with Children’s National), PEDSnet, the James M. Anderson Center for Health Systems Excellence and the Critical Path Institute, to address the unmet medical needs of children by improving quality and efficiency in developing innovative pediatric drugs and devices.

Along with the fiscal 2017 funds, there is a potential for $1 million in funding each year for an additional four years to I-ACT for Children, contingent on annual appropriations and the availability of funding. I-ACT for Children is a new independent, nonprofit organization that works to improve the planning and completion of pediatric clinical trials. PEDSnet and the Anderson Center will serve as the network’s data and learning core, while the Critical Path Institute will serve as the regulatory science core and NCC-PDI will serve as the medical device core.

From Children’s National, the investigators include: Peter Kim, M.D., Ph.D., vice president of the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation; Kolaleh Eskandanian, Ph.D., executive director of the Sheikh Zayed Institute and NCC-PDI and Johannes van den Anker, M.D., Ph.D., division chief of Clinical Pharmacology and vice chair of Experimental Therapeutics.

“We are pleased that this grant addresses innovative reengineering of the pediatric device trials system,” says Eskandanian. “In contrast with drug trials, device trials are generally less optimally understood in academic medical centers and clinical sites.”

She explains that children have medical device needs that are considerably different from adults. Designing devices for children requires considerations such as growth and development, anatomical and physiological differences. Often, the lack of available devices for children forces clinicians to use an adult device off-label or to improvise. Off-label use may be the only option, but such use can bring risks of serious adverse events that could be avoided if there were more FDA–approved pediatric devices.

“Thanks to partnership with I-ACT we will be able to address the pressing need to improve clinical trials and post-market monitoring of pediatric devices,” says Eskandanian.

Leading the network as principal investigator is Edward Connor, M.D., president of I-ACT for Children and an emeritus professor of Pediatrics, Microbiology, Immunology, and Tropical Medicine at George Washington University School of Medicine and Children’s National.

Work has been initiated to integrate network components and engage public and private shareholders. Next steps include selecting priority projects for implementation in 2018 and beyond, and scaling the network in North America and abroad.

Funding for this work was made possible, in part, by the Food and Drug Administration through grant 1 U18 FD 006297. Views expressed in written materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does any mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organization imply endorsement by the United States Government.

Pediatric surgical innovation symposium approaches

This year, there were a record number of entries (91) for the National Capital Consortium for Pediatric Device Innovation (NCC-PDI) competition, which will be held  Oct. 8 at the fourth annual Pediatric Surgical Innovation Symposium, hosted by the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation at Children’s National Health System. Twelve finalists have been selected to pitch their pediatric medical device innovation, and up to six innovations will be awarded up to $50,000 each, with awards based on presentations given before a panel of expert judges.

The finalists are:

  • PECA Labs, Pittsburgh, Pa. – synthetic vascular conduit for surgical repair of congenital heart defects that’s capable of minimally invasive, controlled expansion to grow with the patient
  • Maternal Life, Palo Alto, Calif. – low-cost closed system that captures and administers colostrum to newborns with zero percent loss
  • Magnamosis, Inc., San Francisco, Calif. – device to provide safer, less invasive repair of the esophagus in newborns with esophageal atresia/tracheoesophageal fistula, a condition requiring surgery that is currently performed by hand
  • JustRight Surgical, Louisville, Colo. – second generation surgical 5mm stapler sized for use with a wider range of pediatric surgical procedures and bringing the benefits of laparoscopy to patients
  • CareTaker Medical, Charlottesville, Va. – disposable, finger cuff for single patient use to continuously and non-invasively monitor neonatal  heart rate without adhesives, electrodes and wires
  • Nebula Industries, Melrose, Mass. – quick release medical tape to prevent neonatal and pediatric skin injuries
  • Lully, San Francisco, Calif. – moisture sensor and Smart Pod monitor, placed under the mattress, that are wirelessly connected to a smartphone app to prevent bedwetting episodes
  • Center for Advanced Sensor Technology, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, Md. – low-cost, disposable multifunctional incubator for at-risk, low birth weight babies
  • Multisensor Diagnostics, Baltimore, Md. – non-invasive portable handheld device designed to perform rapid medical assessment of key vitals for pediatric patients
  • May & Meadow, Inc., Redwood City, Calif. – low-cost, mobile medical device for assessing feeding ability in infants at risk for feeding problems
  • PediaStent, Cleveland, Ohio – novel pediatric bioresorbable stent for use in repairing congenital heart lesions
  • Averia Health Solutions, Alexandria, Va. – low-cost concussion screening and management system that uses smartphone technology

“The impressive number of well qualified applications we received from all over the US as well as from other countries speaks to the enthusiasm of Medtech innovators to develop and test devices specifically for children,” said Kolaleh Eskandanian, Ph.D., M.B.A., P.M.P., Executive Director of the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation and NCC-PDI. “We are committed to building on this momentum and keeping the conversation going with all who applied and will provide consultation services if needed.”

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