A look into the future of children’s research

Patient and nurse at GOSH CRF

Although clinical trials have been a key part of health research for many years, it is only in the past decade that there has been increased focus on specific clinical trials for children’s medicines. Since 2009, the number of children taking part in clinical trials per year across the UK has more the doubled.


The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has supported this growth through its research infrastructure, which helps make clinical research happen in England. NIHR Clinical Research Facilities provide dedicated, purpose built facilities where cutting-edge clinical trials can take place.


This film series, led by Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), shines a spotlight on the bright future of children’s research, and highlights how pioneering clinical trials in NIHR Clinical Research Facilities are helping develop new treatments and cures for children with health conditions across the world.


The six films explore how pioneering novel therapies, precision medicine and innovative technologies are being used in paediatric clinical trials to help bring discoveries made in the lab to the patients who need them - from those affected by ultra-rare diseases through to common conditions that affect thousands of children. The films also show how collaboration across paediatric research centres has increased the number and complexity of children’s research studies and led to more opportunities for children take part in ground-breaking research trials.


Dr William van’t Hoff, Director of the NIHR Great Ormond Street Hospital Clinical Research Facilities and project lead, said: “The development of NIHR Clinical Research Facilities with dedicated expertise and resources for children’s research trials has been game-changing for experimental medicine involving children in the UK. It has enabled us to bring first-in-child trials and high intensity research to young patients and we are now seeing how this research has changed clinical practice and improved treatments for patients.”  


The film series features babies, children and teenagers who have all taken part in research trials at NIHR Clinical Research Facilities across England. The support of young people and parents is integral to paediatric research - this is reflected in the films, where young people or their parents are featured in conversation with researchers, sharing their own views on clinical trials and asking questions about children’s research.


As the number of young people participating in research continues to grow, there has also been an emphasis on ensuring children are given the opportunity to have their say on how research should be set up. One example is the NIHR-supported Generation R network of Young Persons Advisory Groups from across the UK. 16-year-old Adam, who features in one of the films, describes his role as a member of his local Generation R group - VoiceUP - which advises researchers at Manchester University Hospitals.


Speaking of his motivation for producing the videos Dr van’t Hoff said: “Having worked in children’s research for many years and collaborated with hospitals across the UK, I was eager to showcase the range of globally leading children’s research taking place at NIHR Clinical Research Facilities, as well as the young people and families who are part of the dialogue around children’s research.”

Innovative technology at Cambridge University Hospitals

Meet 10 year old Katie to discover how innovative technology like the artificial pancreas is improving the lives of children with health conditions across the world.

Precision medicine at Great Ormond Street Hospital

Discover how precision medicine is helping develop more targeted and effective treatments for children like Lottie and Ashley who have a rare form of rickets. 

A dedicated new facility at Leeds Children’s Hospital

Patient Caitlin and nurse Neil explain how specialist facilities for children’s research allow more groundbreaking research to be carried out in conditions ranging from cystic fibrosis to diabetes. 

Pioneering novel therapies at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital

Sisters Shona and Kelsie meet Clinical Research Advanced Nurse Practitioner Lucy Cooper to discover how a new device pioneered in the UK can help deliver drugs and transform care for patients across the world. 

Cutting edge imaging at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals

Meet Professor David Edwards to find out how cutting-edge imaging is being used to map brain development in babies like Lotte-Tulip.

Young people shaping research at Manchester Children’s Hospital

16 year old Adam introduces VoiceUP, a group of young people who advise researchers like Dr Vibha Sharma on their research to make sure it is suited to young people’s needs.

Films developed by Great Ormond Street Hospital in partnership with Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals, Manchester University Hospitals, Leeds University Hospitals and Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals.

Research funded and supported by the NIHR, Wellcome Trust, Aimmune Therapeutics, The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, JDRF, Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical, Kyowa Hakko Kirin and the European Research Council.