Headlines Published on 08 April 2011

Title Europeans making medical treatment priority for kids

Health practitioners and parents want the best for children, and helping drive this objective is the PRIOMEDCHILD ('Coordination of research on priority medicines for children') initiative, a Coordinated Action funded under the ERA—NET scheme of the EU's Sixth Framework Programme (FP6). PRIOMEDCHILD, backed with more than EUR 1.7 million, created a European platform for research, development and innovation of paediatric medicines by funding, coordinating and networking national programmes and researchers across Europe, now launched an EUR 8 million Joint Call.

Medicines helping children get better faster © Shutterstock
Medicines helping children get better faster
©  Shutterstock

The PRIOMEDCHILD team, comprising experts from Estonia, Spain, France, Italy, Latvia, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Finland, Sweden and the UK, targeted bolstering and streamlining national activities, and encouraging and facilitating pan—European cooperation, both in the private and public sectors. At the end of the day, public research programmes on public health priorities will be developed, bridging the gap between research and industry.

Using identified research on medicines for children, the PRIOMEDCHILD partners networked and coordinated programme managers of national programmes to work together and secure a common European goal to get a joint European research programme on medicines for children off the ground and running.

Communicable diseases, treatments for specific patient groups and rare diseases are the three priority areas in question. Specifically, infectious—agents–triggered communicable diseases are one of the public's biggest health burdens, and are considered the leading cause of death in the developing world. It is imperative that researchers target measures to fight newly emerging diseases and pathogens that develop resistance to vaccines and antibiotics. Other problems that must be resolved include fighting chronic illnesses like heart disease, diabetes and depression.

Published in 2010, an international call provided joint research funding for European researchers on two themes: development or use of innovative methodology in medicines for children research; and innovation of paediatric formulations and drug delivery systems.

The joint call received 22 pre—proposals when the call closed on 7 January 2011. A total of 110 research groups from 12 nations made up the 22 consortia. Referees of the Scientific Advisory Board reviewed full proposals and compiled a list of fundable projects: MRD—FLOW—ALL ('Assessment of treatment effectiveness in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia by monitoring minimal residual disease with eight—colour flow cytometry'; CRESIM ('Rare disease: use of clinical trial simulation for the choice and optimisation of study design'); ESNEE ('European study of neonatal exposure to excipients'); RADICEA ('New drugs for rare diseases: cost—effectiveness modelling in cryopyrin associated periodic syndromes'); DCD—CANC—CHILD ('Design of drug carrier and delivery control or cancer therapy of children'); and NEUROGENMRI ('Validating non—invasive imaging of the serotonergic – and dopaminergic system and adult neurogenesis with MRI: towards a better insight in the neurobiological mechanisms underlying psychiatric disorders in the paediatric population').

This Coordination Action built on the ERA—NET SSA Priority Medicines and the outcomes of the WHO study 'Priority Medicines for the Citizens of Europe and the World'. During FP6 the project received 2 EU funded grants totalling over EUR 1.8 million.

The ERA—NET scheme was first introduced as a highly innovative component of FP6 (2002—2006) and continues to bolster its support to structuring the European Research Area and enhancing the scale of Europe's research efforts under FP7 (2007—2013).

More information:

  • FP6 ERA-NET fact sheets for Priority Medicines and PRIOMEDCHILD on CORDIS
  • FP7 ERA-NETs

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