New research on organ maturation models could lead to improvements in drug development.
Determining safe yet effective drug dosages for children is an ongoing challenge for pharmaceutical companies and medical doctors alike. A new drug is usually first tested on adults, and results from these trials are used to select doses for pediatric trials. The underlying assumption is typically that children are like adults, just smaller. This often holds true, but may also overlook differences that arise from the fact that children’s organs are still developing.
Compounding the problem, pediatric trials don’t always shed light on other differences that can affect recommendations for drug doses. There are many factors that limit children’s participation in drug trials – for instance, some diseases simply are rarer in children – and consequently, the generated datasets tend to be very sparse.
To make drugs and their development safer for children, researchers at Aalto University and the pharmaceutical company Novartis have developed a method that makes better use of available data.
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