StaR Forum: Why, What, How?

In 2020, the global paediatric clinical trial market – defined as clinical trial efforts conducted to advance child health – was estimated to have an approximate value of over $12 billion US Dollars (USD), and by 2027, this figure is expected to be over $22 billion USD [1-2]. This figure is not just an indication of the increase in demand and need for paediatric health research; it demonstrates the tremendous cost that goes towards advancing clinical care and therapeutic options for children.


Despite this investment, there are a number of challenges associated with the design and conduct of clinical research within the paediatric population. These challenges can range from issues surrounding research ethics permissions, efficiency of trial methodology, or measurement instrument selection. Challenges persist after the study is conducted, and include insufficient reporting, access to study results, or genuine publication bias particularly when study results are “disappointing” – to whomever decides to publish the results. Then, even when research is published, sometimes the publication is inaccessible to the larger scientific community or the public, depending on where it was published.


At StaR Child Health, an international group of methodologists, clinicians, policy makers, and researchers aspires to improve the way paediatric clinical research is conducted, designed, and reported. Through spreading awareness of the above-mentioned challenges, working together to develop and implement guidance, while also carrying out research to improve study design, conduct, and reporting in paediatric clinical research, this grassroots collegial network tries to enhance the volume and quality of child relevant health evidence. Work and standards developed by StaR Child Health can be accessed here.


Since the fall of 2020, we have hosted the StaR Forum, which is a monthly webinar series. For this knowledge translation initiative, speakers are invited to talk about methodological work done in the last decade, or present their own work relevant to topics focused on enhancing child health research design, conduct and reporting. So far, topics have ranged from how meta-research methods inform primary study design, Bayesian analysis in child health research, and the importance of transparent outcome selection, measurement, and reporting in paediatric health research. Since its inception, StaR Forum webinars have a diverse set of stakeholders join in, including clinicians, patient engagement advisors, epidemiologists, and clinical trialists. Another highlight of StaR Forum is its global reach – individuals join in from Australia, Asia, Europe, Middle East, and North America.


The child health research enterprise as a whole is constantly evolving and more research is always needed, but – as we keep seeing – more is not necessarily better if quality is not up to standard. The objectives of StaR Child Health are to enhance research impact by providing guidance for clinical research efforts to ensure high quality research is conducted according to modern, evidence-based standards, which are evolving as we speak! If this is an area of interest to you, or you would like to present your work within this area, we encourage you to get in touch with us!


Upcoming StaR Forum Webinars can be accessed here

Past StaR Forum Webinars can be accessed here

Citations:

[1]. Coherent Market Insights, Pediatric Clinical Trials Market Analysis, Coherent Market Insights, July 2020. Accessed on: Feb 12, 2021 [Online]. Available: https://www.coherentmarketinsights.com/market-insight/pediatric-clinical-trials-market-397


[2]. Coherent Market Insights. Pediatric Clinical Trials Market to Surpass US$ 22,993.0 Million by 2027 – Coherent Market Insights, Coherent Market Insights, July 31, 2020. Accessed on: Feb 16, 2021 [Online]. Available: https://www.coherentmarketinsights.com/press-release/pediatric-clinical-trials-market-to-surpass-us-210475-million-by-2026-1274

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StaR Child Health is an international collaboration that seeks to enhance the quality, ethics, and relevance of clinical research in child health by promoting the use of evidence-based standards and guidance for the design, conduct and reporting of clinical trials with children

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The Hospital for Sick Children

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Last updated: January 2021

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