In 2010, the NICHD issued a request for applications (RFA) to create the Specialized Centers in RPDP. The Centers are funded through the NICHD’s Obstetric and Pediatric Pharmacology and Therapeutics Branch (OPPTB) (formerly the Obstetric and Pediatric Pharmacology [OPP] Branch).
The overall goal for the Centers is to:
- Investigate the fundamental mechanisms of changes in drug disposition and response over the course of human development from birth through adolescence.
- Provide an arena for multidisciplinary interactions between basic and clinical scientists who are interested in establishing high-quality translational research programs in pediatric pharmacology.
- Serve as national resource for training and career development of new scientists electing to pursue careers in the conduct of translational research in high-priority areas of pediatric developmental pharmacology.
- Facilitate important community outreach and education efforts to increase awareness and convey the importance and implications of the research activities to the general public.
Through the Specialized Centers in RPDP, the OPPTB is seeking to:
- Establish predictive non-clinical models including animal studies, cell, tissue and organ based systems, computational and systems modeling, and integration of signals and information from multiple systems to evaluate response- and age-specific toxicity, particularly neurologic and behavioral effects.
- Establish interdisciplinary approaches that utilize non-clinical approaches integrated with clinical approaches to understand developmentally specific responses and toxicities.
- Perform non-clinical and clinical research to understand mechanisms of age- and developmentally related changes in metabolism and response to medicinal products.
- Develop outcome measures that are age-appropriate to determine response or toxicity.
- Incorporate the use of medicinal products as tools to understand developmental metabolism and pharmacology.
- Develop, calibrate, and validate pharmacodynamic assessments to evaluate response and toxicity for different pediatric populations.
In the fall of 2011, four Centers were funded through this RFA by the NICHD.
Sites within the Specialized Centers for RPDP study the following topics:
- Optimizing a high-dose intravenous morpholino treatment for use in Duchenne muscular dystrophy
- Identifying the best biomarkers for predicting treatment response and side effects in pediatric cancer chemotherapy
- Defining the causes of retinopathy of prematurity and developing safe and effective medications to prevent it
- Characterizing the developmental changes in the disposition and potential toxicity of drugs to treat bacterial infections in children