• Article
  • May 4, 2017

7 Future Breakthroughs in Pediatric Research

Researchers say the potential for scientific advances in child health research has never been greater.

By Ziba Kashef

Advances in pediatric research have significantly reduced deaths and improved the quality of life for children and families worldwide. Researchers are now poised to achieve even greater medical accomplishments, according to an article co-authored by Clifford Bogue, M.D., professor and interim chair of pediatrics at Yale School of Medicine. The article was published in the May issue of Pediatrics.

In "The Next Seven Great Achievements in Pediatric Research," Bogue and his co-authors at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health reflect on the progress that has been made and predicts the next great research breakthroughs for children's health. They are:

  • More pediatric immunizations to prevent emerging and persistent diseases
  • Cancer immunotherapy
  • Genomic discoveries to predict, prevent and more effectively treat disease
  • Life-course data that recognizes fetal and childhood origins of adult disease and provides effective early interventions
  • Understanding the interaction of biology and the physical and social environment that leads to effective prevention for individual and population health
  • Quality improvement measures for medical care
  • Research that is shared and reduces global poverty

Yet the pediatric research field faces challenges, such as the effort needed to include children and teens in clinical research, researchers say. In addition, the share of funding provided by the National Institutes of Health—the backbone of pediatric research enterprise at U.S. academic centers—has decreased since 2001 when compared to other specialties, the authors say.

The authors emphasize the need for continued federal support and focus on child health research. Emerging new risks, such as the Zika virus, the ongoing obesity epidemic, and exposure to adverse childhood experiences, threaten to shorten the lifespans of the next generation.

"The potential for scientific breakthroughs in child health research has never been greater," Brogue says. "And the exciting thing is that any discoveries that help us identify and treat diseases in children yield a lifetime of positive results. The return-on-investment, both in total dollars saved and on hardship reduced for individuals and families, is unparalleled in research that focuses on children."

Ziba Kashef is senior communications officer at the Office of Public Affairs and Communications at Yale University. This article was originally published by YaleNews. Send questions or comments to magazine@childrenshospitals.org.