Clinical trials of disease-modifying agents in pediatric MS: Opportunities, challenges, and recommendations from the IPMSSG.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-review
OBJECTIVE: The impetus for this consensus discussion was to recommend clinical trial designs that can deliver high-quality data for effective therapies for pediatric patients, in a reasonable timeframe, with a key focus on short- and long-term safety. METHODS: The International Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Study Group convened a meeting of experts to review the advances in the understanding of pediatric-onset multiple sclerosis (MS) and the advent of clinical trials for this population. RESULTS: In the last few years, convincing evidence has emerged that the biological processes involved in MS are largely shared across the age span. As such, treatments proven efficacious for the care of adults with MS have a biological rationale for use in pediatric MS given the relapsing-remitting course at onset and high relapse frequency. There are also ethical considerations on conducting clinical trials in this age group including the use of placebo owing to highly active disease. It is imperative to reconsider study design and implementation based on what information is needed. Are studies needed for efficacy or should safety be the primary goal? Further, there have been major recruitment challenges in recently completed and ongoing pediatric MS trials. Phase 3 trials for every newly approved therapy for adult MS in the pediatric MS population are simply not feasible. CONCLUSIONS: A primary goal is to ensure high-quality evidence-based treatment for children and adolescents with MS, which will improve our understanding of the safety of these agents and remove regulatory or insurance-based limitations in access to treatment.