The USC-CHLA Institute for Pediatric Clinical Research (IPCR) was founded in 2003 at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles with an anonymous gift of $15 million to conduct research, with a particular emphasis on developing new treatments and strategies to combat serious childhood diseases. IPCR combines resources from both Childrens Hospital Los Angeles and the Keck School of Medicine, with the goal of becoming the most active and productive pediatric clinical trials program in the United States, able to find the best means to diagnose, treat and prevent pediatric disease and to promote child and adolescent health. Dr. Stuart E. Siegel is the Director.

The IPCR was made possible in large part because of the dedication and commitment of USC President Steven B. Sample and Co-Chair of the Childrens Hospital Los Angeles Board of Trustees, Walter B. Rose. Dr. Sample said at the time of the announcement, "The [IPCR] is a manifestation of the shared goals and vision of USC and Childrens Hospital to create a truly world-class organization in this area of great need. By combining our institutions’ strengths and resources, we are confident that we can make a significant impact on childhood diseases by finding breakthrough treatments and cures.

Developing New Drugs for Children with Cancer

The problem.

In spite of tremendous advances in treating childhood cancer, it remains the number one cause of death by disease in the USA. Thus, unacceptably high numbers of children are not cured of their disease, and those who are cured often pay a huge price in terms of short-term and long-term side effects from treatment. Advances in molecular biology are allowing new and much more specific drugs to be developed against cancer, but all of these new drugs are being developed for adult cancers because of larger economic incentives. There are virtually no drugs being developed with childhood cancers as the primary target, and testing of drugs in children often begins only years after they are tested in adults.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and other national organizations concerned with health care have been studying how to speed-up the process of getting new drugs tested against childhood cancer. While regulations implemented by the FDA and economic incentives provided to industry by the Congress have helped expand the number of drugs studied in children, additional efforts are needed.

Need for Drug Development in Pediatric Cancer.

There exist global needs in the area of pediatric drug development that reach far beyond any one type of childhood cancer. While IPCR has a focus on drug development for childhood leukemia, drugs developed for this disease will have the potential to be useful in other childhood and adult cancers.