PTN MD, Micky Cohen-Wolkowiez, receives Young Investigator Award

MCW_HeadshotMichael (Micky) Cohen-Wolkowiez, MD, PhD, director of the Duke Clinical Research Unit, has received the 2016 Young Investigator Award from the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (PIDS). The award recognizes a young physician whose research has generated outstanding contributions in the field of pediatric infectious diseases.Cohen-Wolkowiez is the author of more than 75 peer-reviewed publications and has led several multicenter pediatric studies, including trials for pediatric labeling. He also spent two years as a scientific advisor to the Office of Pediatric Therapeutics at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and participated in a series of projects related to pediatric dosing and the ethical aspects of pediatric regulatory submissions.

“This prestigious award could have not gone to a more deserving physician-scientist,” says Coleen Cunningham, MD, professor of pediatrics and chair of the Divisions of Infectious Diseases and Global Health in the Duke Department of Pediatrics.

Cohen-Wolkowiecz received his medical degree from the Central University of Venezuela in 2001. He trained in pediatrics at the Miami Children’s Hospital in Florida and completed a pediatric infectious diseases fellowship at Duke University Medical Center in 2009.

PIDS is the world’s largest organization of professionals dedicated to the treatment, control and eradication of infectious diseases affecting children. Membership is composed of physicians, doctoral scientists, and others who have trained or are in training in infectious diseases or its related disciplines, and who are identified with the field of pediatric infectious diseases through clinical practice, research, teaching, and administrative activities.

PTN mentioned by Huffington Post blogger who offers global and longitudinal view of pediatrics research.

Over the past few decades, children’s health has arguably made some of the greatest gains. Infant mortality in most developed countries has fallen dramatically from an estimated 30 per cent to less than one per cent. Infectious diseases, the primary cause of infant mortality, have been addressed with better sanitation and water quality, and the development of vaccines and innovative new therapies. Parents need only consider penicillin or vaccines for polio, whooping cough, meningitis, and chicken pox to get a sense of the stress that parents would have had just a few decades ago.

Read the entire  blog post here.

PTN lisinopril study and subsequent label change highlighted in DCRI News.

Pediatric Trials Network study results in label change for hypertension drug

May 11, 2016 – The change could affect the hundreds of children who are prescribed lisinopril after kidney transplants each year.

A study conducted by the Pediatric Trials Network (PTN) has resulted in a labelling change for a widely used drug.

Lisinopril is an angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor that is commonly prescribed to treat high blood pressure or heart failure in adults. It is also given to children who have hypertension, including children who have undergone kidney transplants. As with many other drugs, however, there has been little research to suggest the optimal dose for pediatric transplant patients. The PTN was established to answer these types of questions about drugs given to children and adolescents.

“There is a great medical need but a small market for these types of studies,” said Daniel Benjamin, Jr., MD, MPH, PhD, the PTN’s principal investigator (pictured). “This is why the PTN was formed—to conduct the studies that no one else will.”

A study led by DCRI researcher Uptal Patel, MD, and other researchers for the PTN recently resulted in a decision by the the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to update the label for lisinopril. In addition to Patel, the study’s authors included Howard Trachtman, MD, of New York University; Adam Frymoyer, MD, of Stanford University; Laurence Greenbaum, MD, PhD, of Emory University; Daniel Feig, MD, PhD, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham; Debbie Gipson, MD, of the University of Michigan; Bradley Warady, MD, of Children’s Mercy Hospital of Kansas City; Jens Goebel, MD, of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital; and George Schartz, MD, of the University of Rochester.

The study was a multicenter, open-label pharmacokinetic study of daily oral lisinopril in 22 children, aged 7–17 years, with stable kidney function following transplant.

The researchers found that the pharmacokinetics of lisinopril in children who underwent kidney transplant were similar to hypertensive children who did not receive kidney transplants. Lisinopril was generally well tolerated by the patients and was accompanied by a lowering of blood pressure at approved pediatric doses in the study population.

The results of the study were published in the July 2015 issue of Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics.

Approximately 1,200 children in the United States develop end-stage renal disease (ESRD) each year. Because kidney transplantation has become the primary method of treating ESRD for children, many of these patients will be prescribed lisinopril. As a result of the FDA’s recent decision, Benjamin noted, doctors will now have a better understanding of the correct dose.

“This has been a problem for over 60 years, and we’re only now addressing it,” he said. “With the PTN, we now a have a vehicle to make those changes.”

PTN Gears up to Present at the 2016 Pediatric Academic Society (PAS) Meeting

PTN Investigators to present abstracts at the PAS Meeting in Baltimore, April 30-May 3

Here’s a sampling of presentations with more to come:

  • Platform Presentation: Sunday, May 1 at 4:15 PM–Dosing of antimicrobials in the neonatal in the NICU: Does clinical practice reflect published recommendations? M England, RG Greenberg, RH Clark, M Laughon, M Cohen-Wolkowiez, DK Benjamin Jr, and PB Smith on behalf of the Administrative Core Committee of the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act – Pediatric Trials Network.
  • Platform Presentation: Saturday, April 30, 2016 at 8:00 AM–Use of Pediatric and Adult Midazolam Population Pharmacokinetics to Assess IM Dosing and Early Drug Exposure for Status EpilepticusE Capparelli, K Chiswell, B Smith, D Siegel, S Weinstein, S Muchohi,  M Reed, J Barrett,  S de Wildt, E Jaqc-Aigrain, J Ma, T Glauser for the Pediatric Trials Network.
  • Poster Presentation: Tuesday, May 3 at 7:30 AM — Using Population Pharmacokinetics and Electronic Health Records to Assess Piperacillin Safety in Infants. S Salerno, C Hornik, M Cohen-Wolkowiez, PB Smith, R Clark, and D Gonzalez on behalf of the Administrative Core Committee of the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act – Pediatric Trials Network.

NICHD Announces Research Funding Opportunity (U54)

Specialized Centers in Research in Pediatric Developmental Pharmacology (U54) 

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) announces the re-competition of the Research in Pediatric Developmental Pharmacology Centers Program (RPDP). 

The NICHD proposes to fund a limited number of research Centers that will provide an arena for multidisciplinary interactions between basic and clinical scientists interested in establishing high-quality translational research programs in the area of pediatric developmental pharmacology. The Centers also will serve as a national resource for the education of new scientists electing to pursue careers in the conduct of translational research in high priority areas of pediatric developmental pharmacology. Finally, Center investigators will facilitate important community outreach and education efforts to increase awareness and convey the importance and implications of their research activities to the general public.

Application deadline: February 18, 2016

Project babyTAPE Measures Up

babyTAPEOn December 18, 10 days ahead of schedule, the PTN babyTAPE team enrolled its 2,000th participant.

On January 29, the babyTAPE databse was locked.

The data collected in the babyTAPE study will be used to develop, design, and validate a weight estimation tool, similar to what is pictured, specific to infants.

The study is chaired by Dr. Susan Abdel-Rahman from Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, MO.  The PTN Program is chaired by Dr. Danny Benjamin and operationalized by Katherine Berezny (Program Manager at DCRI).

Timolol for Infantile Hemangiomas under Review

Since first reported in 2008 that propranolol, a beta blocker, was effective in the treatment of Infantile Hemangiomas (IH)—a birthmark that most commonly appears as a rubbery, bright red nodule of extra blood vessels in the skin, commonly called a “strawberry”—this class of drug has been used as the first line of therapy for infants with IH. Timolol, also a beta blocker, is available in topical formulation, and increasingly used off-label for small, non-complicated IH. The popularity of timolol is likely due to its perceived safety as a topical drug. However, data on timolol efficacy, safety and pharmacokinetics are limited.

Under the protocol thought leadership of Dr. Beth Drolet, Principal Investigator, the PTN’s Timolol study will enroll 100 infants between the ages of ≥32 to <50 weeks postmenstrual age. The infants will be treated with timolol for 28 days then randomized into 2 groups. One group will continue timolol treatment while the other will be withdrawn from treatment. Both groups will remain on the study in their respective groups for up to 120 days. The study will begin to enroll in the early summer of 2016 in approximately 10 US sites, and will end in the fall of 2017. The data received from the study will be presented to the FDA to support the use of timolol for the treatment of IH.

PTN Pantoprazole Study Closes Enrollment

Congratulations to the PTN Pantoprazole Study Team for closing enrollment with 41 subjects. The study goal was to enroll 40 subjects in two age groups. The dedicated team worked hard to keep the study on track and accomplish this goal.

The Pantoprazole Study will evaluate the pharmacokinetics of pantoprazole in obese children and adolescents with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) following administration of an oral dose of pantoprazole.

2015 Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act Update

Dear Colleagues:

We would like to thank you for your continued interest and past input into the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act (BPCA) program at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), National Institutes of Health (NIH). As stakeholders in this important program, we would like to keep you abreast of current developments:

1. To date, all of our BPCA legacy studies—trials conducted prior to award of the Pediatric Trials Network (PTN) in 2010—have been completed. In September 2014, we submitted the Clinical Study Report (CSR) for the Lorazepam for Status Epilepticus study. A meeting with the FDA division was held in October, and the final CSR incorporating FDA comments was submitted in November 2014. Per FDA request, we recently submitted additional analyses and reports to the agency for a potential label change of this drug.

2. In 2014, we announced one official label change—the use of sodium nitroprusside in children for blood pressure control. This year, we have the privilege to announce the label change for meropenem for intra-abdominal infections. We anticipate that data from at least three additional studies (lithium, acyclovir, and diazepam) will be submitted to the agency by the end of 2015.

3. Between 2014 and to date in 2015, the program has submitted six additional CSRs to the agency. Five of these are PTN-led studies and include: a hydroxyurea bioequivalence study that complements the BABY HUG study; ampicillin for use in preterm neonates to treat infection; lisinopril for use in patients with renal transplant to lower blood pressure; clindamycin-dosing study in patients who are obese; and fluconazole for use in preterm neonates to treat infection. In October 2014, we also submitted a draft CSR for isotretinoin for use in treating neuroblastoma. Our hope is that these submissions will result in label changes in the near future.

4. In addition to the drug studies, the PTN and the BPCA Data Coordinating Center worked closely together to submit our first device study to the agency—the TAPE study, which was approved as of May 2015.

5. The PTN is currently conducting 7 new studies, including an innovative opportunistic study of commonly used medications that more than 1,300 children are receiving for their medical conditions. These new studies on diuretics, caffeine, pediatric opportunistic PK studies (POPs), antibiotics safety, Baby TAPE, sildenafil, and pantoprazole will improve our knowledge of how drugs are used in children.

6. Through the Pediatric Clinical Pharmacology T32 fellowship program, we continue to train new pediatric clinical pharmacologists while stimulating interdisciplinary collaboration among clinical, translational, and basic researchers in pediatric therapeutics.

We would also like for you to Save the date December 9, 2015, for our Annual BPCA Stakeholders Meeting. Held on the NIH campus in Bethesda, MD, the meeting will be conducted via webinar for all non-local attendees. You will be hearing from our logistics contractor soon with further details. We hope you can participate.

Finally, we would like to express our sincere appreciation to each of you for your interest in this important program. We look forward to working with you in the 2016 calendar year on our continuing areas of interest. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Best regards,

Perdita Taylor-Zapata, M.D.
Pediatric Medical Officer
Obstetric and Pediatric Pharmacology and Therapeutics Branch (OPPTB)
Bethesda, MD
Phone: 301-496-9584