About clinical trials

About clinical trials

Clinical trials for children

A clinical trial is where volunteered participants help trial new treatments, interventions or tests to prevent, detect, treat or manage a variety of diseases or medical conditions.

Participating in a trial is not the same as receiving normal treatment at our hospitals, so knowing all the information before deciding on enrolling your child in a trial is important. See more information on clinical trials and children in Australia on the Australian Clinical Trials website.

Can my child participate?

It depends on the type of trial being conducted. All trials outline who they need in order to conduct the research and this changes for every trial. Trials may need a participant relating to a particular or combination of:

  • Age group
  • Disease or condition
  • History of disease or condition
  • Stage or progression of disease or condition
  • Previous treatment/medication history
  • Health status
  • Demographic

Before your child enrols in a trial, they may need to undergo some medical tests to ensure they are the right person for the trial. These tests are also useful to generate a baseline knowledge of your child’s health status especially if the trial requires regular record throughout the duration of the trial.

Are they safe?

All clinical trials are regulated by Australian laws and codes of conduct that all aim to protect trial participants and the integrity of the research gathered.

All clinical trials in Australia are required to undergo a thorough review process by an accredited Human Research Ethics Committee before commencing. This review process ensures that the proposed research conforms to national human research ethics regulations.

There are also constant reporting procedures all clinical trials must adhere to. You can learn more about these processes on our Ethics and Governance pages.


How does a trial work?

A trial works by gathering information about the effectiveness and safety of what is being tested. Usually, the information collected is compared against something called a 'control', but this is not always the case. The way that trials are designed depend on which phase the trial is in.

You can read more information on how trials work on the Australian Clinical Trials website.

What are the benefits and risks involved?

Though clinical trials have many benefits, they also come with some risk. You and your child are required to be informed of all the potential risks before enrolling in a trial.

Potential benefits

  • Assist in the development of new treatments, therapies and/or diagnostic procedures.
  • A chance to access a new treatment or therapy.
  • Opportunity to support and contribute to research.
  • Advice and care from top expert clinical staff leaders.
  • Personalised and enhanced care.
  • Specialised treatment monitoring.

Potential risks

  • It might not work.
  • It might not be as effective as other treatments.
  • There could be negative side effects.
  • There may be unexpected or unknown risks.

Last updated Monday 22nd April 2024