Hospital Awarded Contract to Study Antibiotic Use in Children with UTIs

In the largest study of its kind, pediatric researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia have received a federal contract for a project to determine the most beneficial method of using antibiotics to treat urinary tract infections (UTIs) in children.

The award, announced Sept. 2 by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), aims to answer key questions about the best use of antimicrobial drugs against UTIs, the most common disorder of the kidneys and urinary tract in early childhood. UTIs are highly treatable, but an infection that goes untreated may lead to serious kidney damage.

Because widespread antibiotic use has allowed bacteria to evolve strains that are resistant to common drugs, the new study will investigate whether using antibiotics over a shorter period than the standard 10 days is an effective treatment, while reducing the risk of drug resistance.

The initial award is for $1.5 million, with total funding of $13.8 million available over the project’s six-year duration if clinical trial milestones are met. Theoklis Zaoutis, MD, MSCE, an infectious diseases specialist at the Center for Pediatric Clinical Effectiveness at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, is the principal investigator of the NIAID study. The clinical trial will enroll 700 children at two centers—the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

It will be the largest clinical trial to compare a short course versus the standard course of antimicrobial treatments for UTIs in children, said Zaoutis.

“Our goals will be to determine the optimal duration of antimicrobial treatment for UTIs,” added Zaoutis. “This information will allow doctors to improve pediatric care while reducing unnecessary use of these drugs.” After an initial period to prepare the trial, Zaoutis expects to begin enrolling children in 2010.

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