Innovative Trials has unveiled a new programme aimed at enhancing retention rates in paediatric clinical trials.

The company has joined forces with US-based charity the Oliver Patch Project to introduce the Retention Patch Programme, an initiative to maintain engagement with children and young people under 18 years throughout their clinical trial journey.

The Retention Patch Programme will be made available for paediatric studies globally.

It allows participants including children and teenagers to collect exclusive patches at various stages of the clinical trial, which can be affixed to clothing as symbols of their contribution and progress.

Innovative Trials has committed to funding the initial patch for every young participant.

Additionally, a donation will be made to the Oliver Patch Project, ensuring that each child receives at least one patch, irrespective of the trial sponsor’s involvement in the programme.

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Sponsors of paediatric studies have the option to further engage with the Retention Patch Programme by commissioning additional patches.

These patches serve as rewards for participants reaching certain milestones within the trial.

The full collection of patches can only be obtained by remaining in the trial until its conclusion, incentivising consistent participation.

Innovative Trials founder and CEO Kate Shaw said: “Clinical trials involving children are important in transforming global child health. Without paediatric studies, we would not have the polio vaccine or life-changing therapies for childhood cancers, for instance.

“However, we know patient retention is a significant issue for the pharmaceutical industry, with about three in ten participants likely to drop out before a study has finished.

“Our new Retention Patch Programme aims to overcome this challenge in paediatric clinical trials, which is especially important given that there are far fewer studies involving children than adults.”