CHKD and Clinical Research Trials

Children's Hospital is home to Eastern Virginia Medical School's pediatric residency program, where new physicians become specialists in the field of pediatrics. Many of them stay in this community or in the state to practice pediatrics after they complete their residencies. CHKD also serves as the exclusive pediatric teaching site for residents in family medicine practice, emergency practice, ENT and physician assistants, as well as the exclusive site for some 150 third-year medical school students for their six-week pediatric rotation.

CHKD provides a setting for many clinical research trials. Highlights of the basic science research include new gene therapy for neuromuscular disorders, breakthroughs in treatment of cystic fibrosis, innovative therapies in sports medicine, advanced growth hormone treatments, and interventions for disordered sleep. In addition, research includes new medications and other therapies, clinical outcomes analyses, and epidemiological studies sanctioned by the Eastern Virginia Medical School Institutional Review Board. There were 241 IRB-approved active funded studies in FY20. Topics of study included hematology/oncology, allergy/asthma, infectious disease, neurology, pediatric surgery, cardiology, otolaryngology, pulmonology, gastroenterology, child abuse, endocrinology, dermatology, neonatology and mental health. Many of these studies are phase three clinical trials that bring cutting-edge treatments to CHKD patients years before they are available to the public. This fiscal year there were also new phase one trials opened, which allowed our patients the earliest possible access to novel therapies. There is an increased focus on registry studies across all disciplines. Data collected in these registries is intended to standardize optimal levels of care and lead to improved patient outcomes. There have also been opportunities to study the effects of various telehealth/telemedicine interventions, not only to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, but to be able to reach subjects who cannot travel to the site, such as subjects who are homebound or in hospice care.

The Nuss Procedure for the correction of pectus excavatum, developed at CHKD more than 30 years ago, continues to draw national attention from both patients and surgeons. The Children’s Surgical Special Group surgeons continue to publish manuscripts and present their work at national meetings to reinforce and maintain our reputation of excellence on an international scale. The Nuss Center also continues to offer non-surgical treatment therapies as well, the compression brace initiated in 2009 has treated more than 461 patients with over 80% of those patients experiencing a correction to their deformity. In addition, the vacuum bell treatment that began being offered in 2012 has treated over 295 patients. In June 2016, CHKD opened the new Nuss Center, offering a space dedicated to the evaluation and treatment of chest wall conditions. The hospital continues its endeavors on multiple research studies in an effort to further understand chest wall deformities. To date, more than 2,480 surgical patients have undergone the Nuss Procedure at CHKD and over 5,738 patients have been evaluated for chest wall conditions.


CHKD is a member of Children's Oncology Group, an international research group that conducts clinical trials for children with cancer. As a member, CHKD has access to the latest protocols for treatment of childhood cancer, providing the community and region with the best practices and treatment results from more than 250 (257 total) COG-member hospitals in North America, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe. Our primary goal is to increase participation in clinical trials which we feel will advance the field of pediatric oncology. In FY20, CHKD had 114 COG studies including LTF studies open to enrollment or undergoing data analysis. Several of these studies were included in COG’s long-term follow-up study, which collects data on patients who have participated in studies that are no longer open to enrollment. In all, over 200 CHKD patients participated in either open or follow-up COG studies in FY20. The hematology/oncology division had 15 research studies open that were not COG studies.