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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 December 2006, 07:59 GMT
City to pioneer child medicines
Alder Hey Children's Hospital, Liverpool
The network will be based at Alder Hey Children's Hospital
A 20m programme to develop medicines specifically for children is to be carried out in Liverpool.

A national research network, based at Alder Hey Children's Hospital, will conduct studies into the effectiveness of medicines used by children.

Health bosses hope the initiative will also help give doctors more information for judgements on prescribing drugs, which are often designed for adults.

The government money will support the project for five years.

A consortium led by the University of Liverpool will co-ordinate the Medicines for Children Research Network at the hospital's Institute for Child Health.

This is the most important development towards improving children's health that has happened during my professional career
Rosalind Smyth, network director

Researchers are already developing treatments for a range of diseases in children such as meningitis, asthma and epilepsy at the institute.

Health Minister Andy Burnham said: "Establishing the Medicines for Children Research Network will ensure that children benefit directly from the latest medical advances and treatments designed, developed and licensed specifically for their use.

"By bringing together the research expertise of the University of Liverpool and the world renowned children's care at Alder Hey, this initiative is a significant boost to Liverpool - putting it at the forefront of research of children's medicines in this country."

The network will also seek the involvement of young people from schools and youth groups in the city.

Seventeen young people, aged nine to 18, will work as ambassadors to encourage young people receiving hospital care to take part in research projects.

Rosalind Smyth, director of the centre said: "This is the most important development towards improving children's health that has happened during my professional career."

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