The Estonian National Hub (Estonian Paediatric Research Group – ELAV) was created by a cooperation agreement between the Tartu University Hospital, the Tallinn Children’s Hospital and the University of Tartu in 2018 and is part of the Clinical Research Center. ELAV’s vision is scientifically based medicine use in children. ELAV’s mission is to bring together specialists from different disciplines to jointly contribute to conducting paediatric studies in Estonia that follows Good Clinical Practice.
Estonia is a small country with 1.3 million inhabitants, about 450,000 of whom live in the capital city, Tallinn. As of 1st January 2021, there were 217,792 children aged 0-14 in Estonia. Fortunately, the vast majority of them are healthy. Estonian paediatricians, nurses and families also participate in children’s clinical trials in order to continuously improve the quality of treatment. We have already recruited twelve patients in the c4c TREOCAPA study. This is more than in some countries significantly larger than Estonia.
The inpatient treatment of children in Estonia is mainly concentrated in the two aforementioned sites in Tartu and Tallinn. We have included paediatric departments of hospitals in other regions of Estonia in the studies and shared information from the studies with GPs. You can find out more about the activities of our investigators and ELAV on the ELAV website.
In one of our largest sites, Tartu University Hospital, more than 30 different trials are carried out annually; both academic and pharmaceutical industry-initiated, both observational and interventional studies. Conducting trials is supported by good contact between Estonian investigators, fast processing of documents, conscientious and accurate investigators.
Our investigators include seasoned doctors with decades of experience and young colleagues doing their first paediatric trial. By conducting trials, we have gained good contact with colleagues throughout Europe.
ELAV’s enthusiastic driving force is professor of University of Tartu Irja Lutsar, who has a decades-long connection with children’s research. With wide horizons and excellent knowledge, Prof. Lutsar is an inspiration to doctors, residents and students. Prof. Lutsar is a member of the Paediatric Committee of the European Medicines Agency (EMEA), editor of the Paediatric Disease Journal section, one of the co-leaders of the c4c strategic feasibility advice service.
The Estonian National Hub supports investigators in the preparation of study documents, mediates and organizes trainings, informs doctors about the possibilities of participating in the study. National Hub meetings are held regularly online once a month and we organize a seminar for investigators once a year to share the latest information and listen to their experiences.
Thanks to the mediation of c4c, Estonian hospitals are participating in two paediatric trials, TREOCAPA (studying the effect of ductus arteriosus closure on very premature newborns) and KD-CAAP (studying the use of corticosteroids in Kawasaki syndrome).
We are a country with flexible cooperation and qualified research staff, and we do our best to promote children’s research. Hopefully, children of the future will have access to well-researched drugs.