Clinical Trials in Pediatrics

“A clinical trial is a research project that involves patients,” says Dr. Antonio Arrieta, a CHOC Children’s Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist. “All drugs, vaccines and medical devices have to go through phases of research before they are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. If researchers and physicians don’t  conduct these trials, we don’t know how good the drugs are or how we are supposed to use them. The expectation is that these new drugs will be better or improve the established standard of care. The standard of care oftentimes has a lot of room for improvement. We think we can do better. We want to make sure new drugs are safe and that we get the best results. Some trials we have done have  introduced new agents that have greatly improved mortality rates and the survival of patients.”

Physicians and researchers conducting clinical trials talk to other physicians at CHOC to identify potential patients to participate. “We make sure they meet the criteria and then talk to the parents to get informed consent,” says Dr. Arrieta. “We discuss the pros and cons of the study and why we are doing it. It’s voluntary and there are no consequences to not participating. We monitor patients closely to make sure the child is responding to treatment or gets better. No procedures are done on children that will increase their pain or discomfort and we can stop a trial with a patient any time the parent wishes.”


  • Average number of peer-reviewed research papers published annually from CHOC’s Infectious Disease Division: 6-7
  • Approximate number of clinical trials underway at CHOC at any given time: 300
  • Approximate number of newborns exposed to HIV in-untero referred to CHOC’s Pediatric HIV Clinic each year: 10

View the full feature on Kids and Clinical Trials

Dr. Antonio Arrieta
Dr. Antonio Arrieta
CHOC Pediatric Infectious
Disease Specialist


Dr. Arrieta is the Director of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and the Director of Infectious Disease Clinical Research at CHOC Children’s. He specializes in infectious diseases, including pediatric HIV. A native of Peru, Dr. Arrieta completed his fellowship at UCI Memorial/Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach and his residency at Southern Illinois University in Springfield. He joined the CHOC staff in 1991.

Dr. Arrieta’s philosophy of care: “My philosophy of care is one that is shared by everyone at CHOC, and that is one of service. We are here to serve the children of Orange County regardless of their backgrounds. We help people stay healthy or we help them return to health.”

Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Lima, Peru

Pediatric Infectious Disease

More about Dr. Arrieta

This article was featured in the Orange County Register on May 19, 2014, and was written by Amy Bentley.