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Studies Recruiting

The Institute regularly recruits members of the community to participate in research and clinical trials. 
We are currently seeking participants for: 

What is Pneumococcal disease?

Pneumococcal disease is caused by a type of bacterium called Streptococcus pneumoniae. This bacterium is a major cause of infection that may be in the ears, sinuses, blood, lungs or brain. 
There is already a licensed vaccine which protects against pneumococcal disease and this is being used to compare to the study vaccine.
What is the study about?

The purpose of this study is to compare the study vaccine with a currently licensed vaccine to study its safety, how well it is tolerated, and how well your child responds to the investigational vaccine.

Who can participate?

Participants must:

  • Be aged between 6 to 12 weeks of age
  • Not have received their 2 month vaccines
  • Healthy 

If your child joins the study,

  • he/she will be allocated to receive either the study vaccine or the licensed comparison vaccine
  • he/she will be followed up for approximately 10 months with a final phone call 5 months later
  • have a number of study visits and phone calls
  • will also be provided other vaccinations required by the National Immunisation Schedule
  • all study visits will be conducted either at The Royal Children’s Hospital or in your home at no cost to you.

This study has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee of the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne. This study is sponsored by MSD (Merck, Sharp & Dohme (Australia) Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc)

For more information contact us:

Email us at
Phone 8344 9325
Text us on 0407 548 086

The Royal Children’s Hospital is trialing a new treatment for children with moderate to severe autism. This treatment is a drug called bumetanide. We want to find out if bumetanide can help improve the symptoms of autism in children.

Bumetanide is approved as a diuretic for children, to reduce water, sodium and chloride in the body.  We now want to find out if it is effective for children with autism. To be eligible, the children in the study must have moderate or severe autism and no other medical condition. There are also limitations on which other medications the children can have while they are participating in the trial.

This trial will last for one year. It will involve many visits to RCH for medical monitoring and assessments.

If you would like to find out more about the study please contact the study coordinator Kylie Crompton on (03) 9936 6756 or

This trial has been approved by The Royal Children’s Hospital ethics committee (project IDs 38290 and 38291).

The Susceptibility to Paediatric Infection Group at MCRI are looking for children to act as healthy controls for this study.

The CUPID study is interested in the effects of chronic inflammation in childhood on the blood vessels. We know that cardiovascular disease (heart attacks and stroke) generally occurs in adults, however we also know that the changes in the blood vessels that lead to cardiovascular disease can start before birth and develop slowly throughout childhood and into adulthood. This hardening of the arteries (also known as atherosclerosis) is caused by inflammation of the artery wall.
At present, very little research has been done in children to look at the association between inflammatory diseases and early atherosclerosis. We will look at blood vessel structure and function and examine the differences between children with one of these conditions compared to children without chronic inflammatory disease. 

Your child may be suitable if they are:

  • Aged 5 to 18 years
  • Healthy

You will be asked to attend MCRI at The Royal Children’s Hospital for a one off visit which will take approximately 90 minutes. During that visit we will ask about any health problems your child and your family have had, including information relating to heart and blood vessel health.

The following assessments will then be performed;

  • Height and weight using special scales which also measure body fat 
  • Blood pressure
  • Blood sample (anaesthetic cream can be used)
  • An ultrasound of the blood vessels of the neck and abdomen (tummy)
  • A photograph of the retina (back of the eye)

The entire assessment will take about 90 minutes. Appointments can be scheduled to suit.

We hope that this knowledge may benefit children in the future by increasing the understanding of inflammatory disease and cardiovascular health.

Reimbursements for RCH car parking or public transport costs will be provided at the time of the scheduled study visit.

If you are interested in your child participating or would like more information about the project, please contact:
Meg Kaegi, Study Coordinator  
Tel: (03) 9936 6553   

The ALLaboard study is looking at cognitive outcomes following treatment for childhood cancer. The ALLaboard project is being conducted at The Royal Children’s Hospital and Monash Medical Centre in Melbourne. We are interested in looking at the development of thinking skills and behaviour in children who have completed treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. In particular we are interested in how attention/concentration and thinking speed change over the 2 years following treatment, and understanding how difficulties in these areas might be related to brain development and genetic vulnerabilities.

Participation in this study is the same for both the patient and control group, and involves the following components:

  • Neuropsychological assessment: Testing of intellectual skills, processing speed, working memory and attention skills.
  • Questionnaires: Standardised measures to be completed by the child, parent/guardian and a teacher.
  • Saliva sample: Collected for the purpose of genotyping (folate pathway genes only). Buccal swabs will be used to collect DNA from the cheek;
  • MRI brain scan: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans (Note this is an optional part of the study, and only children aged 7 years and above are eligible for this component)

Participant criteria

  • 4-16 years of age
  • No history of developmental of neurological disorder
  • No prematurity (less than 30 weeks gestation)

Contact Information

If you would like more information, please contact Madeleine Bowden
Phone: 03) 99 366 026

If you have a family history of fragile X related disorders, or if you are the parent of a child with the fragile X premutation or full mutation, or yourself have been tested and identified to have one of these results, we would like to invite you and your family members to participate in the FREE FX study.

We hope that this research will lead to earlier diagnosis and a better understanding of the needs of families with medium and large expansions in the fragile X gene. This may lead to improvements in quality of life through earlier access to intervention programs

What does taking part in this research project involve?
To take part in this study in Victoria, participants need to be under the age of 42. To take part in this study in New South Wales and Tasmania, participants need to be under the age of 18. Taking part in Victoria involves one visit at The Murdoch Children's Research Institute (based at The Royal Children’s Hospital). Taking part in New South Wales involves one visit at Hunter Genetics. Taking part in Tasmania involves one study visit at the clinics attached to the Royal Hobart Hospital. During this visit we will take a blood or saliva sample for some genetic testing and conduct an assessment of your and/or your child’s behaviour, thinking and memory skills, which will involve for example being asked to solve puzzles and remember lists. The assessment will take approximately 3 hours. We will reimburse you a reasonable amount for your visit travel costs to the site of the appointment in order to participate in this project. Alternatively, we can organize a research assistant to come to your home to do the assessment. For the participants assessed in New South Wales and Tasmania, or for participants assessed at home, the study genetic counsellor may organize a separate time most convenient to the participants for blood or saliva samples to be collected.

For Victoria and Tasmania
Ms Chriselle Hickerton; Research Genetic Counsellor
Ph: (03) 8341 6209
Justine Elliott, Research Genetic Counsellor
Ph: (03) 9936 6047

For New South Wales
Carolyn Rogers, Research Genetic Counsellor
Ph: (02) 4985 3100

Chronic constipation is a lifelong problem that begins in childhood and is a major problem in the general community. Chronic constipation causes faecal incontinence, recurrent faecal impaction and significant functional and emotional problems for both child and family and in 30% it persists into adult life. Children with chronic constipation that fails a new treatment that relieves their debilitating symptoms. The past decade has brought significant advances in the understanding of paediatric constipation. This study will determine the efficacy of multimodal treatment; in addition we will test a physiotherapy method (transcutaneous electrical stimulation - TES). TES has been used successfully to treat bladder incontinence and recently constipation. Our study hypothesis is that the addition of TES to multimodal treatment will overcome constipation and allow normal function.

Participant criteria:

  • Children aged four - 18 years

Research Nurse Co-coordinator
Julie Jordan-Ely
Ph: +61 03 9936 6793 
Mob: 0437 971 832

We are conducting a project to help understand the relationship between genes and stuttering. We hope that understanding the cause of stuttering will help us develop better treatments.

Who can take part?
We are looking for children and adults aged 7 and older who have ever stuttered.

What is involved?
In order to participate, we will ask you to complete the following:

  1. Head to and complete a short questionnaire.
  2. Once you have completed the survey, you will be asked to record yourself talking through your computer. This step is optional.
  3. If you are eligible, you will be invited to provide a saliva sample for DNA analysis. Researchers will send you a saliva collection kit together with a pre-paid return envelope. 

Identification of the genes responsible for stuttering could revolutionise future studies and treatments.

If you would like further information about the project, please contact:

Speech & Language Group
Murdoch Children's Research Institute
Phone: 1800 931 759

The Centre of Research Excellence in Speech and Language is an international collaboration of experts in the fields of speech pathology, neurology, neuroscience and genetics. Our CRE is focused on understanding the mechanisms underlying childhood speech disorders to develop novel targeted therapies. We are currently running a project looking at the genetic causes of speech disorders.

We are recruiting children and adults with severe or unusual speech disorders such as childhood apraxia of speech.

How to get involved
If you or someone you know has a severe or unusual speech disorder and may be interested in taking part in our project we would love to hear from you.

To receive an information pack or ask questions contact:

Ph: 03 9936 6334

This study aims to find out whether and how prior influenza (flu) infection or vaccination affects children’s immune response to future flu exposure. 

Your child may be eligible to participate in this study if they: 
•    have NOT received this year’s flu vaccine yet. 
•    are aged 6 months to 5 years
•    are otherwise healthy 

This study runs for two years and each year your child will: 
•    have three visits to the RCH 
•    receive the seasonal influenza vaccine 
•    have three blood tests (numbing cream can be used)
•    have nasal swabs, in the event of respiratory illness

Participation in this research is voluntary. If you do not wish for your child to take part, they do not have to. They will receive the best possible care whether or not they take part.

If you are interested in this project, please contact the SAEFVIC team for more information on (03) 9345 5066 or email

Do you have a child with a developmental difficulty or delay? Perhaps they have received a diagnosis such as autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability, or global developmental delay?

If you or your child are interested in participating in research, you might be interested in joining our contact list for the future. The Contacts for Neurodevelopmental Research (CONR) list will collect some information about your child and yourself so that we only send you study information that is likely to be relevant.

Your child can be any age and you do not have to be a patient at The Royal Children's Hospital.

The overall objective of our research is to facilitate research into neurodevelopmental disorders, both for researchers at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute and to increase potential for international collaborations on rare neurodevelopmental disabilities.

For more information, please follow this link:

Kylie Crompton 
Research Officer 
(03) 9936 6756

Description: In this world-first study, we aim to see if using an emollient cream called EpiCeram™ on the skin of babies will prevent them from developing eczema and food allergy. If we can achieve this, it might reduce the risk of these children developing other allergies later on in life, such as asthma.

Who can take part: We are looking for babies up to three weeks of age (pregnant mums can express an interest in participating) with a family history of asthma, eczema/atopic dermatitis, hayfever/allergic rhinitis or food allergy.

How to get involved: Participation in this study, will involve:
An initial assessment (at either the Royal Women's Hospital, Frances Perry or the Mercy - or at the Royal Children's Hospital if you have left hospital or gave birth at another hospital) where you will be asked to complete two surveys and undertake a skin assessment of your baby.

Completing 4 online surveys, over the 12-month study period.

Completing a short weekly online diary card, over the 12-month study period.

Bringing your baby to the RCH for two visits (at 6-weeks and 12-months) where he/she will have pain-free skin assessments.

Undertaking a skin prick test at 12-months to find out if your baby has a sensitivity to common substances (dust, cat hair, rye grass, milk protein, shellfish and peanuts). Children who are sensitised to certain foods during this testing will be offered an appointment to undergo a food challenge to determine if they are allergic to those foods.

Optional blood prick, oral microbiome, skin and breast milk samples.

Contact details:; 1800 037 021 or

What is Vitality?

There has been an increase in food allergy in recent years. The cause of this is unknown; however, the number of people experiencing allergic reactions has significantly increased. The aims of this study are to see the relationship between food allergy, vitamin D and immune function in infants.

Who can take part?

Mothers with infants:

  • Age 6-8 weeks
  • Planning to be primarily breastfed until 6 months of age (not exclusively bottle-fed)
  • Living in Greater Melbourne, Victoria

For more information, click here.