Innovative Trials unveils the retention patch program to boost clinical trial patient retention in pediatric studies

A new initiative designed to boost clinical trial patient retention in pediatric studies has been announced today (19 February) by Innovative Trials, global specialists in clinical trial patient recruitment and retention acceleration.

The company has partnered with the US charity Oliver Patch Project to launch the Retention Patch Program – a service to engage directly with children and young people under the age of 18 throughout their clinical trial experience. Research suggests engagement methods are associated with greater retention rates in pediatric clinical research [1].

The Retention Patch Program can be commissioned for any pediatric study worldwide. It allows children and teenagers to collect a series of exclusive patches throughout their clinical trial experience, which can be ironed onto garments so that they can be worn like badges of honor. 

Kate Shaw, Founder and CEO of Innovative Trials, said: “Clinical trials involving children are important in transforming global child health. Without pediatric studies, we would not have the polio vaccine or life-changing therapies for childhood cancers, for instance. However, we know patient retention is a significant issue for the pharmaceutical industry with about three in 10 participants likely to drop out before a study has finished. Our new Retention Patch Program aims to overcome this challenge in pediatric clinical trials, which is especially important given that there are far fewer studies involving children than adults.” 


Innovative Trials will fund the first patch – a colorful welcome patch featuring the Retention Patch Program’s dragon mascot – for all pediatric study participants, with a donation also going to Oliver Patch Program. This will mean that every child will receive at least one patch regardless of whether or not the trial sponsor has signed up for the service. Sponsors can then commission the Retention Patch Program to make further patches available to their pediatric study participants, which will be given out as retention items when they reach set milestones during the study. Only by remaining in the trial until the end can all patches be collected.

Shaw added: “We are pleased to be working with Oliver Patch Project to deliver this incredibly important initiative. By keeping children and adolescents engaged throughout their clinical trials, we can reduce drop-out rates and help ensure groundbreaking treatments reach the people who need them most as quickly as possible. Through this program, we also hope to build an international community of young people who are proud of their clinical trial journey as we know that those who have a positive experience are more likely to talk about it to others. This will help raise much-needed public awareness of clinical research and demystify the process so that others may be more inclined to participate in the future.”

Brian Burkhardt began Oliver Patch Project in 2020 after his son, Oliver, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at age nine. Inspired by his son’s love of collecting, Brian created ‘Patches of Positivity’ where children going through cancer treatment can receive regular patches, uniquely designed by artists, to keep them motivated and focused on staying positive throughout their treatment journey. More than 35,000 patches have provided support to thousands of children and teenagers in each of the 50 US states so far.

Commenting on the charity’s partnership with Innovative Trials, Brian said: “I’m thrilled that Oliver Patch Project has the opportunity to support so many more children globally through our collaboration with Innovative Trials. “Since my wife and I founded the nonprofit, we have been flooded with messages from parents who tell us how much of a difference our patches are making to their children’s wellbeing. It’s why we created the program in the first place – we wanted to make sure children felt supported and kept hope. That they didn’t feel lonely or down. I can’t wait to reach even more families and help to bring some sunshine into their lives through the Retention Patch Program with Innovative Trials.”



More information about Innovative Trials’ Retention Patch Program is available at



For more information, please contact Laura Gibson at Presence Media on +44 7771 933609 or at [email protected]


Notes to editors

  • Around 30 percent of participants in a study are likely to drop out before it has finished [2}
  • About one in four of the world’s population is aged under 15 [3]. 
  • Only around 12% of all Phase II and III clinical trials registered on the World Health Organization’s International Clinical Trials Registry Platform are listed as pediatric [4].



  1. Gaunt, D.M., Papastavrou Brooks, C., Pedder, H. et al. Participant retention in paediatric randomised controlled trials published in six major journals 2015–2019: systematic review and meta-analysis. Trials 24, 403 (2023).
  2. Alexander W. The uphill path to successful clinical trials: keeping patients enrolled. P T. 2013;38(4):225-227.
  3. World population by age and region 2023 | Statista. (2024b, January 5). Statista.
  4. International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP). (2023, February 20). Last accessed 23 January 2024. 


About Innovative Trials

Founded in 2010, Innovative Trials works alongside pharmaceutical and clinical research organisations to ensure that patients enroll into clinical trials in a timely manner and are fully informed of what the research will involve for themselves and their families. This enables potential new treatments to come to market as early as possible to provide alternative therapeutic options for present and future patients. 

Based in Letchworth Garden City in Hertfordshire, Innovative Trials employs over 60 members of staff in the UK. The company works internationally with a further 65 people stationed overseas in 70 countries to help clinical trial researchers recruit eligible patients and keep them involved.

For more information, visit 


About Oliver Patch Project

The Oliver Patch Project (OPP) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that empowers children and teens to find their inner warriors, as they endure life-changing milestone events, by providing a bit of sunshine throughout their cancer journey.  

OPP’s mission is to create a free, fun, engaging platform where children, teens and their families can connect through a series of unique patches created by artists and designers just for them.   

We believe in the power of positivity to promote healing and are serving families in all 50 states!