Precocious puberty (Early puberty)
Research & Innovation
Boston Children's Hospital's Division of Endocrinology operates one of the nation's most extensive research programs focused on pediatric endocrine disorders. With more than 50 basic science and clinical researchers, we are attempting to unravel the genetic and biochemical underpinnings of the endocrine system.
When it comes to puberty in general and what controls it, there’s a lot that doctors don’t fully understand. Nobody knows for sure what signals the secretion of gonadotropins, or what specific things need to be “turned on” to ignite puberty.
Researcher Yee-Ming Chan, MD, is studying kisspeptin, a neuropeptide hormone that’s presumed to be involved in the stimulation of pubertal development. Understanding kisspeptin and the search for other factors that control the onset of puberty will allow doctors to answer basic questions about the control of puberty as well as develop better methods of diagnosis and treatment.
Diane Stafford, MD, and several of her Children’s colleagues are currently working on a study to definitively diagnose who is in puberty and who isn’t by using something called leuprolide stimulation testing. Their research involves analyzing test data from patients they’ve followed over the years and comparing who has progressed into puberty and who has proven to be “a false positive” and did not progress into puberty. The results could provide much-needed insight into which patients require treatment for precocious puberty and which do not.
Children’s is known for pioneering some of the most effective diagnostic tools, therapies and preventive approaches in matters relating to endocrinological problems. A significant part of our success comes from our commitment to research—and to advancing the frontiers of pediatric health care by conducting clinical trials.
Children’s coordinates hundreds of clinical trials at any given time. Clinical trials are studies that may involve:
- evaluating the effectiveness of a new drug therapy
- testing a new diagnostic procedure or device
- examining a new treatment method for a particular condition
- taking a closer look at the causes and progression of specific diseases
Taking part in a clinical trial at Children’s is entirely voluntary. Our team will be sure to fully address any questions you may have, and you may remove your child from the medical study at any time.
Search current and upcoming clinical trials at Children’s.
Search the National Institutes of Health’s list of clinical trials taking place around the world.