Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate Pediatric Research and Clinical Trials

At Boston Children’s Hospital, our care is informed by our research, and our discoveries in the laboratory strengthen the care we provide at each child's bedside. Boston Children’s scientific research program is one of the largest and most active of any pediatric hospital in the world.

In particular, our plastic and oral surgery researchers are yielding crucial insights into the causes and development of cleft lip/cleft palate, paving the way for the promising new treatments.

  • Boston Children’s plastic surgeon-in-chief, John G. Meara, MD, DMD, MBA, is examining quality, safety, cost and comparative effectiveness of treatments for cleft lip/cleft palate and other craniofacial anomalies.

  • Boston Children’s oral surgeon-in-chief, Bonnie Padwa, DMD, MD, is studying the facial growth of children with cleft lip/cleft palate, as well as surgical outcomes for procedures to repair these defects.

  • Boston Children’s plastic surgeon and Vascular Anomalies Center co-director John B. Mulliken, MD, is investigating the genetic underpinnings of cleft lip/cleft palate. He is also taking a closer look at the anthropometry—the science of individual humans’ size, form and functional capacity—of children with the condition.

Learn more about plastic and oral surgery research at Boston Children’s.

Clinical trials

Boston Children’s is known for pioneering some of the most effective diagnostic tools, therapies and preventive approaches in pediatric medicine. 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.

Boston 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 

Boston Children’s is involved in several multi-site clinical trials and studies. While children must meet strict criteria in order to be eligible for a clinical trial, your child may be eligible to take part in one. Before considering this option, you should be sure to:

  • consult with your child’s treating physician and treatment team
  • gather as much information as possible about the specific course of action outlined in the trial
  • do your own research about the latest breakthroughs relating to your child’s condition 

Taking part in a clinical trial at Boston 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.