By Donna Loyle, communications specialist, LIMR
May 20 is National Clinical Trials Day, a special time of year to recognize the hard work and achievements of those who conduct clinical research. The date marks a fateful day in 1747 when Scottish doctor James Lind of the Royal Navy started a clinical trial whose results would change medical history.
Lind furthered the theory that eating citrus fruits could cure scurvy, which, it was later found, is caused by vitamin C deficiency. His research ranks as one of the first reported, controlled clinical experiments in the history of medicine and pointed the way for clinical trial design in the future. Today, every medication in the clinician’s arsenal and every medical device used in our healthcare settings is the result of the disciplined work of clinical researchers.
And that work continues. Here at Main Line Health, the Clinical Research Center of the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research is conducting close to 100 clinical trials, mostly for cancer and cardiovascular disease. Moreover, the team is actively enrolling additional patients for about 60 of those studies.
“The Clinical Research Center supports many different types of studies. For example, the interventional studies are testing the safety and efficacy of experimental cancer drugs, including immunotherapies, as well as already-approved medications that are being tested for other types of cancer,” said Paul Gilman, MD, director of the Clinical Research Center. “The team also is studying several new medical devices and procedures to treat cardiovascular disease and cancer, thus extending the clinical offerings available to our patients.”
Not all trials are interventional. For example, in some trials, participants undergo only observation while certain outcomes are measured.
All clinical studies in which Main Line Health participates are IRB approved, and all Main Line Health acute care hospitals have trials available. That said, not every trial is available at every site, so clinicians should check with clinical trial coordinators about the ideal Main Line Health location for their particular patients.
Among the cardiovascular conditions for which Main Line Health currently is enrolling patients in clinical trials:
- aortic and mitral valve disease
- aortic stenosis
- coronary artery disease
- carotid stenosis
- heart failure
- peripheral artery disease
Among the cancers for which Main Line Health researchers currently are enrolling patients:
- gynecological (cervical, endometrial, ovarian)
- head and neck
- lymphoma and leukemia
It’s important to note that trials close when they are full or finished, and new trials for a variety of conditions are launched on a regular basis, so do check back regularly.
Participating in clinical trials enables patients to gain access to potential new treatments, advance medical knowledge, and help others who may develop or have a similar disease or condition.
Clinicians can learn more about the clinical studies being conducted at Main Line Health by visiting: https://www.mainlinehealth.org/research/lankenau-institute-for-medical-research/professionals
Patients can learn more about clinical trial participation and read answers to frequently asked questions by visiting: mainlinehealth.org/clinical-trials.