In February, the Boonshoft School of Medicine, Wright State Research Institute, and Premier Health Partners announced a new clinical trials initiative to increase medical research opportunities for physicians and clinicians and boost access to clinical trials in the Dayton region.
The Wright State University & Premier Health Partners Clinical Trials Research Alliance is a public-private initiative combining the biomedical research prowess of the region’s strongest biomedical research institution (Boonshoft School of Medicine) with the region’s leading hospital system (Premier Health Partners).
“We are pleased to be partnering with Wright State University in this collaboration,” said Jim Pancoast, president and CEO of Premier Health Partners. “Physicians and other health professionals on staff at our hospitals have conducted clinical trials and research for many years, but now, through the new Clinical Trials Research Alliance, the impact will allow us to be much more far-reaching. This is a tremendous benefit to patients seeking New clinical trials initiative to boost clinical research in region answers to unlock the cause of illnesses and those looking for possible cures.”
Bringing new research dollars to the region
Over the next five years, the alliance will build a clinical research portfolio of $5 million to $7 million annually. The medical school’s average annual research portfolio during the past five years has been roughly $24 million. Doubling the total funding for clinical research at the medical school and Premier will have a substantial impact.
“The alliance will attract new research funding from federal and industry sources that will have direct economic impact by strengthening the medical science and services sector of the Dayton region’s economy, as well as create opportunities to commercialize new devices, treatments, and technologies developed at the university,” said Wright State University President David R. Hopkins. “The alliance will also help the partner organizations build a national reputation for delivering top-notch health care and serving at the forefront of medical research.”
The alliance is starting with a focus on securing industry-funded trials, but ultimately it positions the region to compete successfully for federal research dollars, such as funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
About $94 billion was spent on research and development in 2008 by the NIH, other federal sources, and pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies, according to Center Watch, the leading source of clinical trials information for both clinical research professionals and patients.
“Boonshoft is already nationally known for its biomedical research, and combining that with the clinical resources of the region’s largest hospital system will put Wright State and Premier on a national map in clinical trials,” said Arthur Pickoff, M.D., the alliance’s director, professor and chair of the medical school’s Departments of Community Health and Pediatrics, and assistant dean for clinical research.
“This research alliance will give the residents of the Dayton region and beyond expanded access to cutting-edge clinical trials, which will result in the development of the medical treatments and cures of tomorrow.” — Arthur Pickoff, M.D.
The alliance was established after several successful initiatives between the school of medicine and Premier. In addition to training more than 290 physicians across multiple specialties together, the two organizations have collaborated to develop multiple programs, including a Neuroscience Institute, a Level 1 trauma center, and one of the nation’s first Departments of Geriatrics, among others.
The alliance is now established at existing facilities at Wright State and initially with Miami Valley Hospital and Good Samaritan Hospital as the Premier hospitals, but will be quickly expanded to all PHP hospitals and practices in the future. Outpatient clinical trials are expected to be a significant segment of trials offered in the near future.
Increasing access for patients
New clinical research will be a big boon to patients in the Dayton region, who will be able to access trials closer to home.
While Premier has already conducted clinical research, the alliance “will create an infrastructure that will enable exponential growth in the number of trials we can offer, not just in sheer numbers but across a breadth of areas: neurology, cardiology, cancer, immunology, and infectious disease, for example,” said Molly Hall, M.D., vice president and chief academic officer at Premier.
Through clinical trials, doctors are able to develop new ways to prevent, detect and diagnose, and control and treat illness and disease.
“New drugs, devices, therapies—everything doctors use to help patients— comes as a result of clinical trials and research,” said Pickoff.
Decreasing workload for physicians
The alliance will not only increase research opportunities for physicians and clinicians, but also eliminate some of the headaches investigators encounter in processing the mountains of paperwork required to develop and launch a trial.
The alliance forms a single point of entry for interested investigators to access the services and benefits of the alliance, such as contract negotiation and budget development, as well as assistance with regulatory requirements, Institutional Review Board protocols, biostatistical reports, and financial management, among others.
The infrastructure will be managed by the Wright State Research Institute, freeing doctors and researchers at both Wright State and Premier from the extensive paperwork and bureaucracy that can discourage doctors from pursuing clinical research projects.
“We’re going to make conducting clinical research as easy as it can possibly be, allowing the investigator to focus on the science and the patient and not getting overwhelmed with paperwork,” said Pickoff.
The alliance will also help in attracting talented physicians and researchers to the Dayton region.
“We know that in order to recruit and retain the highest-caliber physicians, we have to provide a first-class academic enterprise and research opportunities,” Hall said.
“We anticipate this will be a gamechanger for clinical research in the Dayton region,” Pickoff said. VS