Vanderbilt University Medical Center is one of the participating trial sites for Moderna’s pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial investigating the efficacy of the mRNA-1273 candidate. Targeting 1,000 participants in a study totaling up to 30,000, one of the volunteers was showcased recently via local news station WKRN.
Martha Deacon was actually born at the Vanderbilt hospital. She attended university there and when she heard that the clinical trial was hosted there, she signed right up for the trial led by principal investigator Dr. Spyros Kalams.
Dr. Kalams has been part of the Infectious Disease staff since 2002. Currently serving as director of viral immunology studies within the Vanderbilt Infectious Diseases Unit, he also is the Principal Investigator of the Vanderbilt HIV Vaccine Trials Unit. His laboratory actually investigates new strategies to quantitate HIV-specific cytotoxic T cell (CTL) and helper responses as part of his role as Director of the Laboratory Sciences Core of the Tennessee Center for AIDS Research. Dr. Kalams was the first to demonstrate the persistence of HIV-1 specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) clones in vivo during chronic HIV infection, and has received ongoing funding for associated research.
Dr. Kalams and team will track participants, such as Ms. Deacon, for two years. The well-respected infectious disease physician-researcher commented, “There may be some side effects from the vaccine, but if someone says, ‘now I have a cold’, OK that person, I need to get you in. We’re going to test you.”
Call to Action: The Moderna clinical trial is still in need of volunteers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. For those that are in this part of Tennessee and, like Ms. Deacon, want to give back, consider reaching out. The email: firstname.lastname@example.org.