For some individuals with congestive heart failure, the COVID-19 shutdowns couldn’t have come at a worse time as many research centers had to temporarily halt studies. This put some patients at great risk. In one case, a patient named Brendle Miller found an active site with an open study an eight hour drive away at the Jacksonville Center for Clinical Research. Although a considerable inconvenience, that drive and the clinic’s ongoing operational status represented a lifeline; and it is that way for many cardiovascular patients around the United States. In fact, across the nation up to 60,000 patients die per month due to cardiovascular conditions. For those patients that depend on studies for their health, COVID-19 introduced high levels of fear and uncertainty. That Jacksonville Center for Clinical Research continued on was a life saver for Ms. Miller.
Research-as a-Care Option Saves Lives
About 6.5 million Americans struggle with heart failure in the United States, reports the CDC. For many, such as Brendle Miller, access to clinical research as a care option literally keeps them alive. The recent shutdowns could have been devastating for her but she was able to find a study that was open at Jacksonville Center for Clinical Research. But as Jacksonville’s First Coast News recently reported, her congestive heart failure couldn’t wait for the opening up. So even though she moved hours away from Jacksonville, he thankfully found a study at the clinical research site and was able to join a study, noting, “I was basically just barely existing until I came to the clinic. I have learned so much about my disease because of my association with the clinic.”
Jacksonville Center for Clinical Research (JCCR)
Based in Jacksonville, FL, Jacksonville Center for Clinical Research is a member of the ENCORE Research Group, a premier clinical research organization having conducted over 2,500 clinical trials over the past 20 years. The research site organization has worldwide recognition for providing patients access to cutting edge medical research. ENCORE Research Group can be considered a network of sites across Florida.
This site has conducted over 1,200 clinical trials since 1997. The four acre campus includes corporate offices for centralized site services for Encore Research. With over 50 physicians conducting trials in 25 therapeutic areas, the site is well equipped to perform Phase I through Phase IV studies, including first-in-human PK and PD protocols.
JCCR is the largest of the ENCORE affiliated sites. Multi-specialty physician investigators from throughout the metropolitan Jacksonville area participate in research trials at the center. The site includes enhanced capabilities from long-term stay facility to exercise stress test equipment, an active impatient research team and a database of over 60,000 prospective study participants.
Phase ll Initiated, “Making the World A Better Place”
Education and awareness are a big part of clinical trials, which is why researchers are working hard to make completing their research as safe as possible. “We don’t do research to publish papers and make presentations,” said Dr. Alexander Parker, senior associate dean of research and director of Precision Medicine at UF College of Medicine in Jacksonville. “We do it to make the world a better place and when we have to slow down that’s not good.”
UF Health is in their phase two for getting researchers back to the lab. But outside the lab, research never stopped. They’re working to improve healthcare for the next generation and those here now. Clinical trials and the education that come with them are already doing that.
“We challenge our researchers every day when they come up with an idea to tell us how it’s gonna make things different,” Parker said. “Tell it in the story of a patient. How will the story for that patient be different?” In fact, Parker says at UF Health during the quarantine, they had the most National Institutes of Health grant submissions they ever have.
Call to Action: Offering clinical research as a care option continues to grow in its value and potential to save lives; and although COVID-19 has made this even more challenging for providers across the nation, it’s researchers like those at UF Health that keep the clinical trial world turning.