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Lifespan Creates Center to Support Clinical Research

3/3/2014

Clinical Research Center will provide key resources for investigators


Clinical research in Rhode Island just received a boost with Lifespan’s launch of a new Clinical Research Center. Based in Providence, the center will provide additional institutional resources to support investigators who are conducting clinical research across departments and medical specialties.

As this new center grows, its goals are aimed to make it easier for investigators to manage the multiple aspects of any clinical research study, such as study design and analysis, research nursing support, specimen processing and storage, medical oversight, project management and regulatory affairs support.

“I’m thrilled that we are able to take our research enterprise to the next level by launching the Clinical Research Center,” said Peter J. Snyder, PhD, Lifespan’s senior vice president and chief research officer. “By bringing together this outstanding collection of resources we intend to significantly increase the capacity of our faculty to engage in important clinical research that will improve the clinical care and lives of our patients.”

The Clinical Research Center complements Lifespan’s extensive research efforts, which attracted more than $80 million in external funding in each of the last three years. Lifespan’s research enterprise supports a total of 336,584 square feet of research space and is home to 370 faculty and more than 550 employees. The creation of the center ties together many of the organization’s existing resources, but also establishes a formal structure and setting to assist investigators.

The main part of the center will be located in the Coro Building a 270,000-square-foot building complex located adjacent to the Rhode Island Hospital campus. Coro is home to the majority of research laboratories in the Lifespan system. In addition to the center’s administrative offices, the Coro Building also includes an outpatient clinical research unit that includes five examination rooms, in a close partnership with the Division of Adolescent Medicine at Hasbro Children’s Hospital. A second outpatient unit is located in the RISE Building near The Miriam Hospital campus. This unit includes three examination rooms and immediate access to a central specimen processing lab. The new CRC will work closely with the unit at The Miriam, especially with respect to specimen processing and long-term storage.

“The new outpatient Clinical Research Center in the Coro Building expands Lifespan’s support for clinical research,” said Catherine Gordon, MD, MSc, medical director of the Clinical Research Center. “It provides a dedicated location for investigators to meet with study participants, and these additional resources will now enable many Lifespan clinical research teams to participate in multi-center trials and launch important research initiatives.”

Other resources available to investigators include:  

  • Specimen Processing Laboratory -- Located at the RISE building of The Miriam Hospital, the Laboratory serves as a resource for sample processing and shipping to support a broad range of clinical trials. Additionally, the Immunology and Microbiology Research Labs are co-located here. The new CRC has established a partnership with the team at The Miriam, enabling the transport of samples via a courier from Coro to The Miriam, and ultimately storage in a -80C freezer dedicated to the Coro CRC protocols.
  • Biobank – Also located at the Miriam Hospital, the biobank serves as an in-house specimen repository that can be used by Lifespan investigators.
  • Rhode Island Hospital Medical Simulation Center -- Offers investigators the use of unique physical space suited to conduct various research investigations.
  • Project Management -- Through the center, investigators will have access to project management services and support from expert clinical research coordinators. The coordinators can assist with study development, data management, medical and technical writing, regulatory affairs, contract and grant administration, and budget management, among others. Senior mentors within the Lifespan system and outside experts will also be hired and compensated by the CRC, to provide expert reviews of grant applications prior to submission.
  • Clinical Monitoring – The center plans to provide consistent access to highly skilled research nursing staff to monitor clinical services and collaborate with the medical director and project management staff. The nursing staff contributes valuable clinical insight that will help to optimize the research design process, and improve enrollment and retention in research studies.
  • Pilot/Feasibility Study Sponsorship – Funds will be available to help three fellow or junior faculty in the Lifespan system launch pilot studies. The hope is that the data generated from these initial studies can be used as preliminary data for subsequent larger grant applications.
  • Biostatistics Consultation Services and Data Management -- The Biostatistics Core at Rhode Island Hospital provides centralized biostatistics consultation services to investigators in the center. High quality data analytic services assist in study design and the clear communication of scientific results. The Biostatistics Core serves as a point of intersection for hundreds of researchers that facilitates the creation of new collaborations among researchers who may not have otherwise crossed paths

The Lifespan Clinical Research Center is available to investigators throughout the Lifespan health system, as well as to those investigators affiliated with any of Lifespan’s collaborative partner institutions.

For more information about the Clinical Research Center, please contact Nana Ofei-Tenkorang, clinical research assistant, by email at nofeitenkorang@lifespan.org or by phone at 401-793-8585.