Research and Clinical Trials

Research and Clinical Trials at Lifespan

Lifespan’s research mission is to attract and support scientists and clinicians who work at the leading edge of their fields and who have the scientific vision to transform patient care. We encourage a culture of discovery and continuous innovation, attracting and retaining scientists, clinicians, medical students, and residents. As teachers, we also provide training for the next generation of biomedical researchers.

Lifespan Research Annual Report cover

Research Annual Report

One of our key missions as an academic health system is to support the basic, translational, and clinical research - across all our 18 clinical departments and within our interdisciplinary research centers - to improve patient care in our community, in our region, and throughout the world.

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COVID-19 Update: Important Information for Those Scheduled to Participate in a Clinical Trial
Lifespan has formulated a robust response to the current coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. We’re asking all patients, families and visitors to help us prevent the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19. Please call your research coordinator before coming in for your appointment if you fit into any of these categories

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During the most recent fiscal year, Lifespan’s external research funding totaled $92 million in grants and contracts, which demonstrates the creativity, ingenuity and importance of the biomedical and behavioral research conducted at Lifespan. Our research activities support approximately 357 faculty who are engaged in research and 610 staff employed in our research sector.

Approximately 1,500 current clinical research studies are underway, including tests of new drugs, devices, and diagnostics for people with cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and brain injury. We are also nationally recognized for our research in psychiatry, preventive medicine, and behavioral medicine, including our studies on depression, sleep disorders, weight control, and substance abuse.

In addition, Lifespan researchers collaborate locally with academic institutions such as Brown University, the University of Rhode Island, the Rhode Island School of Design, and Women & Infants Hospital, as well as Harvard University, Massachusetts General Hospital, the University of Melbourne, and many others. All of Rhode Island’s major research hospitals and labs are located within a five-mile radius of one another and Brown University. Rhode Island research institutions share core facilities in genomics, proteomics, high-performance computing, and scientific visualization. Rhode Island’s diverse, stable population and its compact size make it an ideal environment for large-scale, longitudinal research studies.

Lifespan Research Groups

medical research

Research Innovations

Lifespan researchers hold patents for:

• Artificial wrists
• Rehabilitation toys for movement disorders
• A liver cancer vaccine
• Artificial lubricants for osteoarthritis
• Neurostimulation for pain control
• Medical applications for nanolasers
• New treatments for malignant brain tumors

Clinical Trials

Lifespan hospitals sponsor many clinical trials, which provide valuable research information as well as cutting edge treatment for patients in the region. Eligible participants receive free exams, screenings and medications, depending on the type of study. Ask your physician or other clinical provider if you are a candidate for one of the many clinical trials currently underway at Lifespan.

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Research Assets

Lifespan research facilities and assets include:

  • Core facilities for electron microscopy, digital imaging and analysis, flow cytometry, histology, proteomics, and molecular pathology
  • Three Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) for stem cell biology, cancer research, and skeletal health repair
  • Lifespan Medical Simulation Center—a 3,000-square-foot training and assessment facility that is the largest and best-equipped in the region
  • Lifespan Clinical Research Center, which provides institutional resources to support investigators who are conducting clinical research across departments and medical specialties

If you are an investigator who would like more information about the services available at Lifespan to support your studies, please contact the Lifespan Office of Research.

An Economic Engine

In addition to improving health and saving lives through discovery and testing of new procedures and treatments, Lifespan research also contributes to our state’s economic development by:

  • Attracting national and international companies for local investment in clinical trials and basic and translational research
  • Creating start-up companies such as ProThera and Lubris BioPharma, along with high-paying “knowledge economy” jobs
  • Generating intellectual property in the form of patents and licenses