November 4, 2019
How Research Helps Patients
Research is the future of medicine. It not only provides insights into new devices, drugs, and procedures, it also allows providers to explore new ways to serve the health-care needs of their patients and community.
Clinical research is a type of science that seeks to answer health-care questions ranging from “Is this medication safe?” to “Is this new device effective?” to “Is there a better way to provide health care to this population?” Some studies may involve healthy volunteers; others, patients with a specific condition.
Research requires providers willing to ask questions and collect information in a rigorous, systematic way to answer those questions. It also requires volunteers to agree to be part of those studies. This is how medical science advances.
Providers and staff at Lancaster General Health conduct studies in cancer and cardiology, as well as in trauma, nursing, primary care, bariatrics, emergency medicine, nephrology, pharmacy, and population health.
Cancer Research at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health
Studies at the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute explore possible new treatments for various types of cancer. For example, the COAST study—for people with locally advanced (stage III) non-small cell lung cancer that cannot be surgically removed—begins after patients complete standard treatment with chemotherapy and radiation.
The patients all receive Durvalumab, a drug already approved for lung cancer that helps the body’s immune system kill cancer cells that may remain. Some patients also receive experimental immunotherapy drugs in combination with Durvalumab.
The main purpose of the study is to determine whether the addition of the experimental drugs is an improvement over Durvalumab alone. Researchers want to learn if patients getting the new combination of immunotherapy drugs show increased activity against their tumors, compared to those getting Durvalumab alone. They also want to learn about the safety of the drugs and how the immune system responds to them.
To learn more about this study, you may call the oncology research department at the Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health, Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute at 717-544-0511.
Heart Research at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health
At the Heart & Vascular Institute, the MINT (Myocardial Ischemia and Transfusion) study involves patients who have just had heart attacks. Researchers are exploring whether a more liberal transfusion strategy (giving patients blood before the usual criteria for anemia are met) might give the heart more oxygen and reduce the rate of another heart attack or death within 30 days. Research staff follow up with patients at 30 days and 6 months to learn about their health and quality of life.
Sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the study is led by Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
View a full list of all current studies across Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health.