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PMG Research of Wilmington a Strong Player in Clinical Research Arena in Eastern NC

PMG Research of Wilmington is one of over 60 clinical research-related businesses in the area and is at the top of their game. One of 10 sites belonging to the PMG Research network based in Winston-Salem, the Wilmington site has been conducting clinical trials since 1997. In that time, the site has conducted hundreds of trials for flu vaccines and for various common conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, heart disease and irritable bowel syndrome, among others. The site has a solid history of demonstrating excellence in customer service, quality data collection and compliance, and also has strong relationships with clinical investigators that are leaders in the clinical trial community. Furthermore, PMG Research of Wilmington is also a strong performer in terms of meeting enrollment quota; in fact one of the most notable PMG trials in regards to enrollment is a study currently underway for the drug Apixaban, which is being tested for use in treating deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE).

Kevin Cannon, MD, and his team successfully enrolled more patients in this study than any other facility in North America, and finished in a two-way tie for producing the seventh-most enrollees out of 258 sites in the world. Dr. Cannon, a hospitalist with Wilmington Health and also a Principal Investigator at PMG Research of Wilmington said, "This was a true team effort. Our team came together to recruit, screen and enroll these patients which is a testament to the way we work at PMG; we support each other". Worldwide, the enrollment period spanned over three years because eligibility requirements are very stringent in order to protect the patients’ safety. "To have such a large enrollment for a study like this is an amazing feat so I’m very proud of the PMG staff", Cannon continued. "Until recently, there haven’t been advancements for deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism with oral medications, so this trial could prove to be a significant move forward with respect to treatment for those conditions."

If approved for use for DVT/PE, Apixaban, by Pfizer, will be very beneficial and will have the potential to save countless lives. It is an anticoagulant and could theoretically replace Coumadin (warfarin sodium) as the treatment of choice for certain medical conditions because it may have fewer side effects and less interactions with foods and other drugs than Coumadin does. The study is double-blind, meaning neither the physician nor the patient knows if the "study medication" each patient receives is the actual drug or if it is a placebo.

"We have had the opportunity to treat over 70 patients with acute blood clots in either their legs, lungs or both. Many of these patients did not have insurance and were able to receive medical care, imaging and follow up that they would likely not otherwise have access to," said Rachel McCorkle, Assistant Site Manager and Certified Clinical Research Coordinator at PMG who is assigned to this trial. One of the many benefits of participating in a trial is that the participants receive study medication as well as a regular medical exam, routine medical care and follow-up during the course of the trial.

There have been documented instances of people participating in a trial and during an exam, find out they have another medical disorder they were previously unaware of. Whether life-threatening or requiring medical intervention or not, if it weren’t for participating in clinical trials, some patients may never have been diagnosed, or could have been diagnosed too late, if it had not been caught during a routine exam during the trial. A case in point: according to McCorkle, "Through the exams associated with this trial, we were able to diagnose clotting disorders in a few of these patients. Although this is unfortunate for the patient to have the disorder, we were able to set them up for extended treatment after they have completed the trial."

Participants are typically paid for participating in trials and are often reimbursed for travel and lodging if they traveled a long distance to the clinical site, so that is another draw for many people. Another reason someone may choose to participate is because they recognize they are doing a good deed and making a positive impact on the future of medicine and in the health of generations to come. Despite the large number of clinical research-related businesses in the area, Dr. Cannon said, "I don’t know that many people are aware that Wilmington is such a ‘hub’ for clinical research. So much can be gained from participating in a clinical trial; both the pharmaceutical sponsor and the participant can reap huge benefits. My hope is that more people will consider participating in a trial if the time is right and they find a trial that is suited for them." Without the volunteers, trials couldn’t exist and without trials, medications and devices would not be available.

PMG of Wilmington is currently enrolling approximately 20 different trials for conditions including acne, asthma, COPD, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, IBS, multiple sclerosis, prostate cancer and weight loss. For more information or to learn more about clinical trial participation, call 910.799.5500 or visit online at www.pmgofwilmington.com.

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