NIH-Funded Critical Care Trials Group Begins Enrolling Patients
Jefferson is one of 10 clinical sites selected nationwide to participate
in the Critical Care Trials Group funded by the National Institutes of Health
(NIH). So far, six Jefferson patients have been enrolled in a study of acute
respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) made possible by the $4,000,000 NIH
grant to the group.
"This marks the first time the NIH has supported a coordinated group
of academic centers to design and carry out clinical trials in the areas
of acute respiratory failure, sepsis and critical care," says Jonathan
Gottlieb, MD, co-principal investigator and associate professor of pulmonary
medicine and critical care. With the large patient sample made possible
through a consortium, the group hopes to gather important clinical information;
even large individual centers cannot study enough patients alone to reach
sound conclusions. Paul Lanken, MD, associate professor of medicine at the
University of Pennsylvania, is working with Dr. Gottlieb as co-principal
investigator on the project.
The group's first study examines the impact of different methods of mechanical
ventilation for patients with ARDS. This syndrome affects more than 100,000
Americans annually and is fatal in 30 to 40 percent of patients. "Trauma
and sepsis can trigger acute inflammation in the lung, leading to inability
to breathe without a mechanical ventilator. Although many people do not
survive the first weeks of ARDS, those that do make it past the initial
stage have a good chance of healing completely," Dr. Gottlieb says.
"As part of the Critical Care Trials Group, we have the opportunity
to offer our patients participation in the most advanced treatment protocols,
as well as to enhance our state of knowledge," Dr. Gottlieb maintains.
"Jefferson continues to have a national presence in clinical critical
care research, largely because of the unique culture of teamwork and cooperation
among the departments of medicine, anesthesia, surgery, nursing, pharmacy
and respiratory care."
Mary Elmer, RN, is coordinating the clinical trials at Jefferson. The study
relies heavily as well on expertise from the department of respiratory care,
directed by Herbert Patrick, MD, clinical associate professor of pulmonary
medicine and critical care.