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NIH names WSU/DMC one of only 11 nationwide centers for acute care clinical research

February 23, 2017

The Wayne State University School of Medicine Department of Emergency Medicine and the Detroit Medical Center are one of only 11 institutions in North America recently awarded the Strategies to Innovate EmeRgENcy Care Clinical Trials Network (SIREN) collaborative award by the National Institutes of Health.

The collaboration will execute pre-hospital and acute care clinical trials, recruit and retain difficult to reach emergency care patients, and collaborate with investigators from major U.S. population centers, health care systems and academic environments. SIREN will serve as the clinical recruitment arm for major acute care NIH and Department of Defense research trials.

“This is quite an honor, and our acceptance reflects the level of success and commitment from our faculty, the School of Medicine, our internal collaborating departments, our external collaborators and their institutions, and our clinical partners at the DMC,” said Brian O’Neil, M.D., F.A.C.E.P., F.A.H.A., the Munuswamy Dayanandan Endowed Chair and professor of the WSU Department of Emergency Medicine, and specialist in chief for the DMC. “Further, it is testament to our abilities and our reputation in the academic community.”

Other SIREN hubs nationwide include Emory University, the University of Massachusetts, the Medical College of Wisconsin, Oregon Health and Sciences University, Temple University, the University of California – Los Angeles, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Minnesota, the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Washington.

“I am honored to be a part of such a distinguished team of expert physicians,” said DMC Chief Executive Officer Anthony Tedeschi, M.D., M.P.H, M.B.A. “This award clearly reflects the outstanding program, leadership, faculty and clinical partnerships engaged around caring for our patients and communities.”

SIREN, according to the NIH, will “harness multidisciplinary emergency care expertise to provide scientific leadership and the infrastructure” necessary to conduct large clinical trials to advance patient management in the pre-hospital and emergency room settings. The 11 hubs will contribute to the network through exemplary execution of clinical trials, including rapid start up and study enrollment, and by providing data in a timely fashion.

SIREN networks will conduct clinical trials that seek to improve the outcomes for patients with neurologic, cardiac, respiratory and hematologic issues, in addition to trauma emergency conditions. Hub sites will participate as clinical sites in every clinical trial performed within the SIREN network. “The beauty of SIREN as compared to other federal grants is that it facilitates collaborations across all departments,” Dr. O'Neil said.

The network hubs will select and provide oversight to satellite clinical sites, known as “spokes,” which must facilitate access to even larger patient populations to enroll in clinical trials. The spoke sites also increase access to patients with particular diseases or injuries.

The primary spokes in the WSU/DMC hub now include the University of Michigan, Beaumont Health, the Henry Ford Health System, St. John Health System and Spectrum Health System. Others spoke sites may join the Detroit hub in the future.

“The (NIH) reviewers agreed that the significance of the proposal lies in the existing partnership with active clinical trials, with demonstrated potential to meet enrollment goals,” Dr. O’Neil said. “Our strengths include innovative ideas, including the three-tiered methodology for screening and recruitment, a large area with an underserved patient population, a track record of high enrollment rates across specialties, experienced principal investigators with strong established relationships with pre-hospital emergency medical services, and excellent consideration of site training and standard operating procedures.”

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