I had a chance to receive an update on our McLeod Institutional Review Board (IRB) last week. On November 8, Dr. Walter E. Connor, IRB Chairman, and Judy Bibbo, Vice President of Patient Services, provided the Medical and Educational Affairs Committee of the McLeod Health Board with an annual update and report on the McLeod Health Institutional Review Board.
During the meeting, they reviewed the responsibility of the Institutional Review Board – - to safeguard the rights and welfare of patients who participate in research studies at McLeod Health. The role of the IRB is to protect patients form physical, emotional and economic harm. Any healthcare organization that participates in research trials must have an IRB to review and monitor the trials.
Diversity of the IRB membership is also important in order to sufficiently evaluate the clinical study in terms of science, law, ethics and community attitudes. Membership cannot consist of entirely men or of women or entirely of members of one profession. In addition, there must be at least two members from non-scientific areas. One of those members must not be associated with the institution. Our McLeod Health board consists of 18 individuals who have supported our dedication to patient research and protection.
Over the years, the McLeod Health IRB has approved numerous types of clinical research, primarily in Cancer and Cardiac disease. This research has ranged from pharmaceuticals and devices to registries, databases, etc. Research has proven to be instrumental in not only providing an additional opportunity for a patient to be offered another avenue of care with a new treatment, but also in improving the performance and the long term safety and effectiveness of the research and devices.
There are currently more than 140 total active clinical research trials at McLeod, with 29 new protocols opening in 2012. Oncology is one of the largest areas of research at McLeod. This year, the Cancer Research Department opened 11 new protocols in collaboration with the Southeast Cancer Control Consortium and MUSC Hollings Cancer Center. Currently, the department has 120 patients involved in cancer studies and a total of 25 protocols open that patients can be enrolled in. Areas of cancer clinical research currently available at McLeod include: Brain Cancer, Breast Cancer, Head & Neck Cancer, Leukemia, Pancreatic Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Sarcoma, Small or Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer and Smoking Cessation.
This research is part of our certification as a Comprehensive Community Hospital Cancer Program by the Commission on Cancer of the America College of Surgeons. This significantly differentiates the quality of our program from other cancer centers in our region.
Cardiology Services also has several studies currently open involving data registries, use of cardiac leads, pacemakers, and defibrillators or Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT) systems.
Providing access to national and local research trials at McLeod allows patients to stay in their community and participate in research or studies that otherwise would only be available at nationally recognized institutions in other parts of the state or country.
We are pleased with the progress and development of our cancer treatment services. The McLeod Center for Cancer Treatment and Research supports our mission to improve the health and wellbeing of patients and their families. Join me in thanking these professionals for their work on behalf of others.