Category: Clinical Blog

Our Staff Discusses COVID-19 Crisis on WPTF Podcast

Aubrey Farray is the Phase I clinical manager for Wake Research, the headquarters of the site network Tucson Neuroscience Research belongs to. He recently spoke with hosts Jason Kong (WPTF) and Nicole Clagett (Transitions GuidingLights) of WPTF’s Aging Well podcast on clinical trials in the COVID-19 crisis.  In the interview, he details the process of clinical trials, explaining what participating in a clinical trial entails for those who have questions, and discusses how the elderly population can still participate in ongoing clinical trials, and do so safely.

Farray also tells Aging Well how Wake Research is keeping current clinical trials safe for all participants during the COVID-19 crisis and emphasizes the important role clinical trials have right now in researching and testing drugs to treat COVID-19.

Listen to the full interview here:

Aging Matters Podcast: http://curtismediagroup.hipcast.com/rss/eyeonehealth.xml

Vaccine Awareness: What You Need To Know

Vaccines: Importance and Frequently Asked Questions
Right now, there is a large focus on the urgent need to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus that currently has no approved treatment or immunization. This has brought an awareness to vaccine research and development, and just how important it is more than ever.

There is a lot of misinformation that circulates regarding vaccines and what immunization does, so here are a few of the frequently asked questions about vaccines, answered.

Why should we vaccinate?
Vaccines and childhood immunization are vital practices to protecting yourself, your children, and the entire population from contracting dangerous diseases and from preventing outbreaks and pandemics.

As we are experiencing now with COVID-19, pandemics are scary, life-changing and affect much more than just our health and daily lives. Vaccines protect against diseases that have the possibility to become pandemics, and by continuously vaccinating, it is even possible for diseases to become completely eliminated – for example, smallpox.

How do vaccines work?
Vaccines create immunity in the body. When a virus infects the body, the immune system responds to this antigen with antibodies designed to fight it. The first time the body is infected with a specific antigen, the immune system must create those antibodies, which is why you get sick. But if that antigen infects you again, the immune system can recognize it, already has those antibodies, and can fight it off before you get sick.

Vaccines help this process by containing parts of the antigens that are weak enough to not infect you but are still strong enough to elicit an immune response – giving the body protection if ever exposed to this disease again in the future.

Do vaccines cause side effects? Are there risks?
Vaccines can cause minor side effects. These are usually very mild, like a sore arm at the site of the shot or a low-grade fever, and only last a few days. Like any medication or medical treatment, vaccines are clinically tested for safety and continuously monitored to ensure no adverse side effects are experienced. Also like any medication, some individuals may have a more serious reaction and need medical attention. But this is very rare. The protective benefits vaccines provide greatly outweigh the risks of side effects. As always though, discuss the risks and benefits vaccines provide with your doctor.

What diseases do vaccines prevent?
Vaccines protect against many dangerous viruses and diseases that without protection can have serious health consequences like disability or death. These include:

Chickenpox (Varicella), Diphtheria, Flu (Influenza)

Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b)

HPV (Human Papillomavirus, Measles, Meningococcal (Meningitis)

Mumps, Pneumococcal (Pneumonia), Polio (Poliomyelitis)

Rotavirus, Rubella (German Measles), Shingles (Herpes Zoster)

Tetanus (Lockjaw), Whooping Cough (Pertussis)

What is Vaccine Research and Development?
Another important part of immunization is ongoing vaccine research and development. For example, COVID-19 was just introduced to humans this year– meaning no one had built-up immunity for it, nor was there a vaccine to protect against it. Currently, researchers, scientists, doctors, and pharmaceutical companies are working hard to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 so that people all over the world can be protected from this deadly disease.

What would a vaccine mean for COVID-19 specifically?
To date, COVID-19 has affected over one million people in the United States alone. As that number continues to rise across the nation and globe, researchers are hoping to develop a vaccine that would help treat the disease and limit its spread – a vital practice with a disease as contagious as COVID-19.

Vaccines, in general, are effective in limiting the spread of disease by providing immunity. When individuals are immune to a disease, they are unable to be infected by it, which means they will not be able to pass it on to others either.

Interested in taking a 5 question survey on COVID-19 clinical trials and vaccines?
Click Here For Survey
At Wake Research, as a clinical site network, we play a vital role in the vaccine research and development process. At our sites, we conduct vaccine studies where vaccines can be clinically tested for safety and effectiveness for diseases like COVID-19 and more. All current vaccines once had to be put through clinical trials like the ones being conducted now.

Immunizations work and can help to save many lives. For more vaccine information, visit the following sites:

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/10-shouldknow.htm

https://www.who.int/immunization/research/en/

https://www.who.int/news-room/campaigns/world-immunization-week/world-immunization-week-2020/key-messages

Patient Testimonial: Parkinson’s Disease Clinical Research

‘The first step in finding the avenue for a cure’

In 2018, Veronica Arevalo was experiencing neurological symptoms and didn’t know what could be wrong. Her boyfriend took her to the hospital where she received a neurological exam. There, at age 48, Veronica was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, the disease her dad had been diagnosed with just 14 years earlier.

“I was always told it wasn’t hereditary,” Veronica said. “But when I was diagnosed in 2018, I said there had to be more to it, because there’s not a lot of information on the types that are hereditary and the types that aren’t.”

This winter, Veronica came across an ad for a Parkinson’s observational research study at Pharmacology Research Institute (PRI) in Encino, California — a part of Wake Research, the site network which Tucson Neuroscience Research belongs to. Upon learning that the basis of the study was giving a blood sample to look for the genetic markers associated with Parkinson’s, Veronica signed up.

“When my dad was diagnosed, I did my research, and I found that there really haven’t been that many changes or advancements from when he was diagnosed to now,” she said. “When I saw what the study was for, I said, ‘OK, this is actually something that can provide some results to where Parkinson’s is coming from and why.’”

Veronica and her boyfriend near their home in California.

NO KNOWN CAUSE

To date, there is no known exact cause for Parkinson’s disease. Existing research has suggested that genetic factors play a 10-15 percent role in the cause, and that those who have close relatives with Parkinson’s will have a higher chance of developing the disease in their lifetime.

Researchers have found that the genetic cause is due to specific gene mutations linked to Parkinson’s disease that are hereditary. The most frequently known genetic causes are mutations in the LRRK2 (Leucine-rich repeat kinase) gene and in the GBA (glucocerebrosidase) gene.

The study that Veronica participated in at PRI is looking for the LRRK2 genetic marker in individuals with Parkinson’s disease or whose family members have Parkinson’s disease.

“My mom didn’t believe that Parkinson’s was what I had because she believed my dad’s was caused by Agent Orange when he served in the Vietnam War,” Veronica said. “Then my dad felt responsible. So, if my results come back with this gene, I can tell him that it’s this specific marker, it’s a genetic thing, and I can put his mind at ease.”

HOPE FOR A CURE

Veronica hopes that for those who participate in this study, their results may not only give them a peace of mind, but will help contribute to finding out more about Parkinson’s disease — why it develops, a way to treat it, and possibly, finding a cure.

“Once I get my results back, then if I do have that gene, it will give me some kind of knowledge that they’re working on an advancement as to why Parkinson’s develops,” she said.

And she hopes more people affected by this disease will take the step to participate in the study and further contribute to research on Parkinson’s disease.

“People can get a little nervous sometimes about studies, but it’s very easy to do,” she said. “This is the first step in finding the avenue for a cure.”

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and you are interested in participating in our study, visit our Parkinson’s study page to find out more information and sign up.

Tucson Neuroscience Research and Western Neuro to attend 27th Annual Southwestern Conference on Medicine

Join us at the 27th Annual Southwestern Conference on Medicine in Tucson, AZ from April 26th-29th 2018. The conference is presented by Tucson Osteopathic Medical Foundation in joint providership with Cleveland Clinic. We will be sharing the space with Western Neuro: Arizona’s Premier Brain & Spine Specialists.

What: 27TH Annual Southwestern Conference on Medicine

Where: The Westin La Paloma Resort and Spa

3800 E Sunrise Dr,

Tucson, AZ 85718

When: April 26th-29th, 2018

Why: (From www.tomf.org/cme)

The Southwestern Conference on Medicine® is an annual event designed to bridge practice gaps between primary care providers’ current knowledge, practice performance, patient outcomes and the ever evolving standards of care in modern medicine. Primary care providers, internal medicine specialists, Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners and all other physician specialties are minimally exposed to the continual influx of new research data, recent studies and emerging disease states and lack expert mentoring to be able to improve competency, practice performance and patient outcomes. By providing the most current evidence-based findings, studies and technological advances, the Conference will allow the participants to advise their patients to improve care, outcomes and health. The knowledge, competence and performance gaps of this educational activity were developed from data collected from past Conference participants and outcomes measurement tools, the Planning Committee’s perceptions of needed improvements in primary care diagnosis and treatments, national and local statistics and review of current trends in technology and medical literature.

Tags: