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PEAK Research Advances Medical Knowledge with Clinical Trials
By Lisa Bianco

Why participate in a clinical trial? First and foremost your participation can help others by contributing to medical knowledge and improving public health. Participants in clinical trials play a key role in drug development and discovery; clinical trials contribute to knowledge and progress in treating and preventing diseases. PEAK Research in Upper St. Clair has been dedicated to supporting medical research through clinical trials since 2011.

Individuals participate in clinical trials for numerous reasons but often they are desperate for a solution to medical issues they have so far not had success in treating. These patients learn from their physician that they can apply for a PEAK Research clinical trial where a potential new medication is available. One patient stated, "There was nothing on the market to help with my Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), so I thought why not try a clinical study. I could not believe the change in my life after I started taking the study medication. I was able to eat foods I had not been able to eat in years. I was able to go places and not have to worry about being near a restroom. My quality of life was dramatically improved." In other instances patients simply cannot afford the medications to treat their non-life threatening conditions such as acne, keratosis, athlete's foot, and eczema. (These are a few studies currently offered by PEAK Research.)

The parent of an acne study participant reported, "I was so happy to have found the acne studies at PEAK. The study treatment helped my daughter feel confident again. She continues to enroll in acne studies that she qualifies for. I was a little nervous but the staff was very knowledgeable and made us feel comfortable with our decision to participate."

As part of a clinical trial, a patient will receive either the investigational product, an accepted standard of treatment, or a placebo. It's important that participants understand that there is no guarantee that any treatment received in a clinical trial will produce the desired results. Medications are part of clinical trials for a host of reasons. Sometimes medication is available in a clinical trial that has not yet been granted FDA approval for all age groups. Or, the generic formulation of the FDA-approved drug is currently undergoing the clinical trial. Generic medications must pass through the same rigorous screening and clinical trials that the original drugs undergo.

Says one of the founders of PEAK Research, "Participants receive free medical exams and any testing required for the trial is paid for through the study." Because of these exams and testing, at times other problems are discovered for which the patient can then seek treatment. The staff recalls one incident where a malignancy was detected in its early stages. That patient now says with relief, "I am so thankful that I had entered the study, the ultrasound found the cancer early and I was able to be treated." On other occasions it was discovered that patients had hypertension or elevated blood levels and they were sent to their PCPs for further evaluation.

PEAK Research has been providing Pittsburgh area residents with quality clinical studies for the past 5 years; however the company's owners who staff the facility have over 50 years of experience in clinical research. PEAK has the privilege of working with several local area doctors who function as lead physicians on studies, as well as some that refer patients for trials which can benefit them. PEAK also reports to a central institutional review board (IRB) that provides scientific oversight for clinical trials. An IRB is an independent committee of doctors, statisticians, and community members. The IRB's purpose is to ensure that clinical trials are ethical and that the participants' rights are protected. PEAK Research is dedicated to excellence and committed to the future.

The research facility is conveniently located in Upper St. Clair in the Summerfield Commons Complex. One study patient said, "It has been great to be able to participate in research studies that I did not have to drive into downtown to be part of."

The common thread PEAK staff found when interviewing study participants was that the individuals all felt immense gratification for the role they were able to play in the advancement of medicine.

Currently PEAK Research is seeking participants for upcoming studies in the area of dermatology, primary medicine, women's health and vaccines. A full list of the current studies can be found on the PEAK Research website at www.peak-research.com. For more information or questions about being a participant contact the office at (412) 595-7681.

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