About the Clinical Trials Unit
Xavier University’s Clinical Trials research facility is located in downtown New Orleans, Louisiana, the home of Mardi Gras and Jazz. It is conveniently located 20 minutes southeast of New Orleans International Airport. Several major hospitals are within close proximity to our research facility. The Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) was developed to provide high quality, individualized, clinical research assistance to pharmaceutical and allied health care companies in bringing their discoveries to market in the most safe and efficient manner. It also affords the students of the College of Pharmacy a first hand look at a most important part of the drug development process.
Prior to Hurricane Katrina the CTU staff consisted of a board certified cardiologist as our medical director, a pharmacist, and RN clinical research coordinators with varied clinical backgrounds. The unit has not been active since the storm and only retains its director who is charged with the duty of re-establishing the unit. Our past experience with research tools such as ambulatory blood pressure monitors, IVRS and other tele-randomization systems, electronic case report forms and having a Certified Clinical Research Coordinator on staff attracted interest to our unit as a viable research site. We are in the process of rebuilding our physician and staff infrastructure.
Facility and equipment
The CTU is located within the College of Pharmacy’s research wing. The unit consists of administrative offices, a clinic area, nurses’ offices and a laboratory. Our facility has been completely restored. The laboratory has a refrigerated centrifuge which was not affected by the storm, however the refrigerator and ultra-low (-85 degrees C) freezer were damaged in the storm and will need to be replaced.
Volunteer and Physician Base
The CTU’s specialty was in the area of cardiovascular disease, including hypertension, congestive heart failure, and angina within the minority populations. Prior to the storm collaborative efforts with an established New Orleans Health Care System, a sizable student population, community outreach programs, extensive staff and faculty, and physician referrals, formed the basis of our volunteer population. We provided a variety of patient demographics specializing in African American lower income populations spanning diverse medical diagnoses. Using data supplied by the 2006 Louisiana Health and Population Survey for Orleans Parish, we are trying to determine how to tap into the current population to support the CTU’s operation. Post-Katrina we have started preliminary talks with several physicians who have retuned to determine their interest in serving as PI’s for our studies.