If you’re like most people, the words “clinical trials” provoke thoughts of a laboratory filled with beakers, stirring rods and microscope slides at a large medical research facility or a teaching hospital in a big city.

The reality is clinical trials take place every day — in South Georgia — at Archbold’s Loudermilk Heart and Vascular Center and Lewis Hall Singletary Oncology Center.

And it’s Archbold physicians that work closely with local patients who volunteer to participate in the research of the latest medical advancements available — procedures and medication — that have the potential to help thousands of patients worldwide combat cancer and heart disease.

According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, a clinical trial is performed to determine the safety and efficacy of a specific intervention—such as medical products like drugs, devices, procedures, or even changes to participants' behavior (for example, diet) — by measuring certain outcomes in participants.

When a new medical product or approach is being studied, it is not usually known whether it will be helpful to the patient, or perhaps any different than currently available alternatives, including no intervention at all.

 “We currently have 46 patients enrolled in 12 unique clinical trials, six of which are clinical treatment trials and six that are registries,” said Singletary Oncology Center administrator Bill Tustin. “Our physicians are well respected in the research industry and their relationships with prominent pharmaceutical organizations have landed us research partnerships with Amgen, Eli Lilly and XBiotech, just to name a few.”

See Saturday's edition for more details.

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