Print This Page Print This Page    Email this page to a Friend Email this page to a Friend
Take Heart Articles
Cardiac clinical trials at Palmetto Health
03/29/2006
Clinical trials at Palmetto Health seek to improve patient care

A clinical trial is a study done with humans that is designed to answer very specific questions, such as the impact of an investigational treatment or diagnostic test on a patient. This year, Palmetto Health is embarking on and continuing with several trials to help better understand and improve their patients’ heart disease, diagnosis and treatment.

Palmetto Health Heart Hospital cardiologist Dr. Bill Phillips is a principal investigator along with other physicians on several trials. He utilizes the services of the hospital’s Clinical Trials department, which is under the direction of Rosemary Biscardi, Manager, Clinical Trials. They provide trained, experienced research nurses to handle all aspects of coordinating a clinical trial under the supervision of physicians like Dr. Phillips.

“Coordinating clinical trials in cardiology was one of my main areas of interest in addition to Interventional Cardiology while training at the University of Virginia,” says Dr. Phillips. “I’m excited to participate. These trials give us the opportunity to educate the public and offer new ways of care.”

Biscardi says that by bringing more research studies into the hospital, Palmetto Health is positioning itself alongside such progressive medical centers as Duke Clinical Research Institute and Johns Hopkins. “We want to bring more treatment options and advanced technologies to our patients. Hopefully, the clinical research projects in which we participate will improve the standard of cardiac care, she says.

Clinical trials result in concrete information to add to the body of knowledge that exists in a particular area. They determine if something works or not. Once a drug or diagnostic treatment is approved, it may take months or even years before it becomes part of the standard.

Clinical trials are carefully chosen. “They must be trials coordinated by well-respected institutions that have a track record of producing quality work. Trials should be designed to maximize the potential benefits of advancing patient care and minimize any risk to our patients,” says Dr. Phillips.

Palmetto Health is a site for national registry databases, which contain information on the medical management of heart failure patients. “We also are part of several national registry databases designed to improve patient treatment and outcomes, by adherence to the practice guidelines released by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association,” explains Biscardi.

“Clinical trials give our community access to therapies that otherwise are not available,” says Biscardi. “Our goal is to provide access to new, potentially better cardiac treatments and procedures.”