June 20, 2018
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Research clinic seeks participants for drug trial

By Joni Averill

Back in April, I first wrote about the need for readers in eastern Maine who have Type 2 diabetes to become enrolled in a new clinical research trial, at no cost to them.

Your response was so positive that Gail Baillargeon, founder of Acadia Clinical Research in Bangor, is asking for your help once again.

Baillargeon, a certified clinical research professional or CCRP, is pleased to announce that Acadia Clinical Research has been selected as one of 700 sites in five countries now enrolling 12,000 patients to participate in a five-year trial conducted by the TIMI 53 Study Group. TIMI is an academic research organization affiliated with Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, both in Boston.

According to information provided by ACR, the purpose of the trial is to determine whether treatment with the drug Onglyza versus a placebo, when added to a patient’s other treatment for diabetes, will show fewer heart attacks or strokes.

“Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in patients with Type 2 diabetes,” Gail told me in quoting from the TIMI study group data.

“More than 60 percent of all patients with Type 2 diabetes die of cardiovascular disease, and even a greater number have serious complications,” she said.

That is why ACR is seeking clinical trial participants with Type 2 diabetes and who have a “history of heart attack or risk factors including hypertension, high cholesterol or are smokers,” she said.

The ACR seeks at least 20 participants for this trial and now has three enrolled.

“But we can take more,” Gail said.

In the past, participants have come from Houlton to Waterville.

The trial is not necessarily age-specific but is looking for people who have had a heart attack, stroke, other medical conditions caused by diabetes or who are older than 55 “and have high risk factors such as being a smoker, having high blood pressure or high cholesterol,” Gail explained.

Dr. Marie Albert of Corinth works with ACR weekly, Gail said.

People enrolling in the trial will be seen by ACR once a year for blood work, a physical and provided trial medication, which will be either Onglyza or a placebo, all free of charge.

In the meantime, participants will remain under the care of their primary care physicians, with whom ACR will work during the five years of the trial.

“This is a blind study,” Gail said.

“To avoid any bias neither we, nor the patient, nor his or her physician, will know which [medication] they are getting.”

ACR is a free-standing, research clinic, and Gail reminds potential trial participants that “we don’t make any advances in medicine unless we have participants who will be part of clinical trials.”

And that you can do right here at home: You can help make medical advances that can save the lives of others.

“We are really pleased to have been chosen for this trial,” Gail reiterated.

“There is no timeline on enrollment, but the sooner the better.”

To participate or to receive information, call 941-9965.

Joni Averill, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402; javerill@bangordailynews.com; 990-8288.

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