Research has a new home at Roper St. Francis

Someone – a Tradd Street socialite, a farmer’s wife in Hanahan, your son or daughter – just received a devastating diagnosis.

Hope glimmers in the form of clinical research trials, but those are happening in far-off settings such as the Cleveland Clinic or Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. They’re not a million miles away, but for most South Carolinians, they are out of reach.

Until now.

Roper St. Francis has welcomed the Clinical Biotechnology Research Institute (CBRI), led by Dr. Jacobo Mintzer, as a fully-formed research arm for the system. Dr. Mintzer’s vision for the CBRI is simple.

“Every patient who comes to a Roper St. Francis facility will be able to have access to the same cutting-edge technology as any center, anywhere in the world,” Dr. Mintzer said.

RSF & Research

Research is not a foreign concept at Roper St. Francis. Results from recent oncology and cardiovascular studies have been promising, and last year RSF became a charter member of Carolinas HealthCare System’s Levine Cancer Institute.

The CBRI is something more.

“We’ve always competed in the clinical and community setting,” said RSF President and CEO David Dunlap. “This immediately elevates us to a new level in terms of research.”

System leaders debated the best way to improve care through clinical research: Should RSF build its own program from the ground up, or look into bringing in an existing team?

Leadership opted for the latter approach. Dr. Mintzer, who at MUSC helmed one of the Southeast’s largest Alzheimer’s and neurological research programs, proved to be an ideal candidate.

Dr. Mintzer and his staff possessed the requisite experience and credibility within both the academic community and pharmaceutical industry to allow RSF to immediately raise its research profile. The CBRI team also offered the know-how needed to implement system-wide coordination and management of trials, as well as the ability to support recruitment, budgeting, contracting and more.

Initial Focus
In the immediate future, the CBRI will focus its efforts on Alzheimer’s studies, primarily involving oral and infusion drugs. As the institute continues to grow, research will expand into other studies to include cardiovascular, oncology and even HIV/AIDs arenas. The goal of the CBRI is to have other studies onboard by the end of the year.

Patients of the institute are generally seen on a monthly basis and the studies cost them nothing. More than a dozen Alzheimer’s research studies are currently underway at the CBRI.

Referrals aren’t required to be seen at the CBRI, which recruits heavily through local and regional media. Potential participants are required, however, to undergo a complimentary memory screening before being allowed to enroll in a study.

Currently located in North Charleston, the CBRI will relocate to a newly renovated space in Roper Hospital later this year.

How to Get Involved

The CBRI’s research would not be possible without study volunteers, and the institute is continuous in its recruitment.

Benefits of participation include:

  • Access to new treatments not available outside of the research setting
  • Close monitoring from the CBRI research team, while volunteers continue to receive regular care from their own doctor
  • The satisfaction of knowing you may be contributing to future scientific advancement or helping prevent others from suffering from the same disease

 Those interested in volunteering for a research study can contact the CBRI at (843) 740-1592.