LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) - Dozens of hospitals from across the state gathered to trade ideas Wednesday in Lansing for Clinical Trials Awareness Day.
"I always say that research gives hope and that's what it brings," said Spectrum Health Director of Research Denise Roe.
Hope not just for treatment and/or cures to disease, but also hope for more economic growth in Michigan.
"As we move forward reinventing Michigan, and we look at various infrastructures -- we look at financial infrastructure, road infrastructure -- I would like to look at our medical infrastructure," said Michigan House Health Committee Chair Gail Haines. "And see what we can do to let people throughout the United States know that Michigan is open on many many fronts."
"Our families are staying local and in this economy, that's really important," said Roe. "There's nothing worse than a family having to pick up and move -- to go 100 miles, 150 miles to get novel care when we can offer it close to home. So for Spectrum Health, it's been an avenue to increase our quality, to transform care, to improve care."
The end goal of Clinical Trials Awareness Day, according to Haines, is to to get all the hospitals across the state who do trials together in one place to both collaborate with each other and to let the people of Michigan know what's available.
"Usually the clinical trials offer you cutting edge medicine and as one of the speakers here said, you don't have to leave Michigan to receive cutting edge care. You can stay right here," said Haines.
"Over the past few years, we have significantly dropped our amputation rate at Metro Health," said Carmen Heaney, the Director of Clinical Research at Metro Health.
Metro Health has pioneered an amputation prevention program as a clinical trial. They were highlighting this successful minimally invasive surgery at Wednesday's event with video of real surgeries. The program reopens thin blood vessels in limbs in an effort to prevent amputation.
From clinical research surgeries to trials aiming to treat mental health or cardiovascular disease, West Michigan organizations were front and center Wednesday.
The goal was to develop cures and also create jobs.
"If you look at the medical devices that are being made here in Michigan and all the clinical trials, we could have a booming economy here," said Haines.
"Oftentimes research is a combination of what you would usually get -- usual care with an additive of something extra that might make the medicine work better," said Roe.
All the experts at Wednesday's event made a point of saying contemporary clinical trials are not guinea pig testing, but rather rigorously supervised research. Clinical trials aren't necessarily for everyone and they may carry other risks established treatment may not.
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