Two New Orleans-area medical institutions are leading the way in clinical research to address some of the nation’s most prevalent health problems.
Tandem Clinical Research has offices in Marrero and Metairie, as well as in Florida and New York. The team has conducted more than 350 research trials, led by board-certified physicians and other trained clinical staff.
Some ongoing studies by the Tandem team focus on liver disease, COVID-19, migraines, Alzheimer’s disease, Crohn’s disease, diabetes and more.
“We perform clinical research on drugs and devices that meet a need in the community,” said Dr. Adil Fatakia, Tandem’s chief medical officer. “We try to find specific problems that don’t have an ideal solution and provide people with access to cutting-edge drugs and devices aimed at solving those problems.”
Fatakia said that while every research trial is different, most last three months to a year. During this period, participants have regular appointments, but generally no more than one per month. There are no insurance requirements and participants are compensated for their time and participation in each trial.
“Everything is documented, so we regularly collect data from participants,” Fatakia said. “It could be lab work, questionnaires or imaging studies. Our job is to provide clean, good quality data while ensuring patient safety. »
Fatakia said that as a research site, Tandem Clinical Research serves as something of an intermediary between drug companies and federal regulators. When a company has a new drug or device ready for testing, that company contacts Tandem to assess their interest.
“We look at the problem they’re trying to treat and the drug or device they’re using,” he explained. “We are looking at whether we have enough patients to do a substantial trial. If we feel it’s okay with us, we pursue it and the company can approve or reject us as a research site. »
Fatakia said he was particularly excited about Tandem’s participation in trials for fatty liver disease, which can be difficult to detect but can lead to cirrhosis in some patients.
“If you can fix it early, it makes all the difference,” he said. “It’s an area where we focus a lot of our resources.”
Another Tandem study focuses on Alzheimer’s disease. Fatakia said the participants do not currently have symptoms of Alzheimer’s, but their imaging results put them at extremely high risk of developing the disease. The drugs being tested can significantly delay the onset of symptoms and disease progression.
Other trials focus on COVID-19, low testosterone, hearing loss, asthma and other conditions. Fatakia said that in certain situations, such as the coronavirus, it has been relatively easy to find participants. Sometimes people are more reluctant, especially if they have no current symptoms.
“We understand that people can sometimes be hesitant to take an experimental product,” he said. “Most people want to do things for their own well-being, so if they don’t have issues, it can be harder for them to commit. We work with local doctors and patients to make sure they are comfortable and the situation is right for them.
For more information, visit www.TandemClinicalResearch.com.