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March 3rd, 2015

Join a Clinical Trial, and Become a Mayo Clinic Research Star

By In the Loop

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If you've ever thought, "I wish I could help further Mayo Clinic's research efforts, but alas, I am not a scientist nor do I play one on TV," well, have we got a deal for you. Participating in clinical trials is a great way that we non-scientists can help Mayo's researchers in their noble fight against seemingly every disease and disorder. If there were any doubt about the difference it makes, a recent spread in the Rochester Post-Bulletin should put it to rest.

Sundeep Khosla, M.D., Mayo's dean of clinical and translational science, tells the P-B there are "hundreds of research studies … underway each day at Mayo Clinic." And while there may not be enough time or newsprint to write about each one, the newspaper does a nice job of focusing on some studies it says carry "profound human potential." 

One of those studies being conducted by Anthony Windebank, M.D., and Nathan Staff, M.D. Ph.D., is testing the safety and effectiveness of using a patient's own stem cells to help ward off the effects of ALS. It's an effort that Drs. Windebank and Staff tell the P-B wouldn't be possible without those who have volunteered to participate in the study. "By donating their time and energy," they say, "our patients are making huge contributions to moving the field forward for all patients with ALS."

Another study involves Mayo's ongoing work to create an artificial pancreas "for external wear" to help patients with both type 1 and Type 2 diabetes better manage the disease. Researcher Ananda Basu, MBBS, M.D., tells the newspaper the artificial pancreas that he and others at Mayo hope to provide is designed to reduce the amount of time diabetes patients spend managing their disease "so that the patient has more time to enjoy life."

And there are plenty of other options available throughout Mayo for those interested in volunteering. Like the type 2 diabetes study Spencer Berge, of Kasson, Minnesota, is participating in to help researchers better understand the progression of the disease. Or the study that Juanita Yankson, of Rochester, is helping with to determine whether a new dietary supplement can help protect against certain gastrointestinal problems. Or a study that's looking at the impact of "exercise training on insulin sensitivity and mitochondrial function" that Jane Olive, of Mantorville, Minnesota, joined after seeing an ad for it on TV. "It's something easy, to give back," she tells the P-B.

Learn more about clinical trials at Mayo Clinic. Then give something back by sharing your comments below and by sharing this story with others.

Tags: ALS, Clinical and Translational Science, clinical trials, diabetes, Dr. Anandu Basu, Dr. Anthony Windebank, Dr. Nathan Staff, Dr. Sundeep Khosla, Research News

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