Just as the death toll from COVID-19 rose over 90,000 in the United States, Operation Warp Speed was announced by President Donald Trump, an ambitious federally-driven, public-private partnership established to help overcome COVID-19. Among other things, a safe and effective vaccine is sought within just over half a year—by January 2021. Beating COVID-19 will take an organized and directed, collective and inspired, not to mention well-executed effort from all of America—as the epicenter of the pandemic is there. Much like fighting a war, everyone must do their part, including those staying at home in “shelter in place” living scenarios. From the highest levels of federal power to an individual living in Sacramento, California, the time for Americans (and others around the world as pathogens know no border) is now. Every individual and organization can play a role and make a difference, such as a commercial research site known as Clinical Trials Research® in Sacramento California with a new campaign for potential study participants still constrained by “shelter in place” rules in that state.
Research Makes Progress
Based in Lincoln and Sacramento, California, the clinical investigational site called Clinical Trials Research launched their “Become a Medical Hero during Shelter in Place” campaign, seeking patients to participate in clinical research testing investigational medicines. And research participation is of paramount importance. After all, without clinical research trials, many of the life-saving medications available today simply would not exist.
Participation is Key
Participating in clinical trials obviously isn’t for everybody and in many cases individuals may not fit a study’s inclusion criteria. But if there is a fit and the study pursues an important imperative, such as a COVID-19 vaccine, many participants could make a big difference joining the trial. Shelter-in-Place initiatives are still in effect in many places and, unfortunately, around 30 million are presently out of work. Perhaps one way to get activated, engaged, and participating in a noble cause while potentially securing some compensation for the time and effort includes participating in an appropriate clinical trial with the right research center, at a convenient location.
How about Sacramento as a place to sponsor clinical trials? What follows is a brief tour of the Golden State’s capital.
California’s Capital Area Thrives
Sacramento, California’s capital, used to be considered a fairly sleepy, “agro”-focused Central Valley town—except of course, for the hustle and bustle of politics near the Capitol building. How that has changed? At about 2.2 million, the metropolitan area thrives: a bustling and dynamically diverse metropolis just an hour from the 7+ million people or so of the bustling San Francisco Bay Area. Perhaps the exorbitant house prices of San Francisco and surroundings has offered Sacramento the opportunity to grow and expand beyond what could have been expected a couple decades ago.
And why not? Adjacent to the spectacular Sierra Nevada mountain range while only an hour from all that San Francisco has to offer including the cooler seaside in the summer; not to mention Napa and Sonoma County and the rest of Northern California, the City of Sacramento itself is perhaps the most ethnically diversified in the United States not to mention one of the most integrated nationwide. Its economy, long ago dependent on the peculiar mix of agriculture or politics (and by extension state government) has considerably diversified over the decades. Sacramento, unlike San Francisco, represents a place where an American “middle-class” quality of life is still obtainable for many.
Next to the Sacramento River with a port connecting Sacramento to the Ports of Oakland and San Francisco, the city itself is home to many established and increasingly growing business sectors generating new ideas, revenue and exposure for California’s capital. From health care (with many University of California Davis spinoffs) to clean technology and education and of course agriculture (California is America’s largest exporter of produce and vegetables) to the important state and local government sector, the city and county evolved and expanded and will continue to do so.
Health Care & Life Sciences in Sacramento
The life sciences and health care sector significantly influences the Sacramento regional economy, supporting over 279,000 jobs. A handful of not-for-profit health systems form a foundation for the region while each one has been consistently expanding. Over the recent years, over $18 billion has been spent on new facilities.
According to some data sources, the sector contributes $8.64 billion annually to the Sacramento area economy—again, pre-COVID-19 figures. Put another way, this dynamic and mission-critical sector contributes approximately 20% of the total pay roll for the entire Sacramento area regional workforce. There are over 100 biotechnology and medical device companies in the region and UC Davis of course is a well-known hub of research and innovation.
Clinical Trials in Sacramento
With a notably diverse and growing population, major health systems and over 100 biotech and medical device companies, Sacramento presently is home to about 948 active clinical trials based on a search in the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s Clincialtrials.gov. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many of these studies. This includes 158 early stage (Phase I) safety studies and 651 industry-sponsored studies. Sacramento could be considered under-utilized by clinical trials sponsors based on comparably sized metropolitan areas. For example, Salt Lake City’s metro (including Provo) totals 2.4 million and has recently supported 1,632 active clinical trials. With 2.5 million residing in metropolitan Portland, Oregon, the Pacific Northwest city supports 1,696 active clinical trials.
UC Davis—a Major Hub of Research
UC Davis represents an absolute hub of clinical research, not just for Sacramento but the rest of California and beyond. The public research university, part of the internally acclaimed University of California system, touts it conducts over a 1,000 research studies per year. This figure, of course, includes other types of research studies above and beyond clinical trials. A prestigious U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) Designated Cancer Center, the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center represents a place of hope for a large contingent of Northern California’s regional population combating that deadly disease. Based on a California law known as SB-37, most health plans must pay for “routine patient costs” involved in a cancer clinical trial. This law applies to those cancer patients participating in Phase I, II, III or IV cancer treatment trials approved by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Defense or Department of Veterans Affairs and most cancer trials.
An Active Clinical Investigational Site
Sacramento is home to dozens of organizations supporting clinical studies such as Clinical Trials Research® or CTR, the promoters of the “Become a Medical Hero During Shelter in Place” campaign. Founded by Dr. Jeffrey D. Wayne, a board-certified internist who has been practicing medicine since 1992, he has served as a principal investigator in the oversight and coordination of over 260 clinical trials across a wide range of therapeutic areas. Well respected in the research community, this regional site with two locations in the Sacramento area collaborates with well-known biotech and pharmaceutical sponsors, CROs and IRBs to conduct studies. Dr. Wayne is 100% focused on clinical studies giving up the clinic. According to the company’s web site, they have about 20 team members and have enrolled over 1,000 patients at two locations.
The research site is looking for those that are not busy now and seeking to get engaged with contributing to research. But it starts with education so the site invests its money, time and talent to educate the public.
The clinical site is actively supporting clinical trials involving diabetes, fatty liver, high blood pressure, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, asthma, enlarged prostate, male low testosterone, hot flashes (menopause) and more.
Recently, Sacramento’s KCRA Channel 3 profiled Clinical Trials Research in “Generous Patients Become Part of a Research History at CTR” in an effort again to educate the public about the importance of clinical research. Often sites must invest to educate the public as to the benefits of clinical research in the quest to increase study participation. Of course, sponsors, whether government or industry, often contribute but for many small research sites, the need for ongoing participant outreach stretches what are frequently tight budgets. Sacramento’s Clinical Trials Research has been a steady contributor to the research cause in Northern California.
Dr. Jeffrey D. Wayne, a board-certified internist
Call to Action: Do you live in the Sacramento, CA region and have extra time now? Consider learning about clinical research. Medical progress doesn’t happen without it. Read up on Operation Warp Speed, anunderstanding that at all levels of society contribution to a research agenda will help us overcome COVID-19.