Clinical Trial Patient Thanks Hometown Researchers

Clinical Trial Patient Thanks Hometown Researchers

03.11.14 | By

You could have heard a pin drop as onetime clinical trial participant Laura Hull spoke at yesterday's "Research in Your Backyard" event in Winston-Salem, N.C. More than a few eyes had tears in them.

"You are my heroes," she told the researchers, clinicians and biopharmaceutical research promoters assembled in the atrium at Biotech Place in the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter.  "I was so grateful to have been able to participate in a clinical trial. It helped to give me hope and a sense of purpose."

A patient who has suffered the debilitating effects of ulcerative colitis, Hull said research institutions such as Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and Forsyth Medical Center "have served the patients of Winston-Salem well" by turning this city known for its cigarette companies into a center of biomedical research and clinical trials.

The atrium at Biotech Place was once a tobacco warehouse.

Biopharmaceutical companies have been attracted by a growing research infrastructure to conduct about 2,000 clinical trials in just 15 years in Winston-Salem, Greensboro, High Point and Burlington, all part of the 12-county Piedmont Triad Region of North Carolina. Winston-Salem has had about 1,500 trials of potential new medicines since 1999.

"You don't have to travel to Texas to find a clinical trial," said Hull, a 28-year Winston-Salem resident. "It made it easier for me to participate by not having to leave my family. I encourage patients in Winston-Salem to consider clinical trials."

More than 100 trials conducted by biopharmaceutical companies and their local research collaborators are still recruiting patients in the Piedmont Triad Region.

What was especially poignant was Hull's strong support of clinical research even though she was unresponsive to the medicines tested in her two clinical trials. Her hope is an altruistic one: that whatever was learned from her participation will help other patients as effective new treatments are developed.

Laura Hull gave the researchers at the unveiling of the new report, "Research in Your Backyard: Pharmaceutical Clinical Trials in the Piedmont Triad Region," something she said they had given her: a renewed sense of purpose.




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