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URMC / Clinical & Translational Science Institute / Stories / May 2021 / UR CTSI Opens New Space to Study Infusion Therapies at URMC

UR CTSI Opens New Space to Study Infusion Therapies at URMC

After months of planning and renovations, the UR CTSI’s new Clinical Research Infusion Center is now open for business. The new center, which was funded by the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, provides a safe space for researchers to test new infusion drugs, like monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Example of an infusion bay inside the new Clinical Research Infusion CenterInfusion bay inside the Clinical Research Infusion Center. Photo credit: Ann Miller, RN, MS, CCRC.

The 1,600-square-foot space located in the Medical Center includes four infusion bays, a staff office and a workroom that serves as touchdown space for researchers. With an upgraded air handling system and four adjacent designated parking spots, the center is handicap accessible and meets regulations for treating COVID-positive study participants. As an added safety measure, a direct entrance to the center from the parking lot allows COVID-positive participants to avoid walking through the Medical Center.

 

“We have needed this space for some time, and the need became apparent during the COVID pandemic,” said UR CTSI Co-Director Martin Zand, M.D., Ph.D., who is also senior associate dean for Clinical Research at URMC and led the charge to create the new space. “Our existing infusion spaces were devoted to clinical care of patients, many of whom are ill and/or immunocompromised. We needed a space dedicated to research studies where we could safely infuse COVID-positive research subjects without putting other patients at risk.”

Entrances to two infusion bays inside the new Clinical Research Infusion CenterEntrances to two infusion bays in the Clinical Research Infusion Center. Photo credit: Ann Miller, RN, MS, CCRC.

To start, the center will be devoted to testing COVID infusion therapies and seeing COVID-positive study participants. Michael Keefer, M.D., professor and interim chief of Infectious Diseases at URMC, is the first to use the space for an NIH study testing monoclonal antibodies in patients who have COVID. In fact, Keefer and others in the Infectious Diseases Division were key partners in planning and developing this new, specialized extension of the UR CTSI’s existing Clinical Research Center. 

“This new center is advantageous not just for COVID, but for conducting research with patients who have any contagious infection,” said Keefer. “We’re focused on COVID now, but the center will allow us to study other infectious diseases and will help us be prepared in the event of future outbreaks.”

As the demand for COVID studies eventually wanes, the center will open up to infusion studies that do not involve COVID-positive patients. The timing of that shift will depending on changing study needs. In the meantime, non-COVID studies that involve infusions will be able to use the original Clinical Research Center space.

At the moment, the center can accommodate several more COVID studies. URMC researchers should follow the application process for the Clinical Research Center to use the new Clinical Research Infusion Center for COVID-related infusion studies.

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The UR CTSI’s Clinical Research Center is supported by the University of Rochester CTSA award number UL1 TR002001 from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health. The Clinical Research Center provides an optimal setting to conduct safe and controlled inpatient and outpatient clinical studies involving children and adults.

Susanne Pritchard Pallo | 5/14/2021

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