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'Any enrollment, any time': Penn Acute Research Collaboration supports lifesaving research

October 19, 2016

PHILADELPHIA - Life-threatening injuries - like those sustained in car crashes, falls, shootings - happen in a flash, and illnesses like cardiac arrests and strokes can strike without warning. These patients are often brought to a hospital outside of standard daytime hours of operation, or in conditions that prevent them and their families from being approached about participating in research exploring new treatments for these critical conditions. To address these gaps in research, on Thursday, Penn Medicine will formally launch the Penn Acute Research Collaboration (PARC), a first-of-its-kind initiative to give a much needed shot of support to research projects in emergency departments, trauma bays, operating rooms, and intensive care units.

"Research studies require time-intensive screening and processes to receive patients' consent that often make it difficult or impossible to examine new treatments or procedures for sudden and potentially life threatening illnesses and injuries, where time may be of the essence," said Benjamin Abella, MD MPhil, an associate professor of Emergency Medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, PARC Medical Director, and director of the Penn Center for Resuscitation Science. "PARC streamlines these efforts and eliminates processes that so often end up wasting time, resources, and precious research funding. This is a model that we believe will both save lives in real time and map the future of care for these deadly conditions."

Led by a multidisciplinary team - including faculty from Emergency Medicine, Traumatology, Orthopedic Surgery, Neurology, and Neurosurgery, PARC will make it possible for teams to conduct acute clinical research on injuries and illnesses involving patients who are incapacitated, require specialized emergency or intensive care, or have a narrow window for receiving new or experimental treatments.

Studies could include patients with sudden cardiac arrest, hemorrhagic shock, pelvic fracture, acute coronary syndrome, or traumatic brain injuries. PARC will include a trained, dedicated workforce of research staff who will screen and enroll eligible subjects 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

As part of the PARC initiative, opening at the same time is the 770 square feet collaborative translational laboratory spaces at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center. The new state-of-the-art space will house laboratory equipment that will be shared among the multidisciplinary team, creating an innovative blend of laboratory and clinical support.

"Questions around ethical and legal requirements have hindered research on new ways to prevent and treat life-threatening conditions. But, recent research has shown that there is a desperate need for improved patient care in these areas, and we have a moral and ethical obligation to meet that need," said Carrie Sims, MD, MS, an associate professor of Surgery Medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and PARC Translational Laboratory Director. "By combining experience and training, and sharing resources and technology, the PARC model fosters creativity and collaboration, allowing our teams to apply for and secure a wider breadth of research funding, and carry out life-saving research in an expedited and efficient way."
Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania(founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $5.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 18 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $373 million awarded in the 2015 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2015, Penn Medicine provided $253.3 million to benefit our community.

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

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