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Clinical Trial Unit Opening at Saint Mary's

Katie Halloran, Public Relations and Communications
Cell: 616.260.5101 

Media tours will be provided for media, led by clinical research staff

Clinical trial unit opening at Saint Mary's
Bringing National Trials Closer to Home

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A new 6,000-square foot, eight-bed Clinical Trial Unit, located on downtown campus, is slated to open its doors at Saint Mary's in early November 2011. As West Michigan's first Clinical Trials Unit, the unit will open with Phase 2 and 3 phase clinical trials, soon to house Phase I clinical trials. A great community benefit, now people who live in the Grand Rapids area will have access to national clinical trials.

"We are excited to have this space for clinical research, allowing us to offer clinical trials we were previously unable to offer. A unique feature of this space relates to general operations, which allows for overnight stays and expanded hours of operation so we can open studies with such requirements," commented Susan Hoppough, RN, PhD, Saint Mary's Director of Research and Innovation.

The Clinical Trial Unit will consist of two separate components of four-bed modules that are able to provide research participants with overnight or even extended care, for those customers who have to stay for extended periods. The unit will be open 24-hour seven days/week. Some research participants will not have to stay overnight in the new unit. To meet the needs of those cognitively impaired, one half of the unit will include specific security and safety features allowing for the conducting of CNS (central nervous system disorders) clinical trials. The other half of the unit will focus on non-CNS therapeutic areas including, but not limited to oncology, diabetes, nephrology, and HIV/AIDS, clinical areas in which Saint Mary's has special expertise.

A doctor of pharmacy for research, Brian Berryhill, will have responsibility for all things related to Investigational Medications throughout the hospital. "Within the Clinical Trial Unit, there are some unique aspects to this work, said Berryhill. "At the Phase I level of development, a sponsor, such as a pharmaceutical company, may not have a prepared dosage formula yet. This means they may not have determined how they are going to make their final product, such as a tablet or a capsule. For study purposes, they may provide us with a bulk supply of the chemical powder, and I would measure and prepare individual doses for study participants."

Additionally, Berryhill will play an administrative role in developing policies and guidelines, reviewing studies that Saint Mary's is considering placing in the Clinical Trial Unit, and other operational considerations.

The Clinical Trial Unit will advance translational medicine through collaboration among public, private, and academic partners in the conducting of early phase clinical trials.

Tours of the new facility will be available to media, led by Susan Hoppough, PhD, RN Director of Research & Innovation at Saint Mary's Health Care.


Saint Mary's Health Care is an integrated network of health care excellence offering a unique combination of capabilities to deliver a health care experience that is more complete and personally satisfying. Our commitment to offer the latest technology and most highly skilled physicians in a holistic, patient-centered environment has made us a progressive leader in cancer care, neuroscience, orthopedics, diabetes and endocrine care, kidney transplants, and integrative health care.

The network encompasses more than 2,400 employees, a 344-bed, The Joint Commission-accredited teaching hospital, The Lacks Cancer Center, The Wege Institute: Mind, Body and Spirit, the Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology, the Neuroscience Program, three fitness centers, five community outreach centers and affiliations with home health care, rehabilitation services, and the area's premier primary care network, Advantage Health Physician Network. Saint Mary's has several times been awarded the Governor's Award of Excellence and named one of West Michigan's 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For. Saint Mary's is a member of Trinity Health, the country's fourth-largest Catholic health care system.