UAB Spends $1.6 Million on Expansion of Clinical Trial Facility

Female researchers shows off her technical prowess at UAB's new facility

The medical facilities at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) have provided the ideal location for patients, some with chronic illnesses, to receive experimental treatments in Birmingham, AL. Here, science and research have come together in order to produce some incredible breakthroughs. Plus, the medical staff is working to develop the best drugs and therapies through ongoing clinical trials, where some hopeful participants are given access to treatments not available anywhere else.

Now with the completion of a $1.6 million modernization and expansion of its Phase 1 Clinical Trials Unit, the facilities in the UAB Center for Clinical and Translational Science have never looked better, and are now much more efficient. This remodeling could certainly help UAB leave its mark as one of the leading medical research facilities in the country. According to Dr. Burt Nabors, the director of the Division of Neuro-oncology and the medical director for Clinical Services at CCTS, UAB’s first plan of action will be to expand the number of clinical trials offered in Birmingham, AL.

Increasing the Number of Trials Offered….

“As an institution, it gives us an infrastructure and platform to increase the number of trials we offer,” Dr. Nabors explained. “So ultimately, we would hope this translates to a better environment for people who do participate, and it will lead to better treatments for patients.”

One of the primary goals behind the establishment of this 8,000 square-foot addition was to create an even more comfortable and centralized area for their patients and study-participants, while also providing an even more efficient working space for health care providers on site. “A lot of time went in with facilities people and architectural people working with staff, physicians and nurses with work flow in mind,” added Nabors.

Following the completion of this new facility expansion, there are now five more fully functional treatment rooms and a second infusion suite which has nine brand new chairs.

What Do Patients think of this New Expansion?

One patient, 60-year-old Micki Davis, was a regular at the old unit and has already spent a fair amount of time at the facility following the expansion. Currently, her husband is one of the participants taking part in clinical trial which is testing a new drug for glioblastoma multiforme, a deadly form of brain cancer. Mrs. Davis has been quite pleased by what they were able to accomplish during the facility’s expansion.

Mr. Davis was diagnosed with this brain cancer around a year ago, and they have been coming to UAB twice a week to go in for treatment at the infusion unit. Micki claims that this was no walk in the park, but she says that the new unit has made things much more comfortable for her and her husband. In addition, the new infusion unit provides quicker access to the pharmacy, which means less waiting time for Mr. and Mrs. Davis.

Testing New Cancer Drugs at UAB

Currently, Paul Davis is one of the participants taking part in a clinical trial funded by the National Cancer Institute which is testing a drug referred as BSI-201. This experimental drug actually works by making cancerous cells more sensitive to chemotherapy. So far, Paul has had two of his three brain tumors removed and has undergone the standard cancer treatments (radiation and chemotherapy) while taking the experimental study drug. At this time, the remaining tumor in his brain has shrunk by about 33 percent.

Nabors believes that with this new expanded facility, UAB has progressed to the upper echelons of medical research and drug testing. In fact, he says to not be too surprised if some major biotech companies start to relocate to Birmingham. With the atmosphere that is being established at this facility, there should now be more research that is started and completed through all phases right here in Birmingham.

“We want it to go from bench to bedside, as they say,” says Nabors. “We don’t want to export that to other places.”


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