Nephrology Clinical Research Center (NCRC)
Director: Emaad Abdel-Rahman, MD, Interim Director
UVA Medical Center – West Complex
- To conduct clinical trials for treatment, cure or prevention of kidney disease and conditions related to kidney disease
- To train and support physicians and other health care providers affiliated with the Division of Nephrology
- Patient safety, comfort, and satisfaction
- High quality services and products
- Fiscal responsibility
- Continuous education and improvement
The Nephrology Clinical Research Center (NCRC), part of UVA’s Division of Nephrology, conducts clinical trials with potential to benefit patients with kidney disease and kidney-related problems. Clinical trials participants receive free expert medical care, tests, payment, parking and medications.
What is a clinical trial?
A clinical trial is a study conducted with patients, usually to evaluate a new treatment or method of treatment.
Each study is designed to answer scientific questions and to find new and better ways to help patients. The search for good treatments begins with basic research in the laboratory and animal studies. The best results of that research are tried in patient studies, hopefully leading to findings that may help many people.
Before a new treatment is tried with patients, it is carefully studied in the laboratory. This research points out the new methods most likely to succeed, and, as much as possible, shows how to use them safely and effectively. But this early research cannot predict exactly how a new treatment will work with patients.
With any new treatment there may be risks as well as possible benefits. There may also be some risks that are not yet known. Clinical trials help us find out if a promising new treatment is safe and effective for patients. During a trial, more and more information is gained about a new treatment, its risks, and how well it may or may not work.
Standard treatments, the ones now being used, are often the base for building new, hopefully better treatments. Many new treatments are designed on the basis of what has worked in the past, in efforts to improve on this.
Only patients who wish to participate, and volunteer, take part in a clinical trial. You may be interested in or asked to enter a trial. Learn as much as you can about the trial, before you make up your mind.
Why our clinical trials may interest you.
The patients in a clinical trial are among the first to receive new research treatments before they are widely available. How a treatment will work for a patient in a trial can’t be known ahead of time. Even standard treatments, although effective in many patients, do not carry sure benefits for everyone. But, patients should choose if they want to take part in a study or not only after they understand both the possible risks and benefits.
The patients in a clinical trial are among the first to receive new research treatments before they are widely available. How a treatment will work for a patient in a trial can be predicted, but can’t be known for sure ahead of time. Even standard treatments, although effective in many patients, do not carry sure benefits for everyone. In addition, it has been shown that patients participating in a trial frequently have better outcomes, regardless of whether they receive the active agent or placebo (“sugar pill” ), the so called “placebo effect” of trials. But, patients should choose if they want to take part in a study or not, only after they understand both the possible risks and benefits.
Patients who take part in clinical trial procedures that do prove to be better treatments have the first chance to benefit from them. All patients in clinical trials are carefully monitored during the trial and followed up afterwards. They frequently become part of a network of clinical trials carried out around the country. In this network, doctors and researchers pool their ideas and experience to design and monitor clinical studies. They share their knowledge from many specialties about treatment and care. Patients in these studies receive the benefit of their expertise.
Based on what researchers learn from laboratory studies, and sometimes earlier clinical studies and standard treatments as well, they design a trial to see if a new treatment will improve on current treatments. The hope is that it will. Often researchers use standard treatments as the building blocks to try to design better treatments.
What are we researching?
- Adult and Pediatric Clinical Trials
- Kidney disease and related problems, like hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, and alterations in body sodium
- Mild to severe renal (kidney) insufficiency
- End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) and related problems, like anemia and hyperparathyroidism
- Dialysis (artificial kidney replacement treatment )
- Kidney transplant
- Plasma exchange
- Artificial organ supplementation
- Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) – in 1999 we began compiling a registry of individuals with PKD
- Exercise Research – Learn more about the links between exercise, physical activity and renal or chronic diseases
- New devices and methods to improve care
- New diagnostic tools to improve detection of disease
- Studies to better understand how disease develops in order to lead to earlier and better treatments and outcomes of treatment
- Interventions to decrease the risks of aging complications in patients with kidney disease