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Format: 04/25/2014
Format: 04/25/2014


Clinical Trials at Allegheny Valley Hospital Offer Patients Access to Leading-Edge Medicine

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Natrona Heights, Pa., - The results of the ASCEND-HF investigational clinical trial on the drug, Natrecor were released at the annual American Heart Association Scientific Sessions November 14, 2010 in Chicago Illinois. The drug was proven safe for patients with acutely decompensated heart failure and provided valuable insight into the importance of conducting large-scale clinical trials. 

Allegheny Valley Hospital, (AVH) was selected to participate in the ASCEND-HF study in November 2007 and worked closely with Cleveland Clinic and Duke Clinical Research Institute throughout its duration. AVH was one of the leading sites in the country for enrolling patients into the clinical trial.

“To be chosen to participate in a major clinical trial is an honor,” said Venkatraman Srinivasan, MD, AVH cardiologist and principal investigator for the study. “Many hospitals want to participate in clinical trials so they can offer interested patients access to potentially new treatments.”

According to Dr. Srinivasan, clinical research programs are of great benefit to the local community. “Not only do patients receive expert medical care for the condition being studied, but they also have the unique ability to contribute to promising medical research and treatment advances.”

A clinical trial is a research study designed to determine the effectiveness and safety of a new drug or device. Such studies often compare existing, standard treatments with new therapies to determine which is more effective. During a carefully conducted clinical trial, a protocol is strictly followed, establishing the type of patient that may be enrolled, tests and procedures that are required, and the length of the study.

Anthony Pocetti, a patient who participated in the ASCEND-HF study at Allegheny Valley Hospital, was grateful to be given the opportunity to participate. “I’m very thankful that Dr. Srini and Cheryl Helgert, (research nurse coordinator) let me get in on it,” said Mr. Pocetti.

Anthony and his wife Betty Pocetti live in Hyde Park and have been lifelong residents of the area. Betty has been a volunteer at the hospital for over 12 years. When Dr. Srinivasan approached Mr. Pocetti about participating in the study he was eager to do it. Mr. Pocetti believes clinical trials can offer many people in the community access to drugs they otherwise may not be able to receive. “I was going in the hospital every other week for my CHF (congestive heart failure) and now I am walking around and doing really well. I have made good progress and believe Natrecor is the reason. I don’t think I’d be here if it weren’t for that drug.”

The research team at Allegheny Valley Hospital consists of a principal investigator, sub-investigators, a research nurse coordinator, pharmacists, laboratory personnel, and many additional support personnel. The team closely monitors the patient’s condition and collects and submits data.

AVH also recently formed a partnership with the Allegheny Singer Research Institute (ASRI). Well respected nationally for its participation in leading medical research and contributions to the advancement of medicine, ASRI is the research arm of the West Penn Allegheny Health System and has been managing and conducting research for thirty-four years.

AVH’s partnership with ASRI will open the door to a significant growth in medical research at the hospital, offering many more opportunities for people in the Alle-Kiski community to access state-of-the-art medical care in the future.

”Through our affiliated network of community hospitals, such as Allegheny Valley Hospital, we are able to expand considerably the geographic and demographic reach of our System’s research capabilities. These outstanding hospitals and their physicians are well respected and trusted in the communities they serve and as such tend to be very successful in recruiting patients to important clinical studies,” said Joseph Ahearn, MD, ASRI’s Chief Scientific Officer and Vice President of Research and Development.

If you would like more information concerning clinical trials at Allegheny Valley Hospital, please contact 724-226-7460.



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