clinical trials


Three patients at a Florida clinic went blind after receiving eye injections of stem cells derived from their own abdominal fat, according to a report Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

(Originally aired August 9, 2016)

Bill Nagely was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2009, and for the past three years, he and his wife, Sheila, have made the hour-long drive from their home in St. Petersburg to the University of South Florida Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute in Tampa.

"It’s really improved our quality of life to be able to have the resources they have here at Byrd," Sheila Nagely said. "They have a wonderful support group, which really helps me, and they just are connected with all the resources that we need."

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

Clinical trials help medical professionals find out how effective new treatments are – but as Dr. Kevin Sneed, the dean of the University of South Florida College of Pharmacy points out, they’re not a “one size fits all” proposition.

"Very often, when we think about how are we going to effectively treat somebody, whether it be cancer, cardiovascular disease, or anything neurodegenerative in nature, when we do the clinical research to gather the evidence, if you don’t have enough people from enough varied backgrounds; we can’t automatically transfer knowledge gained in one part of the population onto another part of the population," Sneed said.

But minority populations – specifically the African American and Hispanic and Latino communities – don’t take part in clinical trials at a level that would give researchers the data they need.