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Johns Hopkins Establishes New Clinical Research Network - 08/10/2010

Johns Hopkins Establishes New Clinical Research Network

Anne Arundel and GBMC Join Forces with Hopkins to Increase Research Opportunities for Patients Throughout the Region
Release Date: August 10, 2010

The Johns Hopkins Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR), in collaboration with Anne Arundel Health System (AAHS) and the Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC), has established a new network of academic and community-based clinical researchers, the Johns Hopkins Clinical Research Network (JHCRN). The JHCRN, which will provide new opportunities for research collaborations, is designed to accelerate the transfer of new diagnostic, treatment, and disease-prevention advances from the research arena to patient care.

The JHCRN creates a bridge for research between Hopkins and community-based medical centers by linking physician-scientists and staff from the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions with community-based medical centers in the region. The network, which will ultimately have additional member institutions, will serve several purposes, the most important of which is to make clinical trials available to patients who may not ordinarily have access to them.

“The JHCRN is a unique research resource that increases patient access to innovative therapies and outcomes research in their own local communities.  It also empowers physicians to design and conduct a broad array of research projects relevant to their communities,” says Charles M. Balch, M.D., JHCRN director and professor of surgery and oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “It will be the premier network of affiliated medical institutions which carries out efficient, collaborative clinical research to achieve high-quality innovative patient care. I am very impressed with the commitment and excellence of the clinical trials enterprise at AAHS and GBMC.”

“What we do in medicine has to be evidence-based,” said Gary Cohen, M.D., medical director of the Greater Baltimore Medical Center’s Sandra & Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute. “I firmly believe that clinical trials are the basic building blocks of all progress in medicine. However, most patients are treated in community hospitals, not at research centers, so it’s crucial that these community hospitals are involved in clinical research.”

The JHCRN directly addresses the many complexities of conducting multisite and multi-institutional trials by providing investigators with a larger patient pool and a seamless platform that uses common research protocols.  The goal of the network is to speed the approval of new trials while ensuring careful oversight of patient safety. Rapid start-up and timely completion of research studies, aided by widespread access to the clinical trials, will make promising therapies available for patient use more quickly.

The network was established through an initial agreement with charter affiliate AAHS in early 2009.  This early collaboration was instrumental in clearing many of the organizational and legal barriers to shared research, a process that continues with the inclusion of newer affiliate GBMC. The initial focus of the JHCRN will be on expanding cancer-related clinical trials (including medical, surgical, and radiation therapy aspects of cancer treatment) and diabetes and surgical studies. Future collaborations will include a wide range of research areas, including intensive care; cardiovascular, neuropsychiatric, brain, and spine diseases; and radiology and nuclear medicine studies. 

The JHCRN is a program of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR), which is a part of a national consortium aimed at transforming how clinical and translational research is conducted at academic health centers around the country. 

 “As part of the ICTR, the JHCRN will develop new and improved tools for analyzing research data and managing clinical trials. It will also support outreach to underserved populations and work with local community and advocacy organizations and health care providers while forging new partnerships with private and public health care organizations,” said Daniel E. Ford, M.D., M.P.H., vice dean for clinical investigation for Johns Hopkins Medicine (JHM) and ICTR director. “This level of collaboration between an academic medical center and community-based research institutions is unprecedented in the region and will bring a wide array of benefits to both patients and investigators.”

Network researchers from participating hospitals will use a centralized data system to coordinate information from diverse information technology and electronic medical records sources. Clinical research methodologies, data management, research reporting documentation, patient consent forms, and quality- and safety-control criteria will be standardized. With this uniformity, network hospitals can better develop and coordinate their own clinical research activities or joint clinical trials with other JHCRN institutions.

“The bottom line is that this affiliation expands the scope of clinical research options that we can offer patients in our communities,” said Joe Moser, M.D., senior vice president for medical affairs at the Anne Arundel Medical Center and head of the health system’s Research Institute. “It will create opportunities for our patients who might not otherwise have access to clinical trials. They will be the ultimate beneficiaries of the research network.

For more information about the Johns Hopkins Clinical Research Network, visit

Additional Information and Resources

Johns Hopkins Medicine
Headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, Johns Hopkins Medicine is a $5  billion integrated global health enterprise and one of the leading health systems in the United States. Its annual research budget is $684 million; it has more than 3500 active research protocols, 2400 physicians, and 32,000 employees. The mission of Johns Hopkins Medicine is to improve the health of the community and the world by setting the standard of excellence in medical education, research and clinical care. Diverse and inclusive, Johns Hopkins Medicine educates medical students, scientists, health care professionals and the public; conducts biomedical research; and provides patient-centered medicine to prevent, diagnose and treat human illness.

Anne Arundel Health System
Anne Arundel Health System (AAHS) is the parent company of Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC) and several other entities, including the AAHS Research Institute, Pathways Alcohol & Drug Treatment Center, and Anne Arundel Diagnostics Imaging.  The 324-bed facility is located on the 60-acre Medical Park campus, off Jennifer Road, near Route 50 in Annapolis. AAMC has more than 23,000 annual admissions and sees 76,000 people in the emergency room each year. AAMC delivers the second highest number of babies in the state, with more than 5,500 born at the facility each year. The hospital also has Anne Arundel County’s only level IIIb Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  The DeCesaris Cancer Institute features the AAMC Breast Center, which is accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC).

Greater Baltimore Medical Center
GBMC HealthCare includes Greater Baltimore Medical Center, a 285-bed acute care not-for-profit hospital which opened in 1965 and provides Health, Healing and Hope; Greater Baltimore Medical Associates, a group of more than 40 multi-specialty physician practices on the hospital’s Towson campus and in satellite locations across the region; Gilchrist Hospice Care, Maryland’s largest hospice organization offering both in-home care as well as a 34-bed inpatient unit; and the GBMC Foundation, which raises funds to support the organization’s mission.

With nearly 2,000 newly-diagnosed cancer cases in 2009, and offering more than 60 research and treatment clinical trials annually. GBMC’s Sandra & Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute ranks as the busiest community hospital-based cancer program in Maryland.

The Johns Hopkins Institute for Clinical and Translational Research
The Johns Hopkins Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR) was established in 2007 with a $100 million Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) grant from the National Institutes of Health.  It is now one of 55 CTSA institutes dedicated to reducing the time it takes for laboratory discoveries to become treatments for patients and engaging communities in clinical research efforts. It also is fulfilling the critical need to train a new generation of clinical researchers. Last year, the Hopkins ICTR programs assisted more than 1,300 Johns Hopkins faculty and staff -- representing over 70 different departments throughout the Schools of Medicine, Public Health, Nursing and Engineering -- with their clinical and translational research projects. 

For the Media

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