MEMPHIS, Tenn., July 09, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Tennessee’s innovative clinical trials network is soaring just one year into operations, bringing growing benefits for Tennesseans and the advancement of health care across the state.

Launched in April 2018, the Clinical Trials Network of Tennessee (CTN2) has already secured contracts to work with more than six medical institutions across the state. As of this release, over 23 Tennesseans have enrolled as patients in CTN2 trials.

CTN2 is a state-wide clinical trial facilitator, bringing together hospitals, academic-grade research, and shared health data from across Tennessee to spearhead groundbreaking clinical research studies. These clinical trials, conducted by University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) faculty, create a novel, robust research enterprise that operates as an independent arm of the University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF).

“This network meets a huge need for UTHSC clinical research,” said CTN2 President and CEO Steve Goodman. “UTHSC is a leader in health care innovation and health technology, and CTN2 takes patient care to the next level by opening up access to novel therapies and medical devices.”

Just one year into operations, CTN2 has numerous studies underway and in the pipeline. Two clinical trials are open and enrolling patients: a phase II trial in colon cancer and another building an outcomes registry for heart transplants. More than seven therapeutic studies are preparing to launch: phase I trials in advanced malignancies and oral premalignant lesions; phase II trials in heart failure; and phase III trials in bladder cancer, heart failure, and cardiomyopathy. A separate phase III study is forthcoming in ophthalmology. 

In addition, CTN2 is spearheading research and data mining projects into the procurement of human biospecimens and post-market surveillance for medical device implants.

The innovative network is a unique asset to Tennessee residents, and as CTN2 grows, it will be a boon to public health and health care access. With affiliated practices and hospitals across the entire state, citizens in every region now have the opportunity to participate in CTN2 studies and reap the benefits of clinical research. Historically, Tennesseans have been underrepresented in large-scale studies leading to drug approval. CTN2 also affords state residents potential access to effective medications prior to wide approval.

“All Tennesseans stand to benefit from CTN2’s success, particularly the partnerships it’s building between hospitals, academia, and partners from the pharmaceutical and medical device industries,” said Richard Magid, vice president of UTRF. “Just one year in, CTN2 is already bringing novel medical studies home to state residents who need them, right here in their own communities.”

When CTN2 launched in 2018, UTRF and the University of Tennessee established a series of operational benchmarks to which funding would be tied. CTN2 met or exceeded all 2019 fiscal year objectives, prompting the UTRF Board of Directors to recently endorse the release of 2020 funding to CTN2.

About the Clinical Trials Network of Tennessee
The Clinical Trials Network of Tennessee (CTN2) is an independent 501(c)(3) subsidiary of the University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF). CTN2 was created to enable the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) clinical research faculty to design, solicit, and conduct robust statewide clinical trials with the overarching goal of providing new therapeutics and medical devices aimed at improving the health of all Tennesseans. It was the vision of Steven R. Goodman, PhD, vice chancellor for Research at UTHSC. Network partners include Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare in Memphis, Memphis Veterans Affairs Medical Center located in Memphis, Saint Thomas Health in Nashville, West Cancer Center in Memphis, Erlanger Health System in Chattanooga, The University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, UTHSC in Memphis, Regional One Health in Memphis, and University Clinical Health in Memphis.

About the University of Tennessee Research Foundation
The University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that promotes the commercialization of UT intellectual property, encourages an entrepreneurial culture, contributes to state and regional economic development, and promotes research and education to benefit the people of Tennessee and beyond. UTRF provides assistance and resources to the research activities of faculty, staff, and students of UT and works to help move ideas to the marketplace. For more information visit www.utrf.tennessee.edu/

About the University of Tennessee Health Science Center
As Tennessee’s only public, statewide, academic health system, the mission of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center is to bring the benefits of the health sciences to the achievement and maintenance of human health through education, research, clinical care, and public service, with a focus on the citizens of Tennessee and the region. The main campus in Memphis includes six colleges: Dentistry, Graduate Health Sciences, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. UTHSC also educates and trains medicine, pharmacy, and/or health professions students, as well as medical residents and fellows, at major sites in Knoxville, Chattanooga and Nashville. For more information, visit www.uthsc.edu. Find us on Facebook: facebook.com/uthsc, on Twitter: twitter.com/uthsc and on Instagram: instagram.com/uthsc

Contact:
Phil Cestaro | pcestaro@CTN2.org 
Katie Jones | kjone188@utk.edu