NExTNEt Conference a First Step toward Large-Scale Clinical Trials on Exercise Medicine

NExTNEt Conference a First Step toward Large-Scale Clinical Trials on Exercise Medicine

On February 4 and 5, Marcas Bamman, PhD, Director of the UAB Center for Exercise Medicine, hosted the first face-to-face meeting of the newly implemented National Exercise Clinical Trials Network (NExTNet). The meeting attracted exercise medicine researchers from around the country to discuss “knowledge gaps” in how exercise affects human biology, and in turn, health and medical treatment. NExTNet, spearheaded by Bamman, represents 49 institutions from coast to coast, members of a growing network aimed at standardizing procedures for multi-site clinical trials. An expanding NExTNet database for the group’s members serves as an inventory of equipment for testing, services, and expertise.​​


Dr. 
William Kraus, Professor of Medicine at Duke University Medical Center, delivers the annual UAB Center for Exercise Medicine Gary R. Hunter Distinguished Lecture on, “Lifestyle Medicopharmacogenetics and the Future for Personalized Lifestyle Medicine.”

“The purpose is to build a consortium so that we can do large-scale clinical trials, phase III–equivalent trials—that are exercise based,” says Bamman.

Kicking off the two-day conference, William Kraus, MD, Professor of Medicine at Duke University Medical Center, delivered the annual UAB Center for Exercise Medicine Gary R. Hunter Distinguished Lecture on, “Lifestyle Medicopharmacogenetics and the Future for Personalized Lifestyle Medicine.”

“For a number of years we’ve been talking about exercise as a medicine, so part of the context is to think about it as we deal with medicines,” Kraus says. “And with medicines we talk about dose, frequency, adverse responses, and dosing for the right person at the right time—the goal is to be thinking about exercise the same way.”

The conference took place at the UAB CCTS headquarters, the PCAMS building, and was attended by 18 researchers from around the U.S., specializing in exercise medicine.

Following the face-to-face meeting Amanda Boyce, PhD, Director, Muscle Biology and Physiology Program in the Division of Musculoskeletal Diseases, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), expressed her pleasure with the group’s progress.

“Attending the NeXTNet conference was time well spent—the folks at the NIH are excited about the future of this collaborative effort in promoting exercise medicine research,” Boyce says. “The importance of [this conference] is getting all the right people in the same room to make that happen, and I think this is a great first move.”

Catrine Tudor-Locke, PhD, Associate Professor, Walking Behavior, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, agrees.

“Any one of us alone could do a study but it would be a small, select group of people,” she says. “By broadly sharing across the nation we’re able to put all our resources together, and amplify the effects.”

The group devised several goals as immediate action items, including:

  1. Develop a minimum data set, to identify across exercise trials and research focus areas common data that would be collected in every trial that NeXTNet is connected with
  2. Start sharing data and resources imThe meeting attracted exercise medicine researchers from around the country to discuss “knowledge gaps” in how exercise affects human biology, and in turn, health and medical treatment. mediately so when the group submits for large-scale trials, they already have collaborative units in place.
  3. Build a NExTNet “facilities and resources section”—a description of all 49 sites—to build into grant applications to demonstrate strength
  4. Develop standard operating procedures for exercise training, exercise testing, and measures of physical activity outside of supervised clinical trials