To provide a platform for the conduct of clinical and translational research with two overarching goals:
- To improve our understanding of childhood disease pathology, and
- To bring new theraoies to children
We seek to provide a research unit to UAB and Children's of Alabama investigators that reduces barriers to the conduct of scientifically rigorous clinical and translational research in childhood diseases. The CHRU seeks to operate in a manner that enables researchers to execute safe and age-appropriate clinical research protocols in a flexible fashion. We envision the CHRU will accelerate our understanding and treatment of diseases that manifest in childhood.
In 2009, the UAB CCTS partnered with Children's of Alabama and the UAB Department of Pediatrics to develop the CHRU as a way to better engage and care for children participating in research. The UAB partnership with Children's of Alabama gives UAB physicians and researchers a child-friendly environment and access to staff with the expertise needed to better address the physical and emotional needs of children.
The independent outpatient research unit was developed on the 7th Floor of Dearth Tower. The space is rented from Children's of Alabama by the Department of Pediatrics. It encompasses patient examination rooms, study-related equipment, workspace, specimen storage, and protocol storage space for active protocols utilizing the Unit.
The CHRU serves as a platform to meet the research needs of the investigator, with access to minimal or maximal support as dictated by the study protocol, the investigative team, and the needs of the study subjects. Features of the Unit that promote research and reduce barriers to research include the following:
- The Unit is separate from the outpatient clinical care areas, ensuring that study subjects are not "lost" in clinical care activities.
- The Unit provides comfortable study rooms for extended visits (with TVs, cable, and DVD capabilities, and wireless internet access).
- Access is simple, rapid, and secure for study patients (via the elevator directly connecting the 2nd floor skybridge entrance to the 7th floor CHRU).
- Use of the CHS registration system is generally not necessary, reducing the risk of billing study subjects for research activities.
- The services offered are tiered to meet the needs of the study protocol.
- The range of services includes: use of space and equipment only; use of space, equipment, and UAB Outreach Laboratory services; use of space, equipment, and Children's Health System services; use of space, equipment, and CCTS/PCIR services; and/or limited storage of biologic specimens.
- Utilization of the CHRU requires only the submission of the IRB-approved protocol and completion of a one page CHRU application.
- Documents are reviewed by the Unit's administrative team on a weekly basis.
- The hours of utilization are flexible and can include after-hour visits based on the availability and expertise of the research team.
Investigators and Research Coordinators have access to CHRU research space and equipment. Minimum support includes use of the research space and equipment, with essentially all activities performed by the requesting investigative team. All protocols that utilize the research space without additional services must have a designated, protocol-specific physician with primary responsibility for the safe conduct of the trial (specified in the CHRU Request Document). Additional support includes activation of CCTS services or support from Children's Health System, which can be developed on a study-specific basis (e.g., IV placement, radiology, pathology, pulmonary function laboratory, GI laboratory, and central laboratory services).
Equipment and space available for use in the CHRU includes:
- Three fully equipped examination rooms
- Work areas for investigators, Research Coordinators, and/or other study team members(with wireless internet available)
- Copier with fax and PDF capacity
- Scales (standing and infant)
- Blood pressure monitor (dynamap)
- ECG equipment
- Spirometry equipment (with calibration supplies)
- Nebulizer equipment
- Refrigerated centrifuges
- Specimen storage (limited -80C storage, limited -20C storage, and limited 0-4C storage)
- Sterile hoods (2)
- Digital laboratory scales
- 40X - 100X microscope
- pH meter