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The Catalyst

SCresearch EXPO: Find the study that’s right for you

By Ashley Barker
Public Relations

More than 30 study teams will be looking for research volunteers during the third annual SCresearch EXPO, sponsored by the South Carolina Clinical and Translational Research Institute, from 10:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. on May 7 in the Horseshoe.

During the expo, MUSC investigators representing various schools and colleges will be available to explain their clinical trials and research studies to students, faculty, patients, staff members and the community.

Clinical trial candidates talk to principal investigators during the 2012 SCresearch EXPO in the Horseshoe. The 2013 event will take place May 7.
Clinical trial candidates talk to principal investigators during the 2012 SCresearch EXPO in the Horseshoe. The 2013 event will take place May 7.

One of those principal investigators is Teresa Kelechi, Ph.D., RN, who has devoted the past 12 years to researching ways to prevent leg ulcers.

“Two million people in the United States have leg ulcers, and there are 600,000 new ones that develop each year,” Kelechi, chair of the Department of Nursing and interim associate dean of research, said. “It’s quite a problem because it keeps people from doing what they want to do.”

Her study looks at a way to prevent recurrence of leg ulcers in people who have either had one because of bad circulation in the veins or have dark, hard, red, inflamed and itchy skin that could lead to a leg ulcer.

In order for the nine-month study to be successful, Kelechi needs 50-60 volunteers to use one of two different cold cuffs, a special wrap for their legs to help with swelling, and a thermometer that measures the temperature of each leg before and after the cuff is applied.

“We believe that inflammation can have an effect on leg ulcers. Some people don’t have inflammation, and some people never get leg ulcers. But there is this inflammation that accompanies some of these types of leg circulation problems with the veins,” Kelechi said. “For those patients, we’re seeing if this cooling approach can make their legs feel better, if nothing else. But in the long run, we hope it prevents them from getting leg ulcers or further skin damage.”

As the director of recruitment for SCTR, Kelechi has recruited patients at all three expo events. She said the investigators’ approach is not invasive, doesn’t require much on the patient’s part and is not too expensive.

“Each year the expo gets a little bigger and better. It’s a great opportunity for all of us who are reaching out to patients to invite them to participate,” Kelechi said. “To me, it’s an honor to have people in the study because they are making a commitment beyond. Even though we compensate them for being in the study, for the most part, they’re so grateful that someone is doing something to help them.”

In addition to learning about clinical trials, guests can win prizes, have their blood pressure checked, receive a free massage, enjoy a myriad of food vendors, and listen to speakers throughout the expo. Carolyn Murray, of WCBD-TV, is expected to emcee the event and introduce the speakers.

Sally Massagee, a cured patient of the National Institutes of Health Undiagnosed Disease Program, who was featured on 60 Minutes and Anderson 360, will be the keynote speaker. Kathleen Brady, M.D., Ph.D., director of SCTR, and Mathew Gregoski, Ph.D., assistant professor in the College of Nursing, are scheduled to speak.

SCTR Institute’s newest full-service offering for MUSC researchers, the SCTR Research Nexus, will have a tent at the event to showcase its clinical funds matching, research coordination and management, biorepository and fully equipped research facility. Approximately 125 active studies are being conducted in this research center currently, and most of them are in need of participants for clinical trials ranging from cocaine use and diabetes to modulating the brain and adolescent smoking.

“There is a study for every single person here,” said Brady. “As someone who has been conducting clinical research for 20 plus years, I can’t tell you how important it is to have people willing to give their time and effort to volunteer for research or how grateful I am personally for anyone who has participated in mine or any other study.”

For more information, visit or call 792-8300.

April 24, 2013

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