• Paul Allard

Why should we conduct research in community centers?

It will save lives!

Lakeside has advertised that we do clinical research in community centers. However, we have missed the most important piece. The center of the “Golden Circle”, as Simon Sinek calls it. Why are community centers important and why are we spending so much time reaching out to community medical institutions?

As is the case with most things, there are many reasons. The most important though is to save patient’s lives.

Lakeside’s first employee was Morgan, a nurse, hired in the summer of 2017. She was a recent graduate and a talented caregiver. During her time in school, not once was clinical research mentioned, let alone precision medicine or targeted therapies for patients with cancer. Our co-founder, a nurse and a member of that same nursing class, had only heard these terms as a result of working with Lakeside. It wasn’t until Morgan read an article in National Geographic about a woman that was prescribed the proper targeted therapy as a result of genetic testing that extended her life by years, that she began to understand why what we do is so important. Far too often our existence as researchers feels ethereal and distant when it comes to patient care. We are changing that.

This past week we saw firsthand the importance of research in community practice. Dr. Jose Moreno, a friend of Lakeside, is a top tier urologist and a researcher at heart. His practice although large is community based. Recently, he had a patient that was failing their treatment. Because of his dedication and determination to bring clinical research into his community practice, and offer his patients the newest technologies, he had been following the implementation of Guardant 360 from Guardant Health in patients with prostate cancer. He obtained a blood sample from his patient and sent it to Guardant for testing in their gene panel to decide what the best treatment options were. Guardant gene sequencing results provided the patient with a list of all potentially successful treatments and clinical studies that this patient may be eligible for. Dr. Moreno switched his patient’s treatment based on the test results and the improvement was dramatic.

Because of precision medicine we have the ability to not only extend people’s lives but increase their quality of life. And by collaborating with our community centers, we will make these technologies and therapies known to the vast majority of the US patient population as most of US patients are treated at local community medical centers.

To implement this vision, Dr. Moreno and other like-minded community practitioners, along with Lakeside are working together to conduct studies within their community-based practices. As doctors, nurses, and researchers it is our duty to care for our patients more effectively and to incorporate the most relevant novel technology supported by peer-reviewed research in all clinical settings not only the Mass Generals of the world.

Few clinical studies today involve small community centers, and only positive data collected primarily in academic university settings is shared. In fact, it is likely that more patients are enrolled in foreign countries than those enrolled in the small community medical centers in the US. Patients suffer as a result because the smaller centers tend to be the last to adopt new technology. We all adopt the mantra of “patients first”, but when we deliberately avoid the majority of patients, who are we serving really? When new technology and clinical trials are rarely offered to the patient population outside of academia, are we failing the people we set out to help? Lakeside intends to bridge the gap by involving patients in both urban and rural areas. In this way, we can impart the hard-won research-based treatments to our neighbors and save lives the same way Dr. Moreno did for his patient.

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