Access to clinical research trials offers patients and physicians the chance to explore cutting-edge treatments for a variety of conditions.
Geography can limit opportunities for such trials, however, since many are found only in major cities, medical schools, and university towns. The Coachella Valley now boasts its own clinical research firm that features multiple areas of research.
Palm Springs–based Palmtree Clinical Research opened in 2010 and conducts clinical therapeutic trials, scientific studies, and investigator-initiated research across the valley. Areas of study include HIV, pulmonology, infectious diseases, and dermatology.
Gerald Bocian, director of research, came to the desert to work with an Eisenhower Medical Center physician, eventually expanding to headquarters in Palm Springs last October and adding private practice physician participation.
“We are providing a service to people across the desert,” he says. “I want to do some good.”
HIV treatments are at the forefront, and Bocian says the firm aims to provide access to trials that patients might not get otherwise. Palmtree works in conjunction with local HIV clinicians from Desert Regional Medical Center, Desert Oasis Health Care, Eisenhower, Desert AIDS Project, and Borrego Health.
Much of Palmtree’s work is Phase III — the last stage before a drug or treatment is approved by the Food and Drug Administration — but it does offer studies from Phase II (efficacy, safety, and dosage) to Phase IV (post–FDA approval). All the trials are by voluntary participation, and prospective volunteers may inquire through their physicians or directly with Palmtree, where they are assessed for suitability in the trial.
Qualified volunteers may receive study-related doctor visits, medication, and medical supplies free of charge. Studies take place on-site at Palmtree’s research facility or at a local hospital or clinic.
Interested volunteers can visit palmtreeclinical.com for more information about which studies are currently open.