INDIANAPOLIS — Eli Lilly is expanding its research facilities to include 20 recreational vehicles with the hopes of reaching a more geographically, racially, and culturally diverse patient population for its clinical trials.
The pharmaceutical company first deployed units during the pandemic to provide care to residents at nursing homes. Now the fleet is being expanded, retrofitted, and redeployed in hopes of removing barriers patients routinely face when accessing new therapies and treatments.
"Research is not necessarily a core part of the option that is provided in the health care system. And so...improving the ability of patients to know all the options available to them, but more importantly making it accessible one of the number one reasons why only 5% of the entire population in the world ever participates in clinical research are barriers to accessibility. It's hard to get to. It's hard to find. And so, opportunities like this where we can bring research to them decreases those barriers and increases the flexibility allowing more patients to participate" said Dr. Janelle Sabo of Lilly Clinical Capabilities.
Lilly expects the units will be beneficial in a variety of areas including oncology, diabetes and Alzheimer's research.
Right now, Lilly is enrolling 200 people who are 55 and older to determine if Alzheimer's could be diagnosed through a blood test instead of the current practice that requires expensive imaging. For this study, the patient learns about the research and gives a blood sample in the RV. A free PET imaging scan is then scheduled at a local screening location.
"If we can get 200 participants in the study that will allow us to say, here's what normal looks like and here's what abnormal looks like, that will help us make a definitive determination of, 'can we detect Alzheimer's with a simple blood test?" said Dr. Charles Williams MD of Lilly Corporate Health Services. "There's a tremendous amount of research within our organization...to see what we can do to proactively treat the onset of symptoms as well as delay progression of the disease and illness. The hope is that one day we will have a cure."
If you are 55 and older and want to learn more and to enroll, call the Lilly Call Center at 1-877-693-9609.