16:00 PM

Kalispell Regional Healthcare Participates in COVID-19 Clinical Trials

Kalispell Regional Healthcare (KRH) has begun enrolling patients in clinical trials that aim to advance the medical treatment of COVID-19. From the beginning of the pandemic, KRH has strived to provide our patients and community with the best care and treatments available to navigate the novel coronavirus. In addition to providing advanced COVID-19 testing capabilities and Bamlanivimab (BAM) monoclonal antibody infusion, enrollment in clinical trials is one facet of KRH’s commitment to serve as a regional healthcare leader. 

KRH is participating in three different COVID-19 treatment trials: Theravance Biopharma, I-SPY and REMAP-CAP. KRH is one of only 13 sites participating in the I-SPY trial, many of which are large research universities. The Theravance and REMAP-CAP COVID trials are happening on a global scale with many research sites participating. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been the greatest medical challenge that I have faced in my 30 years of medical practice. With very little known about the virus, we were tasked to diagnos and treat patients with no known cure, treatments, or vaccines and variable health directives.” said Timothy Obermiller, MD, a physician leader, pulmonologist, and critical care doctor at KRH. He added, “Participation in clinical trials provides our front line medical teams the ability to do our part to develop effective therapies to combat this deadly virus, and also allows our patients to receive therapies of potential benefit without traveling out of the state to urban areas with large, university based hospitals.”

The Theravance Biopharma trial is currently enrolling KRH patients. The Theravance trial is a phase 2 study evaluating the efficacy and safety of an inhaled drug compared to the standard of care, for treating acute lung injury in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. KRH became the first site in the Pacific Northwest to enroll and begin treating a patient in the Theravance trial on December 23rd. Bethany Weiler-Lisowski, MD, a pulmonologist and intensivist here at KRH, is serving as the principal investigator for this trial.

The I-SPY COVID Trial is anticipated to open at KRH in late January. It aims to rapidly collect efficacy data on multiple treatment arms of various drug combinations for the treatment of critically ill COVID-19 patients. In this trial patients are randomly assigned to a certain treatment and are monitored closely by medical staff. The trial data is reviewed in real time, so drugs may be removed or even added to the study based on the safety and efficacy data gathered. This trial is sponsored by many prominent research universities and is available at 13 sites across the United States. Dr. Obermiller is serving as the principal investigator.

The REMAP-CAP COVID is a randomized, embedded, multifactorial adaptive platform trial for COVID-19 patients with community acquired pneumonia. In less complicated terms the trial aims to help doctors know which treatments work best when a patient is being treated in intensive care for severe pneumonia. This trial benefits not only COVID-19 patients but may also help treat patients with other respiratory illnesses. Hospitalized, critically ill patients are randomly assigned to one of the four treatment plans and monitored closely by medical staff. This trial is sponsored by the Global Coalition for Adaptive Research and is occurring in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and some European countries. Dr. Weiler-Lisowski will serve as the principal investigator of this trial for our site. KRH anticipates REMAP-CAP COVID to open for our patients in late January.

“The scientific community has been analyzing data from COVID 19 patients at an unprecedented pace, but there is still quite a bit we don’t know,” said Dr. Weiler-Lisowski. “I am proud to work for a healthcare system that has a research division, allowing my (or our) patients the opportunity to participate in research on innovative new therapies for this novel disease.”

Enrollment in clinical trials will be at the recommendation of the patient’s medical care team, and patients have the right to make the decision to participate or not participate.

The clinical research arm of KRH, Glacier View Research Institute, was established in 2009 and is a site for in trials in cardiology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, infectious disease, pulmonology, oncology, hematology, and rheumatology—participating in, on average, 45-60 trials annually. “Research increases physician engagement in the advancement of new promising medical therapies and increases their visibility to frontline providers.” said Dr. Obermiller. Many KRH physicians are involved in the clinical research process, either serving as principal investigators or providing patient care and monitoring. Dr. Obermiller added, “KRH’s research program provides the opportunity for our patients to participate in the search for affective therapies, and in some where there are none.” 

Compiled with information each study’s page on clinicaltrials.gov.