September 21, 2009

SPH to lead extremity trauma research consortium

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has been awarded $18.4 million by the Orthopaedic Extremity Trauma Research Program of the Department of Defense to establish an Extremity Trauma Clinical Research Consortium. The Bloomberg School will serve as the coordinating center for the partnership, which includes a network of 12 core civilian trauma centers working with several major military treatment centers and the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, or USAISR, at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

The overarching goal of the project is to conduct multicenter clinical research studies relevant to the treatment and outcomes of severe orthopedic trauma sustained on the battlefield. These studies will help establish treatment guidelines and facilitate the translation of new and emerging technologies into clinical practice.

“The need for such a consortium is evident,” said principal investigator Ellen MacKenzie, the Fred and Julie Soper Professor of Health Policy and Management and chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Bloomberg School. “Eighty-two percent of all service members injured in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom sustain extremity trauma. Many sustain injuries to multiple limbs. The research to be conducted will help us better understand what works and what doesn’t in treating these injuries and ensure that our service members are provided with the best care possible.”

Initial funding will help establish the network and provide resources to address some of the critical needs in acute clinical care identified by the military. These include the reconstruction of significant bone defects and the management of musculoskeletal infections. Over time the consortium will expand and leverage its infrastructure to address many other priority topics relevant to the long-term management of severe extremity trauma, including the prevention of osteomyelitis, chronic pain and disability.

Michael Bosse of Carolinas Medical Center, chair of the consortium and co–principal investigator with MacKenzie, said, “The consortium is committed to conducting high-quality clinical research that will make a difference in the lives of those who sustain severe limb injuries. It will do so by establishing a clinical research network that is dynamic and responsive to new clinical challenges and the emergence of new, promising novel therapies.”

An important feature of the consortium will be its ability to expand the number of clinical sites participating in any one study. More than 30 trauma centers around the country have pledged support for the consortium and have indicated that they are eager to participate in studies sponsored under its umbrella.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Drs. MacKenzie and Bosse and the incredible team of investigators they have assembled,” said Joseph Wenke of the USAISR. “Together we will develop the infrastructure critically needed to address some of the most pressing issues in orthopedic trauma care. Without a large multicenter effort such as this, many of these issues would never be solved.”

MacKenzie said, “The consortium is all about providing the scientific evidence needed to establish treatment guidelines for the optimal care of the wounded warrior and ultimately improve the clinical, functional and quality-of-life outcomes of both service members and civilians who sustain major limb trauma.”

The 12 core clinical centers participating in the effort are Boston University Medical Center; Florida Orthopaedic Institute; Carolinas Medical Center; Denver Health and Hospital Authority; OrthoIndy and the Indiana Orthopaedic Hospital; Orthopaedic Associates of Michigan; Orthopaedic Trauma Institute at the University of California, San Francisco; San Francisco General Hospital; University of Maryland Medical Center’s R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center; University of Mississippi Medical Center; University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center; University of Washington Harborview Medical Center; and Vanderbilt University Medical Center.