The roots of Geisinger's clinical research and clinical trials program go back to the beginning of the 20th century when in 1915, Geisinger's founder, Abigail Geisinger envisioned her hospital providing the highest quality of patient services as well as access to the latest innovations in care. Research and innovative care are coupled and over the course of Geisinger's history, Geisinger's clinical research capabilities developed quickly. Today the Health System, which includes a service area of 2.6 million people in 43 Pennsylvania counties, is known for its many research contributions.
1920 - Harold Foss, MD, Geisinger's first medical director, ensures that his scientists have access to spacious and well-equipped laboratories including the most advanced pathological and bacteriological facilities and micro-photography.
1921 - Geisinger's Department of Medicine is formed to support scientific work in all general fields of internal medicine with sub-subjects in diabetes mellitus, heart and kidney disease, and cancer.
1927 - Concerted effort to advance knowledge of kidneys commences. In this connection, papers on the "Maintenance of the Protein Balance in Nephritis" are presented to the American Medical Association Section of Urology and to the North Carolina State Medical Association.
1932 - Dr. Foss prepares a report to Geisinger's Board of Directors describing the importance of biomedical research. He strongly pushes for extensive research facilities.
1937 – A group of Geisinger physicians presents data at the American Society of Pathologists meeting. They state that eclampsia occurring during childbirth is due to cholesterol in the mother's blood, a result of under-functioning of the thyroid during pregnancy. This finding is later reported in the June 14th, 1937 edition of Time Magazine.
1940s - Geisinger Memorial Hospital encourages original research work among the staff of interns at the hospital "extending every facility and encouragement to such effort." The work of the Department of Clinical Laboratories increases in direct proportion to the work throughout the Geisinger hospital.
1952 - Research Laboratory is established proving the first of its kind in the area. One of the aspirations of the hospital leadership is to place research facilities in a separate building whereby "a more vital contribution can be made to the scientific prevention of disease."
1960s - Geisinger's Institute of Medical Education and Research is created "not to develop basic laboratory research," but rather to "do clinical research." The Institute has special focus in the fields of cancer and heart disease, with investigations supported by the National Institutes of Health and its National Cancer Institute.
1964 – A number of new research projects are initiated including the study of the X-ray diagnosis of tumors of the breast, the continued investigative work in using the immersion system to treat burn patients, and, working with the Pennsylvania Department of Public Health, a pilot study involving health care for migrant workers.
1977 - A system-wide review reveals that 29% of Geisinger's total medical staff are involved in at least one research project, all of which are clinical research, and six of which concentrate on cancer. This leads to the establishment of step-by-step standards for conducting research and additional professional staff to help with preparing and submitting research proposals.
1982 - Geisinger physicians are the* *first to prove the efficacy of rifampin-containing chemotherapy for treating coal workers suffering from pulmonary tuberculosis.
1983 - Geisinger institutes a formal clinical research program which includes the formation of an administrative committee for research, a scientific review committee, a research logistics staff, a research ethics review committee, and an IRB. At the beginning of the 1980s, Geisinger supports an average of 170 clinical research projects annually; by the end of the decade the number exceeded 350.
1988 - The February 1988 issue of Chest includes a report by Frederick L. Jones, Jr. MD, FCCP, who discovered a new sign for the physical diagnosis of chest disorders—poor breath sounds inconsistent with good voice sounds.
1990s - In the early 1990's, Geisinger is one of two Pennsylvania health care organizations which has concluded a five-year clinical trial of the blood pressure medication captopril. This study documented that use of captopril slowed heart enlargement and increased survival rates following heart attacks.
1992 - IDPN (intradialytic parenteral nutrition) therapy is developed at Geisinger Medical Center to provide dialysis patients with a nutritional admixture of carbohydrates and amino acids during treatment.
2000 - Anthony Turel, MD, a Geisinger neurologist, is the creator and first director of Geisinger's Clinical Trials Office (CTO). The CTO serves as a centralized office to further develop Geisinger's clinical research program, including fostering external sponsorship, standardizing contracts and budgets, formalizing regulatory practices for clinical trials, and providing a cohort of trained study coordinators to assist investigators in implementing their studies.
2006 - Eric Newman, MD, assumes role as CTO director. Within the year, the CTO opens an office at Geisinger Wyoming Valley (GWV), an advanced tertiary and quaternary healthcare center located in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
2007 - The Clinical Trials Office joins the Geisinger Center for Clinical Studies (CCS), under the direction of Peter Berger, MD. CCS is based within the Henry Hood Center for Health Research building, a60,000-square-foot facility located adjacent to the Geisinger Medical Center (GMC) in Danville, Pa.
Today – CCS includes research coordinators, project managers, research assistants, and administrators all dedicated to working with clinicians and investigators to conduct clinical research throughout the Health System. In addition to supporting industry-sponsored clinical research, CCS is also dedicated to providing support for investigator-initiated clinical research Current trials focus on common conditions affecting the communities that Geisinger serves including obesity, diabetes, heart and vascular disease, and stroke.