A Healthy Dose of Dedication and Compassion
Montana's Clinical Research
09.16.13 | By Jeff Trewhitt
It doesn't take long to understand why biopharmaceutical research companies have conducted more than 800 clinical trials in Montana.
As you enter downtown Billings from the airport, you see an unexpected sight: several blocks of gleaming medical research buildings and clinics. On Friday, I learned that these complexes are staffed by dedicated, compassionate veteran clinicians such as Dr. Benjamin Marchello, a Billings native and principal investigator of the Montana Cancer Consortium and president of St. Vincent Frontier Cancer Center. He was joined in a panel discussion by Dr. Randall Gibb, medical director of the Billings Clinic Cancer Center.
All of this, of course, was part of the roll out of PhRMA's latest report, "Research in Your Backyard: Pharmaceutical Clinical Trials in Montana." [link to Montana report]
Covering a large rural region of high mountains and grassy plains, Drs. Marchello and Gibb regularly travel hundreds of miles to see patients. For Dr. Marchello, if there's a need to make the trek to Cody, Wyoming, he'll be the one to do it.
And like a growing number of clinicians and biopharmaceutical researchers, both seek adequate diversity of patient populations in clinical trials. Under Dr. Gibb's leadership, the Billings Clinic has sought to recruit Native Americans into clinical trials through culturally sensitive programs. And it has translated its clinical trials brochure into the Crow and Cheyenne languages, a difficult undertaking that took six months.
Under Dr. Marchello, the Montana Cancer Consortium is dedicated to bringing state-of-the-art cancer treatment and prevention to Montana and Wyoming through clinical trials.
The medical buildings that line the right side of North 27th Street in downtown Billings are more than just impressive-looking facilities that add to the city's ambiance. They house committed professionals who have earned the respect of both biopharmaceutical research companies and the National Institutes of Health.
Take a moment to skim the report (available at www.phrma.org/innovation/research-in-your-backyard) to learn about clinical trials of new medicines conducted in the Big Sky Country of Montana.