Dr. Kenderian and Dr. Lucchinetti are talking about the way the science, people and resources came together during the COVID-19 pandemic, to repurpose an experimental therapy, called lenzilumab, for patients with COVID-19 pneumonia, and from there, to a phase 3 clinical trial — all in about one year.
Jenny Weis, research administrator for the Center for Clinical and Translational Science, agrees.
“We assembled the A-Team,” Weis says. “We took what we were already experts at and we held hands and we sprinted.”
The lenzilumab translational science effort was carried out by a multidisciplinary team including Andrew Badley, M.D.; Adil Bharucha, M.D.; Charles Burger, M.D.; Tamara Evans; Andrea Kukla; Saad Kenderian M.B., Ch.B; Claudia Libertin, M.D.; Claudia Lucchinetti, M.D.; Robert Orenstein, M.D.; Mindy Shea; Zelalem Temsgen, M.D.; Holly Tuseth; Jenny Weis; R. Scott Wright, M.D., and collaborators from academic medical centers and industry.
Stepping on the gas for COVID-19 and lenzilumab
At the beginning of the pandemic, experimental therapies were the only options available to help patients. To turn those therapies into standard care required clinical and translational research. Research leaders turned to experts in the Mayo Clinic Center for Clinical and Translational Science to help streamline the institution’s COVID-19 research strategy.
“We knew that in order to do our best work and to have the greatest impact for patients, we needed a union of forces. We had to organize ourselves, prioritize and move together as one,” says Andrew Badley, M.D., chair of the Mayo Clinic SARS-CoV-2 COVID-19 Research Task Force, a group charged with oversight of all COVID-19-related research activities.
This multidisciplinary group aligns research projects and resources across the institution. They rigorously review every COVID-19 research proposal, approving only those posing the best questions or with the highest likelihood of helping patients. When the task force sees a COVID-19 research idea with potential, they give it the green light and a dedicated team of experts from CCaTS to help activate the study and keep it moving forward.
Read the rest of the article on Discovery’s Edge.