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Riggs G Photo 2015

Banner Alzheimer’s Institute adds new physician, researcher

Garrett Riggs, PhD, MD, an experienced behavioral neurologist with more than 15 years of  practice and research experience, is the newest provider in the Stead Family Memory Center at Phoenix-based Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, an internationally-known Alzheimer’s care and research center.

Dr. Riggs joined Banner Alzheimer’s Institute on April 13. As a provider in the Stead Family Memory Center, Dr. Riggs will provide consultations and evaluations, including laboratory tests, brain imaging and other related tests, for patients with cognitive concerns as well as participate in clinical research trials.

“Dr. Riggs is an experienced clinician and a master teacher having won just about every teaching award imaginable,” said Dr. Eric Reiman, CEO of Banner Research and Executive Director of Banner Alzheimer’s Institute. “We are extremely honored to have Garrett join the team.”

Dr. Riggs joins the Stead Family Memory Center from the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Orlando where he served as a staff neurologist in the Brain & Spine Tumor Program and the University of Central Florida College of Medicine where he was Associate Professor of Neurology and Medical Education. Dr. Riggs completed fellowships in Behavioral Neurology and Clinical Trials at the at  University of Rochester in Rochester, New York, where a principal mentor was Dr. Pierre Tariot, who now is Director of the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute. After fellowship, Dr. Riggs was hired as an Assistant Professor of Neurology in the Department of Neurology in Rochester.

Dr. Riggs has won more than 15 notable teaching awards including Most Influential First-Year Faculty Member, the Golden Apple Award and Excellence in Teaching Award at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine, Neurology Faculty Teaching Award, Harry L. Segal Prize for Excellence in Third Year Teaching, and the A. B. Baker Neurology Teaching Award, a national award presented by the American Academy of Neurology.  In addition, he has served on a number of clinical and research committees at the local and regional levels.  He is also a consultant for the National Board of Medical Examiners. Dr. Riggs is affiliated with multiple professional societies including the American Academy of Neurology and the Society for Neuro-Oncology and has authored more than 20 publications in medical, scientific, and educational journals.  He is a former Associate Editor of Neurology, the official journal of the American Academy of Neurology and the most widely cited clinical neurology journal in the world.

Part of nonprofit Phoenix-based Banner Health, Banner Alzheimer’s Institute is dedicated to the goal of ending Alzheimer’s disease without losing another generation. It is helping to launch a new era of Alzheimer’s research—treatment and prevention at the pre-symptomatic stage—and to establish a new comprehensive model of care. Established in 2006 by Banner Health, one of the country’s largest nonprofit health care systems, BAI has a three-fold focus: to conduct revolutionary studies in the detection, treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s; to set a national standard of patient and family care; and to forge scientific collaborations that bring together institutions and disciplines internationally. For more information, visit www.banneralz.org.

research

Clinical trials change Arizona’s bioscience, business sectors

Last November, Arizona voters resoundingly passed Prop. 303 making it legal in Arizona for companies and physicians to provide terminally ill patients the “right to try” investigational drugs or therapies outside an FDA approved clinical trial.    While it sounded good in the short description provided to voters, in reality, it is unlikely to provide the outcomes one might expect since the manufacturers, physicians, pharmacists, and hospitals are required to follow the federal processes that govern these investigational treatments.  Proposition 303 did not change that.

What Are Clinical Trials?

The clinical trials process is an important step in the discovery, development and delivery pathway that leads to new life saving and live enhancing innovations.  Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for patients. These studies also may show which medical approaches work best for certain illnesses or groups of people. Clinical trials produce the best data available for health care decision making and the studies follow strict scientific standards. These standards protect patients and help produce reliable study results.

Today, in Arizona, there are 1,380 ongoing clinical trials according to ClincialTrials.gov which is the national database provided by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.  These studies cover a wide range of therapies and conditions.  Through the dedicated work of innovators, healthcare professionals, and patients, we are learning more about the safety and effectiveness of future treatments.

ClinicalTrials.gov  is a registry and results database of publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants conducted around the world and currently lists 187,600 studies with locations in all 50 states and in 189 countries.

How can we speed the path to innovation and give more patients access to life changing innovations?

On April 29th, members of Arizona’s life science industry and members of the community at large will gather the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown for the 2015 AZBio Expo which will focus on clinical trials in Arizona. Event details and ticket information for the 2015 AZBio Expo on April 29, 2015 at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown are available at AZBioExpo.com.

Thanks to the support of leaders in Arizona’s life science community, practicing physicians, patients, and caregivers are invited to register for the full day conference free of charge with discount code “AZBusiness.”

The program is designed to provide an update on what Arizona’s clinical trial landscape looks like today and what is could grow to be in the future.  The program includes:

• An Introduction to The Clinical Trials Process by Mark Slater, PhD, Vice President, Research at HonorHealth Research Institute

• A keynote presentation by Matthew Huentelman, PhD, Associate Professor, Neurogenomics Division and Head of the Neurobehavioral Research Unit at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen)

• A keynote presentation by Glen Weiss, MD, MBA, Director of Clinical Research & Medical Oncologist, Western Regional Medical Center, Cancer Treatment Centers of America

• A View of Arizona’s Clinical Trials Landscape by Joan Koerber-Walker, President and CEO of the Arizona Bioindustry Association and Chairman of the AdvaMed State Medical Technology Alliance in Washington, DC.

• A Discussion on Funding Clinical Trials led by Joan Koerber-Walker with Terry Urbine, PhD of the  UA College of Pharmacy, Jeremy Shefner, MD, PhD of the Barrow Neurological Institute, and Teresa Bartels from Gateway for Cancer Research.

• A Discussion on Engaging Patients in the Process led by Greg Vigdor, President & CEO, Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association with  Brian Browne of Banner Research, Barbara Kavanaugh of the Arizona Myeloma Network, and Marcia K. Horn of the International Cancer Advocacy Network

• A Discussion on Growing Arizona’s Clinical Trials Base led by Nazneen Aziz, PhD,  Chief Research Officer and Senior Vice President, Phoenix Children’s Hospital with  Joan Rankin Shapiro, PhD of the UA College of Medicine Phoenix), and Linda Vocila, BSN, RN of TD2.

• Rapid Fire Presentations featuring Arizona companies with active clinical trials here in Arizona and around the world including:  Cancer Prevention Pharmaceuticals, Inc.,  Capstone Therapeutics,  the Center For Sustainable Health at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University,  Cord Blood Registry,  Insys Therapeutics, Inc., and  NuvOx Pharma.

By focusing on clinical trials together, we can help find answers for the people who matter most, the patients.

banner alzheimers foundation - brain research

Banner Alzheimers Foundation Launches $40 Million Campaign

Banner Alzheimers Foundation (BAF), the philanthropic resource for Banner Alzheimer’s Institute (BAI), announces a $40 million campaign to advance some of the most challenging yet promising research to stop Alzheimer’s disease. The BAI Breakthrough will support cutting-edge studies aimed at treating and preventing the disease, state-of-the-art brain imaging and an unparalleled model of patient and family care.

The campaign will designate $15 million to help fund the groundbreaking research that BAI recently announced in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health and others. This prevention trial, which will span two countries, will test an amyloid immunization therapy and is the first ever conducted with cognitively healthy individuals who are certain to develop Alzheimer’s because of their genetic history.

The campaign’s remaining $25 million will support additional studies of both the preclinical and symptomatic stages of the disease; critical technology for a new 18,000-square-foot imaging center; and expansion of BAI’s comprehensive model of care to serve as the standard nationwide.

The BAI Breakthrough officially launched this spring with a $6 million gift from the Stead Family Foundation. Mary Joy and Jerre Stead are long-time supporters of BAI and chairs of the campaign’s leadership cabinet. He is also chairman of the BAF board.

“We absolutely believe prevention of Alzheimer’s will become a reality through BAI’s research efforts,” Jerre Stead says. “Yet, not only is BAI working on behalf of future generations, it is taking care of individuals and families dealing right now with the impact of this devastating disease. Mary Joy and I feel privileged to be a part of this effort and encourage others to get involved.”

About 5.4 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s, a debilitating and incurable disease of the brain. By 2030, that number could exceed 7.7 million, and by 2050, as many as 16 million Americans could have Alzheimer’s. The disease takes an enormous physical, emotional and financial toll on individuals, caregivers and families.

Dr. Eric Reiman, BAI executive director and CEO of Banner Research, applauds the role that philanthropy is playing here in advancing research and care.

“We could not be more grateful to Jerre and Mary Joy Stead for their leadership, passion and extraordinary support—and to so many people who provide the resources needed for us to fulfill our ambitious goals,” Reiman says. “Their support makes it possible for BAI to provide hope and help, research and care, and to give us the chance to make a transformational difference in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.”

The campaign is a collaboration between a team of renowned scientists and clinicians and an outstanding group of individuals, corporations and foundations dedicated to funding the breakthrough that could change lives for generations to come.

More information about Banner Alzheimers Foundation and The BAI Breakthrough or the work of BAI can be found at www.banneralz.org.