Current Research

The Arizona Emergency Medicine Research Center (AEMRC) Tucson includes research collaborations that bridge multiple departments and colleges not only in Arizona, but in other states as well. Kurt Denninghoff, MD directs a clinical research platform that has successfully set new standards of excellence for process innovation and trial enrollment. Clinical research nurses are now deployed 24 hours a day, seven days a week at both academic Emergency Departments in Tucson (Banner - University Medical Center Tucson and South campuses) screening 100 percent of the more than 110,000 patients we serve annually for potential inclusion into the nation’s leading clinical trials. Current projects include:

The Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN) is the first federally funded multi-institutional network for research dedicated to the prevention and management of acute illness and injuries in children. AEMRC is home to the Southwest Research Node Center (SW-RNC), one of PECARN’s six Research Node Centers in the U.S. The SW-RNC builds on an existing innovative clinical trials infrastructure to conduct PECARN-approved, multi-institutional research.

The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson is one of a team of six national institutions selected for the Strategies to Innovate EmeRgENcy Care Clinical Trials Network (SIREN), a new initiative of the NIH to advance critical emergency medicine research. SIREN provides infrastructure for large multi-site clinical trials to improve outcomes for patients with neurologic, heart, lung, blood and trauma emergencies, in all stages of emergency care, from pre-hospital emergency medical services to hospital EDs, trauma systems and emergency operative interventions. SIREN will allow rigorous comparative effectiveness studies and assessments of novel therapies.

The Excellence in Prehospital Injury Care (EPIC) Project is a comprehensive effort to evaluate and train Arizona paramedics and first responders on the national standards for prehospital best practices for victims of traumatic brain injury. To date, more than 90 percent of Arizona traumatic brain injury sufferers now receive care from EPIC-trained providers. EPIC is funded by grants from the NIH.

The Platelet-Oriented Inhibition in New Transient Ischemic Attack and Minor Ischemic Stroke Trial (POINT) is a nationwide, NIH-sponsored clinical trial to determine the safety and effectiveness of the combination of low-dose aspirin and a medication called clopidogrel, also known by the brand name Plavix®, in reducing the risk of stroke, heart attacks and other complications in patients who have just had a transient ischemic attack or minor ischemic stroke.

AEMRC collaborates with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in various national consumer-safety studies, including tracking every emergency visit at Banner – University Medical Center Tucson involving an injury associated with a consumer product. The center also provides training on consumer product safety on behalf of the commission.

ESETT (Established Status Epilepticus Treatment Trial) is a national clinical trial to find the best treatment for seizing children rushed to the hospital’s emergency department. The FDA has approved three drugs as a second-round of treatment, but they don’t know which of these commonly used medications best. ESETT researchers hope to narrow down which of the three drugs -- fosphenytoin, valproic acid or levetiracetam – given in the emergency department is safest and most effective. The UA is one of 74 sites participating in the randomized, nationwide study. David M. Labiner, MD, professor and head of the Department of Neurology, and Kurt Denninghoff, MD, professor of emergency medicine and associate of the Arizona Emergency Medicine Research Center (AEMRC) are lead investigators for the UA.

Stroke Hyperglycemia Insulin Network Effort (SHINE) is studying the effects of controlling elevated blood sugar levels in stroke patients compared to utilizing other methods to control blood sugar. The clinical trial, led by Drs. Drake and Denninghoff, is running at the University and South Campuses of Banner University Medical Center.

Application of Transcriptional Signatures for Diagnosis of Febrile Infants within the PECARN Network (BioSigs) is running at the Banner University Medical Center. Dr Aaron Leech, MD is the principal investigator. The study’s ultimate goal is to create a test that will rapidly determine if an infection is bacterial or non-bacterial, thereby sparing many newborns unnecessary invasive procedures such as lumbar punctures, overuse of antibiotics and hospitalizations.

MulticEnter trial of Rivaroxaban for early disCharge of pUlmonaRY embolism from the Emergency Department (MERCURY PE) a clinical trial, led by Dr. Kurt Denninghoff, is running at the  Banner University Medical Center. The primary objective of the study is to demonstrate that low risk pulmonary embolism (PE) patients who are discharged from the ED to the home environment and treated with rivaroxaban as outpatients have fewer total days in the hospital for bleeding and/or VTE events through Day 30 compared to patients who are treated with initial hospitalization and standard-of-care.