Medical Advances

Revolutionary Research Underway with First-in-Man Clinical Trial for Hunter Syndrome

Hunter SyndromeAs an academic medical center, many physicians at Emory not only take care of patients on a daily basis, but also partake in research and teaching/training the future generations of physicians.

It’s through discovery that happens during clinical trials and research that allows for new advancements in medicine to be made. Providing the standard of care of is not always enough. New treatment therapies, technology and care delivery techniques must be developed, tested and perfected in order to keep advancing health care.

Not sure what clinical trials are? Check out our blog post that explains Clinical Trails>>

 
Currently happening at Emory is the first-in-man clinical trial, testing a newly developed drug for a rare genetic condition called mucopolysaccharidosis type II (MPS II) or Hunter syndrome.

Hunter syndrome is a hereditary disease in which a critical enzyme is either missing, or there is not enough of it. Without enough of this enzyme, long chains of sugar molecules do not break down properly in the body and accumulate in the organs and tissues and become toxic.

To treat most cases of Hunter syndrome, an enzyme replacement medication is used, but this regimen does not cross into the brain to treat the most severe cases of Hunter syndrome. In this particular trial, Emory researchers are testing whether a man-made enzyme fused with an antibody and injected into the bloodstream will deliver the enzyme therapy into the brain. This is the first time this medication combination has been tested in a human.

The video below features Emory patient, Chris Dutcher. “By testing this new medication for the first time in a human, my hope is to help children with severe Hunter syndrome,” says Dutcher, whose younger brother also has the same disorder.

Chris has the mild version of Hunter syndrome, but his symptoms are still quite serious and involve the lining of the brain and spinal cord, which are not treated by existing medications. He is the first patient to receive the new treatment therapy.

More information about Hunter syndrome and this clinical trial can be found in the Emory News Center. Learn more about clinical trials at Emory Healthcare.

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Understanding Clinical Trials – Part 4: What Questions Should You Ask Before Enrolling in a Clinical Trial?

Clinical Trials QuestionsParticipation in clinical trials is 100% voluntary. While there are many benefits to participating in clinical trials, there can also be risks. If you have been offered a clinical trial, or are considering participating, it is important to talk with your physician before enrolling in one. Your health care team wants to make sure you have all the information needed to make a decision.

Do not hesitate to ask any questions or bring up any issues concerning the trial with the research team associated with the clinical trial. Tips for asking about clinical trials include:

  • Take a family member or caregiver with you for support and for help in asking questions and recording answers.
  • Plan questions ahead of time — you can still ask new questions you think of while you’re there, but it helps to be prepared ahead of time.
  • Write down your questions in advance, to make sure you remember to ask them all.
  • Write down the answers, so that you can review them whenever you want.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) developed a list of suggestions that may be helpful to review as you think about the questions you may have:

Questions about the Study

  • What is the purpose?
  • Why do researchers think the approach may be effective?
  • Who will fund the study?
  • Who has reviewed and approved the study?
  • How are study results and safety of participants being checked?
  • How long will the study last?
  • What will my responsibilities be if I participate?

Questions about Possible Risks/Benefits

  • What are my possible short-term benefits?
  • What are my possible long-term benefits?
  • What are my short-term risks, such as side effects?
  • What are my possible long-term risks?
  • What other options do people with my disease have?
  • How do the possible risks and benefits of this trial compare with those options?

Questions about Participation and Care

  • What kinds of therapies, procedures and /or tests will I have during the trial?
  • Will they hurt, and if so, for how long?
  • How do the tests in the study compare with those I would have outside of the trial?
  • Will I be able to take my regular medications while in the clinical trial?
  • Where will I have my medical care?
  • Who will be in charge of my care?

Questions about Personal Health Issues

  • How could being in this study affect my daily life?
  • Can I talk to other people in the study?

Questions about Financial Issues

  • Will I have to pay for any part of the trial such as tests or the study drug?
  • If so, what will the charges likely be?
  • What is my health insurance likely to cover?
  • Who can help answer any questions from my insurance company or health plan?
  • Will there be any travel or child care costs that I need to consider while I am in the trial?

At Emory Healthcare, our physicians and researchers want to answer all your questions about clinical trials and research. View some of our frequently asked questions, or hear from our patients who have gone through clinical trials.

Related Resources

Understanding Clinical Trials – Part 3: What are the Phases of Clinical Trials?

Phases of Clinical TrialsThe goal of clinical trials is to determine if new treatments, drugs and care-delivery processes are safe and effective. Discovery and data collected from clinical research studies impacts patient care, here and now, while also informing future generations with the hope of achieving better outcomes. But clinical studies do not happen overnight, and in fact, some take years to yield enough information to answer specific questions they are designed to answer.

Clinical trials take place in “phases,” and each phase helps researchers answer specific questions. Learn more about the different phases of clinical trials below:

Phase I:

These trials are used to test brand new drugs, devices or procedures to find out how safe they are, including safest dose, and identify possible side effects. They usually involve 20 to 80 people.

Phase II:

These trials are used to further evaluate the effectiveness of a drug, device or procedure. The researchers keep track of any medical benefits, as well as side effects. They usually involve 100 to 300 people. At the end of Phase II trials, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and trial sponsors determine how Phase III trials will be conducted.

Phase III:

These trials compare a new treatment or procedure to current treatments to figure out which works better. Safety and level of effectiveness continued to be monitored, as well as side effects. They usually involve 1,000 to 8,000 people.

Phase IV:

Once a drug or procedure is approved by the FDA and made available to the public, researchers continue to study its safety to figure out the best use of the new treatment. Information is gathered on the drug’s long-term effectiveness in various populations, as well as adverse side effects associated with long-term use. In the video below, Dr. Donald Harvey walks through the different phases of cancer-specific clinical trials.

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Emory Johns Creek Hospital Offers State-of-the-Art Vein Illumination Technology

Vein IlluminationHave you ever gone to a physician’s office to have blood drawn only to be stuck three or four times to hit a vein? Or, when receiving an IV, have clinician had to search for a good vein because you are dehydrated? Emory Johns Creek Hospital has added new, innovative technology that greatly decreases the number of attempts needed to find a good vein for needle placements, making the process of drawing blood, starting intravenous solutions and other procedures easier on both the patient and clinician.

The vein illuminating device, made by AccuVein Inc., uses a visible laser to show a map of veins on the surface of a patient’s skin, which allows the clinician to choose veins that will offer the greatest chance of success for needle placement on the first try. Since the vein finder does not make contact with the skin, it is painless and easy to clean. It is also effective on a range of skin tones. Clinicians can dock the device on an easy-to-position mobile stand when they need to work hands free.

According to Lisa Aiken, RN, MSN, Nurse Educator for the Intensive Care Unit and Emergency Department, Emory Johns Creek uses the vein finder in several areas of the hospital, including the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) where veins in premature babies are very small and hard to find. It is also used in the Emergency Department and Outpatient Surgery.

Aiken explains that suitable veins are often more difficult to locate in patients who are dehydrated, overweight or diabetic. Veins are also harder to find in older patients, and Aiken adds, anxiety can make veins harder to find, which is often the case in people who are about to give blood or undergo a procedure. Though new to the hospital, Aiken says patients have already expressed appreciation and satisfaction with the new device.

For more information on this exciting new technology, please visit Emory Johns Creek Hospital at www.emoryjohnscreek.com or call 678-474-7000.

Is Insomnia Linked to High Blood Pressure?

insomnia clinical trialWith more than 1,000 clinical trials underway at Emory, today’s research is giving patients and families a better tomorrow. Read about one of our active nursing clinical trials below:

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common but serious condition. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in every 3 adults in the United States (about 70 million people) has high blood pressure.

Having high blood pressure means the pressure of blood in the blood vessels is higher than it should be, which can be a risk factor for heart disease and stroke, two of the leading causes of death for Americans.

While hypertension can be controlled through prescribed medications, lifestyle changes are equally as important. A healthy diet and exercise are known ways to lower blood pressure, but a clinical trial currently underway at the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University is investigating whether adequate sleep also helps reduce high blood pressure.

Insomnia – or trouble getting to sleep, staying asleep or early morning awakenings – is a very common sleep disorder associated with decreased quality of life, reduced work productivity and increased health care costs. In recent years, insomnia has also been associated with hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

In this particular study, funded by the American Heart Association, participants participate in an online sleep improvement program once a week for six weeks. The goal of the trial is to determine if the program is effective in lowering blood pressure and improving sleep, mood and cognition in people with insomnia and high blood pressure.

Do you have high blood pressure? Do you have trouble sleeping? Eligible participants will receive compensation for their time and effort. For more information, click to view the informational flyer for this trial>>

Related Resources

Find an Emory trial
Clinical Trials – FAQs
Understanding Clinical Trials – Part 1: What are Clinical Trials?
Emory School of Nursing

Clinical Trials: Leading the Way to Better Health Care

Emory Clinical TrialsAs the leading academic medical center in Georgia, Emory Healthcare is home to researchers and physicians who are pioneering or participating in thousands of clinical trials across the nation.

The discovery that comes from these research studies not only makes a different in the way health care is delivered, here and now, but impacts patient care for generations to come.

A recent Atlanta Business Chronicle article highlights twenty clinical trials across the state of Georgia that have the potential to make a big difference in health care. 15 out of the 20 trials identified are Emory-led or Emory-involved clinical trials.

Learn more about clinical trials at Emory Healthcare, or click to find an Emory clinical trial.

Also, make sure to read below to see the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s list of promising trials to keep and eye on.

  • LEUKEMIA CLINICAL TRIAL

    • Principal investigator: Dr. Anand Jillella, professor of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Emory University’s School of Medicine; associate director for Community Outreach at Emory University’s Winship Cancer Institute
    • Location: Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University
    • Summary: Currently, one-third of patients diagnosed with Acute Promyeloctic Leukemia don’t survive the third month of treatment. By simplifying patient care strategies, Jillella and his team claim they have found a way to decrease this mortality rate from 30 percent to less than 5 percent. Winship is heading a national clinical trial.
  • LUNG CANCER CLINICAL TRIAL

    • Principal investigator: Dr. Suresh Ramalingam, professor of hematology and medical oncology, Emory University School of Medicine; director of medical oncology and the lung cancer program at Winship Cancer Institute
    • Location: Winship Cancer Institute
    • Summary: This study compares three different approaches to treating patients with certain forms of lung cancer after receiving chemotherapy. The national study will include a total of 1,495 participants, more than 1,400 of which have already been enrolled.
  • GRAFT VS. HOST DISEASE CLINICAL TRIAL

    • Principal investigator: Dr. Muna Qayed, assistant professor of pediatric bone marrow transplantation at Emory School of Medicine; physician, pediatric hematology and oncology, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta; Jacques Galipeau, study sponsor, director of the Emory Personalized Immunotherapy Center, which manufactures cells using a unique processing technique
    • Location: Emory University School of Medicine, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and Emory Personalized Immunotherapy Center (EPIC)
    • Summary: Qayed’s team is in Phase I of a trial that will test personalized cell therapy for the treatment of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), a life threatening complication that affects anywhere from 30 to 70 percent of patients who undergo bone marrow transplantation. For patients who don’t respond to the first-line therapy (steroids) the disease can be fatal up to half the time. The study involves removing the participant’s own stem cells, manufacturing more of those cells and then infusing them back into participants.
  • BREAST CANCER CLINICAL TRIAL

    • Principal investigator: Dr. Wendy Painter, CEO of Que Oncology
    • Location: Que Oncology, a biotechnology company formed by Emory University and Brisbane, Australia-based UniQuest, the University of Queensland’s commercialization company, in partnership with Morehouse School of Medicine
    • Summary: This study aims to treat hot flashes in women receiving anti-estrogen therapy for breast cancer with Q-122, Que Oncology’s lead compound. Nearly 60 percent of participants experienced a reduction in hot flashes during Phase I of the study, which wrapped in November 2014.
  • CROHN’S DISEASE CLINICAL TRIAL

    • Principal investigator: Dr. Subra Kugathasan, Marcus professor of pediatric gastroenterology at Emory School of Medicine; physician, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
    • Location: Emory University School of Medicine, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory Personalized Immunotherapy Center (EPIC)
    • Summary: Physician-researchers at Emory University and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta are using “personalized” cellular therapy to treat older adolescents and adults suffering from Crohn’s disease by harvesting participants’ own marrow cells and manufacturing personalized ones to target the disease’s inflammatory mechanisms, potentially reducing intestinal flare-ups and minimizing long-term damage.
  • EBOLA CLINICAL TRIAL

    • Principal investigator: Dr. Anne Winkler and Dr. Colleen Kraft, assistant professors in pathology and laboratory medicine at Emory University School of Medicine
    • Location: Emory University Hospital
    • Summary: Investigators are collecting plasma from U.S. Ebola survivors to see if it could possibly prove effective when used in conjunction with standard treatment methods. Following the donor apheresis procedure which removes the plasma component from the blood and returns red blood cells to the donor, the plasma is treated with a device called the Intercept Blood System to remove any potential pathogens. The plasma is stored with the aim of using its antibodies to neutralize the active virus in the recipient’s blood.
  • PANCREATIC CANCER CLINICAL TRIAL

    • Principal investigator: Dr. David Kooby, professor of surgery, Emory University School of Medicine; director of surgical oncology, Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital
    • Location: Winship Cancer Institute
    • Summary: One of the challenges in pancreatic cancer surgery is ensuring the removal of the entire cancer, as cancer cells can extend beyond the actual mass into the nearby normal-appearing pancreas. This study uses a novel application of a well-studied dye called indocyanine green coupled with a pen-shaped detection device (SpectroPen). The dye leaks out of the small vessels around the tumor cells, and the pen can be used to measure this leaking dye to detect cancer in the surrounding pancreas. This can help surgeons achieve complete cancer removal in more patients and it can help pathologists assess the tumor tissue more thoroughly to improve staging and better guide treatment.
  • BLINDNESS CLINICAL TRIAL

    • Principal investigator: Dr. Stephen Yeh, associate professor of ophthalmology and director of the section of uveitis and vasculitis at Emory Eye Center is running the uveitis study; Dr. Andrew Hendrick, assistant professor of ophthalmology at Emory Eye Center is running the retinal vein occlusion study.
    • Location: Clearside Biomedical has eight trial sites across the U.S., including Emory University
    • Summary: Drug development company Clearside Biomedical is conducting a trial on a micro-injector platform technology that allows surgeons to deliver medicine to treat the leading causes of blindness directly into the retina, improving the drug’s effectiveness while reducing side effects that can occur when the drug enters other parts of the eye. Clearside is currently conducting a trial on of uveitis, inflammation associated with the back of the eye. It’s also running a Phase II study in retinal vein occlusion.
  • EBOLA VACCINES CLINICAL TRIAL

    • Principal investigator: N/A
    • Location: GeoVax in Smyrna, Ga.
    • Summary: This tiny biotech company, of which Emory University is the single largest shareholder, is developing a second-generation preventive vaccine against the three strains of the Ebola virus. CEO Bob McNally said the goal is to have the vaccine ready for Phase I testing by next year in preparation for the next outbreak of the disease.
  • ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE CLINICAL TRIAL

    • Principal investigator: Dr. Ihab Hajjar, associate professor of medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
    • Location: Emory University
    • Summary: Hajjar’s team is conducting a one-year study (Calibrex) of the relationship between high blood pressure and Alzheimer’s disease. They will try to determine whether drug treatment for high blood pressure can affect those factors associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Eligible participants are older than 60, hypertensive, and have mild cognitive impairment.
  • HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE CLINICAL TRIAL

    • Principal investigator: Dr. Chandan Devireddy, associate professor of medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
    • Location: Emory University
    • Summary: In August 2013, Emory was the first in the world to implant a MobiusHD device, a catheter-delivered implant that can help lower high blood pressure without the use of medication. It is one of nine centers in the United States conducting a study to evaluate the device and how it compares to standard treatments for people with treatment-resistant high blood pressure.
  • HEART FAILURE CLINICAL TRIAL

    • National co-principal investigator: Dr. Vinod Thourani, professor of surgery, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Emory School of Medicine; chief of cardiothoracic surgery, Emory Hospital Midtown, co-director, Structural Heart and Valve Center
    • Emory investigator: Dr. Vasilis Babaliaros, associate professor of medicine, Emory School of Medicine, co-director, Structural Heart and Valve Center.
    • Location: Emory University
    • Summary: Emory is now enrolling qualified patients for its Partner II Sapien 3 trial for aortic valve replacements, a groundbreaking nonsurgical treatment for patients with failing aortic valves who are considered intermediate risk for surgical therapy. Emory was the first center in the Southeast to place a Sapien valve in a patient without opening the chest and the first in the U.S. to implant the newest generation Sapien 3 valve. It is one of the largest enrolling centers for the national clinical trial to evaluate this latest generation of transcatheter aortic valves.
  • CANCER PAIN CLINICAL TRIAL

    • Principal investigators: Dr. Mark Rapaport, Reunette W. Harris professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University School of Medicine, and chief of psychiatric services, Emory Healthcare; and lead investigator, Dr. Mylin Torres, associate professor in Emory University’s Department of Radiation Oncology
    • Location: The Emory Brain Health Center, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
    • Summary: Previous research conducted by Rapaport has shown that massage therapy can boost the immune system and decrease anxiety for people who do not have cancer. In this study, the researchers are investigating the effects of massage on the debilitating fatigue post-surgery cancer patients experience as a result of chemotherapy, chemo-prevention and/or radiation.
  • DEPRESSION CLINICAL TRIAL

    • Principal investigator: Dr. Helen Mayberg, professor of psychiatry and neurology at Emory University School of Medicine, and Dorothy C. Fuqua Chair in Psychiatric Neuroimaging and Therapeutics
    • Location: Emory University School of Medicine
    • Summary: Mayberg leads a team of researchers studying the results of implanting electrodes into a pinpointed region of the brain believed to be responsible for regulating depression in some people. The electrodes send electrical impulses to interrupt faulty brain circuits in that portion of the brain. The study targets patients whose depression has resisted treatment by any other means. Various phases of clinical trials have been ongoing since 2003. Subsequent trials on patients with unipolar and bipolar depression have shown promising results.
  • ALZHEIMER’S CLINICAL TRIAL

    • Principal investigator: Whitney Wharton, assistant professor of neurology, Emory University School of Medicine
    • Location: Emory University
    • Summary: Wharton’s team is studying the effects of blood flow on factors that contribute to Alzheimer’s disease. Participants come to the university once annually for cognitive assessments, blood pressure monitoring, vascular ultrasounds and lumbar puncture.

Related Resources

Find an Emory Trial
Clinical Trials – FAQs
Understanding Clinical Trials – Part 1: What are Clinical Trials?

Emory’s Stroke Rehabilitation Clinical Trial Chosen as Top International Trial

Rehab Clinical TrialAt Emory, clinical trials are at the core of our mission and we are proud to offer them to our patients. Groundbreaking scientific advances and medical treatments available today have been made possible because of volunteer participation in clinical trials and research.

In fact, one of the thousands of clinical trials conducted at Emory was just identified as one of the 15 top international clinical trials ever published for physical therapy and rehabilitation.

The EXCITE (Extremity Constraint-Induced Therapy Evaluation) trial, led by Emory University’s Steven Wolf, PhD, PT, professor of rehabilitation medicine at Emory University, was created to teach stroke patients to use their stroke-affected arm rather than their “good” arm. Conducted almost a decade ago, the clinical trial was found to have a significant impact in stroke rehabilitation, which set the stage for many future trials.

Each year, more than 795,000 people in the United States suffer from a stroke and many stroke survivors experience partial paralysis on one side of the body. The EXCITE trial enrolled 222 patients who had suffered a stroke, predominantly an ischemic stroke, within the previous three to nine months.

During the trial, participant’s less-impaired hand was restrained and/or immobilized by placing a mitt around the “good” arm in an effort to encourage use of the affected extremity. Participants engaged in daily repetitive tasks and behavioral therapy sessions, which included training in tasks such as opening a lock, turning a doorknob or pouring a drink. Only use of the affected arm was allowed during exercise.

“Often, stroke rehabilitation focuses on teaching patients how to better rely on their stronger limbs, even if they retain some use in the impaired limbs, creating a learned disuse,” says Wolf. “This trial was just the opposite and focused on the impaired limb, which proved to be a valuable form of rehabilitation. We are so pleased and honored that this clinical trial has been found to be a top 15 trial amongst an international jury of experts.”

Wolf, and other Emory University researchers partaking in the national trial, studied participants to determine if the intervention improved motor function, as compared to no therapy at all. Patients were evaluated using the Wolf Motor Function Test (named after Wolf), which is a measure of laboratory time, strength-based ability and quality of movement.

Research investigators found that over the course of a year from the beginning of therapy, the group undergoing constraint-induced therapy showed greater improvements than the control group in regaining function.

“Results showed that constraint-induced movement therapy produced statistically significant and clinically relevant improvements in arm motor function that persisted for at least one year at follow-up,” says Wolf. “This trial was the first large multi-center, randomized controlled trial in stroke rehabilitation that lay the ground work for many other trials to follow.”

The EXCITE trial was funded by the National Institutes of Health from 2000-2005 and the results were published in JAMA in 2006. For the past 15 years, PEDro, a database located and supported within the George Institute for Global Health in Australia, has reviewed clinical trials, guidelines and reviews of work related to rehabilitation and physical therapy. During that time period, around 28,000 trials and manuscripts dating back as far as 1929 were reviewed. The free database is used by thousands of physiotherapists and others interested in rehabilitation from more than 200 countries. Out of the 15 trials highlighted by PEDro, only two were clinical trials based in the U.S.

Click to learn more about clinical trials at Emory, or call 404-778-7777.

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The Truth About Egg Freezing

Pregnant WomanFertility preservation – or, as it’s popularly known, egg freezing — has recently received a burst in media attention. Since the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) endorsed oocyte (egg) cryopreservation (freezing) as no longer experimental in October of 2012, the options for women desiring to delay childbearing have expanded.

Who Should Consider Egg Freezing?

ASRM recommends oocyte cryopreservation for fertility preservation for specific indications, namely to preserve fertility potential prior to gonadotoxic treatment for cancer or other medical conditions, among women at risk for premature ovarian failure, and among women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) who prefer not to freeze embryos. ASRM recommends thorough patient counseling prior to elective cryopreservation to defer childbearing for social reasons and specifically states that “data on the safety, efficacy, cost-effectiveness, and emotional risks of elective oocyte cryopreservation are insufficient to recommend elective oocyte cryopreservation.” While egg freezing is not universally recommended for all single women, the decision to freeze eggs may be a good option for certain women who have received thorough counseling from a reproductive endocrinologist.

What Does Egg Freezing Involve?

The process is very similar to IVF. Oocyte cryopreservation requires daily injectable medications over a 2-3 week period to first suppress the brain’s signal to the ovary, and then to stimulate the ovary to “superovulate” to recruit 10-20 eggs, if possible. During the approximately 10 days of stimulation, the patient comes to the clinic around 5 times for a blood test and pelvic ultrasound to monitor the ovaries’ response to the medications. Once the eggs are ready, the patient undergoes an egg retrieval, which is a 30 minute outpatient procedure. For IVF, the eggs are fertilized with sperm, and then an embryo is transferred to the uterus. For egg freezing, the eggs are frozen after the retrieval.

What is the Chance of Successful Pregnancy after Egg Freezing?

As with all assisted reproductive technology procedures, the success of fertility treatments correlates to a woman’s age at the time of treatment. In general, the younger the woman is, the better chance she has of conceiving. Pregnancy outcomes of IVF vary by clinic and can be found on the CDC website. At the Emory Reproductive Center, we’re proud to report that our rates consistently exceed the national average. Pregnancy outcomes after egg freezing are a little less predictable, because the technology to rapidly freeze eggs is relatively new. In general, trials to date suggest that over 90% of frozen eggs will survive the thawing process and that pregnancy rates should be comparable to those using fresh eggs. Every 6 to 7 frozen eggs should allow for one embryo transfer with a chance of pregnancy dependent on the female partner’s age at the time of egg freezing. This chance can be as high as 60 to 70% in a female who froze her eggs when she was younger than 35 years old; however, the chance of pregnancy decreases with advancing female age at the time of freezing.

Does the Emory Reproductive Center Offer Egg Freezing?

Yes! We routinely offer and perform oocyte cryopreservation for fertility preservation due to medical conditions and social reasons. We would be happy to discuss your personal situation with you in more detail. To schedule a new patient visit, please call (404) 778-3401, and select option 1 for the Emory Reproductive Center.

What is the Cost of Egg Freezing?

The out-of-pocket cost for oocyte cryopreservation varies based on your insurance. In general, the cost of the ovarian stimulation and monitoring, egg retrieval, and freezing is approximately $4,000. The cost of medications can vary, depending upon the patient’s dose and responsiveness to them. Additionally, if a patient later chooses to thaw and fertilize their eggs to undergo an embryo transfer, they will incur the cost of those procedures, as well, which can currently run about $5,000.

About Dr. Jennifer Kawwass

Kawwass headshotJennifer Kawwass, MD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Emory University School of Medicine and a Guest Researcher at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where she is a member of the Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Team. Dr. Kawwass sees patients at the Emory Reproductive Center at Emory University Hospital Midtown where she serves as the Donor Egg Program Director. Her clinical interests include infertility, in vitro fertilization, functional hypothalamic amenorrhea, and fertility preservation. Dr. Kawwass is originally from Virginia Beach. She attended Davidson College, University of Virginia Medical School, and subsequently completed both her Ob/Gyn Residency and REI Fellowship at Emory University School of Medicine. She enjoys spending time with her husband and two young children, running, and visiting her family at the beach.

Clinical Trials – FAQs

Clinical Trials at EmoryAt Emory Healthcare, we are proud to sponsor clinical trials and offer the opportunity for our patients to participate in them. Currently there are more than 1,000 clinical trials offered throughout our health care system. As one of the nation’s leading academic medical systems, our involvement in clinical trials sets us apart from other health care organizations. Access to advanced resources and technology allows our care team to provide patients with the most effective and progressive treatments. It’s only once these treatments are approved that they’re made available elsewhere.

Medical advances and improvements to patient care have been made possible by clinical trials and the participation of volunteers. Below are answers to frequently asked questions you may have about clinical trials.

Q. What is a clinical trial?

A. A clinical trial is a form of research that uses human volunteers (called participants) to help answer specific questions about new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases. Clinical trials are extremely important because they allow researchers to work with patients suffering from the exact condition they are trying to treat.

Q. What types of clinical trials are available at Emory?

A. There are several forms of clinical trials. Some trials test new drugs, procedures or other treatments, and others look for better ways to prevent diseases in people who have either never had a disease or are trying to keep one from coming back. Some trials are used to develop better ways to diagnose a particular disease or condition while other trials help find ways to improve the care and quality of life of people with long-term illnesses.

Q. What do the different phases of trials mean?

A. Clinical trials take place in “phases,” and each phase helps researchers answer specific questions.

Phase I Clinical Trials: These trials are used to test brand new drugs, devices or procedures to find out how safe they are and identify possible side effects. They usually involve 20 to 80 people.

Phase II Clinical Trials: These trials are used to further evaluate the effectiveness and safety of a drug, device or procedure. The researchers keep track of any medical benefits, as well as side effects. They usually involve 100 to 300 people.

Phase III Clinical Trials: These trials compare a new treatment or procedure with a standard old treatment or procedure to figure out which works best. Evaluation of side effects and effectiveness continues. They usually involve 1,000 to 8,000 people.

Phase IV Clinical Trials: Once a drug or procedure is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and made available to the public, researchers continue to study its safety to figure out the best use of the new treatment.

Q. Who can participate in clinical trials?

A. Both people in good health and people with certain diseases or conditions participate in clinical trials. People participate in trials to help researchers find better treatments, or to receive care or treatment only available as part of a clinical trial.

Q. How does clinical research make a difference?

A. Clinical research helps us learn about the safety and effectiveness of all drugs, procedures and other
treatments. Medical advances like new drugs and surgical procedures are made possible because of clinical trials and the voluntary participation of individuals.

At Emory, we’re conducting clinical trials and research to make a difference in people’s lives, here and now and for generations to come. While there are many benefits to participating in clinical trials, there can also be risks, which is why it is important to speak with a physician before deciding to participate. For more information on clinical trials at Emory, please view a complete list of our Frequently Asked Questions. If you have additional questions, visit our clinical trials website or call 404-778-7777.

Related Resources

Clinical Trials at Emory
Pioneering Medical Advancements
Fighting Cancer
Phase I Trials – Where All Anticancer Drugs Begin

Emory Hospital First in Atlanta to Earn Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification

Joint Commission Stroke Center Certification

Congratulations to Emory University Hospital who recently joined an elite group of fewer than 30 centers nationwide with its Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification from The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association! Emory University Hospital is the only hospital in metropolitan Atlanta to earn this designation and just one of two in Georgia. Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification recognizes only those hospitals that have state-of-the-art infrastructure, staff and training to receive and treat patients with the most complex strokes. Emory University Hospital underwent a rigorous onsite review by The Joint Commission in February 2013.

So, what does this all mean for you? It means that our Emory University Hospital stroke team provides advanced care, including:

  • A state-of-the-art neurointensive care unit, created especially for critically ill stroke patients
  • Neurosurgical interventions for complex conditions that can arise in stroke patients
  • Advanced imaging capabilities
  • Fellowship-trained neurointensivists available 24/7, ready to perform vascular procedures if needed
  • Access to a multidisciplinary team of specialists, including board-certified fellowship-trained stroke neurologists, world-renowned vascular neurosurgeons, highly skilled and experienced interventional neuroradiologists, a board-Certified and fellowship trained neurocritical care team and diagnostic neuroradiologists
  • Thirty-four neurocritical-care unit beds, six neuro step-down or intermediate-care beds and 41 acute-care floor beds

Emory Stroke Center CertificationThe Emory Stroke Center team provides 24/7 coverage and receives early warning about a patient arriving with stroke symptoms. This early notification ensures rapid assessment and stabilization, and an immediate CT brain scan to establish onset time and to determine eligibility for various treatment options.

Stroke is a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. According to the American Stroke Association, stroke is the number four cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the United States. Immediate treatment is essential when someone is having a stroke to reduce the effects and potential for permanent disability. Not close to Emory when an emergency strikes? Nearly half of our patients are transferred from other hospitals, and most of those arrive via helicopter. The Emory Healthcare system also has three Primary Stroke Centers accredited by The Joint Commission, including Emory University Hospital Midtown, Emory Johns Creek Hospital and Saint Joseph’s Hospital.

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