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Surgical Outcomes Research and Innovation Nucleus (SORIN) Supports Investigator-Initiated Clinical Trials

The Surgical Outcomes Research and Innovation Nucleus (SORIN) was formalized in 2019 and serves to foster the development, testing and implementation of innovative therapeutic and health services interventions aimed at improving outcomes in patients undergoing surgery at MUSC.Clinical Trials Growth

The Department of Surgery has seen a steady increase in clinical trials over the past several years, with significant growth in industry-sponsored research and investigator-initiated clinical trials. It has a diverse and active portfolio of clinical research endeavors, including 42 enrolling studies and 16 in start-up or development, which span across most surgical disciplines housed within the Department of Surgery. In addition, the department has 14 clinical trials at the Hollings Cancer Center where our researchers are PIs or co-PIs. Our researchers are currently testing new drug therapies, devices, and cellular-based interventions designed to improve and extend the lives of South Carolinians seeking surgical care within our institution. 

We actively follow nearly 600 patients enrolled in our trials. We are currently testing new drug therapies, devices and cellular-based interventions designed to improve and extend the lives of South Carolinians seeking surgical care within our institution.

David Taber, Pharm.D., MS directs the clinical research group, which serves to foster the development, testing and implementation of innovative devices, therapeutics, and health services interventions aimed at improving outcomes in patients undergoing surgery at MUSC. While most clinical trials conducted in the department are industry-sponsored, growing the number of investigator-initiated clinical trials (IITs) can be dramatically more impactful, particularly at the local level. These trials stem from ideas generated by active investigators in our labs and clinical settings. They require significant resources since the sponsor investigator of the trial is not only sponsoring the study but also creating, coordinating, and carrying out the study, demonstrating collaboration, organizational capabilities, and institutional commitment.

Dr. Taber graduated cum laude and a member of the Dean’s list with a BS in Pharmacy from the State University of New York at Buffalo, one of the top pharmacy programs in the country. He was one of a handful of out-of-state applicants accepted into the post-baccalaureate PharmD program at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). This program is known for its diverse training opportunities with innovative clinical pharmacy practice. He graduated second in his class from MUSC, which aided in obtaining a post-doctorate pharmacy residency in transplant at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill. Dr. Taber has approximately 15 years of post-residency experience providing pharmaceutical care to transplant patients. He has a strong record of collaborating in research endeavors surrounding the study of medication optimization in transplant recipients. Dr. Taber has a long-standing and deep seeded interest in conducting research. During his undergraduate education, he worked for Dr. Bauer analyzing the pharmaceutical properties of liposomal nitric oxide synthase inhibitors; through his doctorate training, he worked with Dr. White analyzing the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of the respiratory fluoroquinolones. Subsequently, Dr. Taber’s interest in conducting clinical research blossomed into a career passion through his clinical experiences with patient care. Dr. Taber’s academic training enabled him to gain a solid foundation in clinical pharmacy practice and collaborate with colleagues in clinical research.

The department has also prioritized the importance of high-impact clinical trials that show potential to create a paradigm shift in clinical care. For some of these trials, like the SUMMIT and TRIOMPHE trials, we are the only medical center in the state participating. Examples of high-impact clinical trials currently being conducted within the department include:

  •  SUMMIT Trial using Tendyne Mitral Valve System for the Treatment of Symptomatic Mitral Regurgitation – Cardiothoracic Surgery; Marc R. Katz, M.D., MPH
  •  A trial of transplanting Hepatitis C-viremic kidneys into Hepatitis C-Negative kidney recipients, sponsored by the NIH – Transplant Surgery; Derek DuBay, M.D. MSPH
  •  DeepView SnapShot Portable (DV-SSP): Device Training Study – Burn Surgery; Steven Kahn, M.D.
  •  BATwire - Percutaneous Implant Kit – Vascular Surgery & Cardiology: Jean Marie Ruddy, M.D.; Anne Kroman, DO, Ph.D. (Co-PIs)
  •  TRIOMPHE Study, using the NEXUS Aortic Arch Stent Graft System specifically engineered for minimally-invasive total arch repair – Vascular & Cardiothoracic Surgery; Ravi Veeraswamy, M.D. & Sanford Zeigler, M.D. (Co-PIs)
  • Shockwave use in aortic valve and aneurysm repair – Vascular Surgery; Mathew Wooster, M.D.
  • Telemedicine (TOBI) for pediatric burn patients – Pediatric Surgery; Aaron Lesher, M.D., MSCR
  •  Nexobrid treatment for partial and full thickness burns – Burn Surgery; Steven Kahn, M.D.
  •  Comparison of surgery and medicine in diverticulitis – Colorectal Surgery; Thomas Curran, M.D., MPH
  •  A window trial on Boswellia, an extract from Frankincense, for breast cancer primary tumors – Surgical Oncology; Nancy KlauberDeMore, M.D.
  •  Increasing socioeconomically disadvantaged patients’ engagement in breast cancer surgery decision making through a shared decision making intervention – Surgical Oncology; Andrea Abbott, M.D. MSCR

The main function of the TCRC is to facilitate the benchtop-to-bedside concept within organ transplantation by streamlining the process of innovative therapies moving from the laboratory to clinical trials and use within usual care. The TCRC is led by David J. Taber, Pharm.D., BCPS, whose current research endeavors surround the study of optimizing medication utilization in transplantation and studying mechanisms to improve the peri-operative value of care in transplant surgery.

Investigators within the Department of Surgery are nationally recognized in studying the causes and consequences of healthcare disparities in vulnerable patient populations, most notably African Americans.

Our researchers are conducting pioneering interventional studies with the goal of reducing the impact of race and socioeconomic status on health outcomes.

Within our clinical trials, we have a strong track record of enrolling patients that are underrepresented in research. Often these patient populations are missing in clinical trials, and inclusion is of paramount importance to providing best clinical outcomes to all populations. We strive to include a highly diverse patient population in all of our clinical trials in transplantation. Many of our other clinical trials, including oncology, cardiac surgery, and acute care surgery clinical trials, have similarly diverse populations.