Clinical trials in Topeka help develop new treatments


At any given time, the Cotton O’Neil Clinical Research Center has 100 active trials taking place. Grant Glenn, a long time patient of Stormont Vail, participated in a drug trial for psoriasis.

“I had a version that is real scaly and covering a real substantial part of my body. I’ve had it since my mid-30’s and have tried a lot of different drugs and treatments through the years,” explains Glenn.  

Stormont Vail is unique in that it’s not an academic medical center, but rather a community based integrated health system offering trials for a variety of medical conditions.

“We are in the middle of the country in Topeka, and at the center of a lot of things that are exploding in science, in animal health, and human health.  The ability to take a potential new treatment that can really prevent and maybe cure disease here with our population provides a lot of opportunity,” explains Mary Martell, the Director of Research Services for the Cotton O’Neil Research Center. 

The trials cover many conditions including diabetes, Alzheimer’s Disease, children diseases, and cancer.

“You have to prove in two controlled trials, not just one but two, that your new drug actually does perform better than a placebo or performs better than another drug treating the same thing,” explains Donna Reynolds a Senior Clinical Research Associate for a major pharmaceutical company with trials in Topeka.  

The research center works with a variety of research sponsors, companies, and the national institutes of health. 

“I would say that Cotton O’Neil has one of the best centers for recruiting participants in the community.  They have provided very good data and lots of data that is accurate and timely. That has definitely helped us get drugs on the market,” says Reynolds. 

After 14 years, the success of Cotton O’Neil’s Clinical Research Program is the many local patients willing to be a part of it.

“Participants are the key! If we don’t have participants in the community who are willing to participate, than we’re not successful, (and) we can not be successful,” Reynolds says.
“It’s noble. There’s not many things that we have an opportunity to do, to make a difference in the world. It’s a small thing, but an important thing. I would encourage anyone who qualifies to strongly consider it,” boasts Glenn. 

To find out what clinical trials are currently available at Stormont Vail today and how you can apply for one, call (785) 368-0744 or visit:

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