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McLaughlin Research Institute aims to establish one of the nation’s first rural clinical research centers

Tiffany Hensley-McBain demonstrates a centrifuge in a lab at the McLaughlin Research Institute
McLaughlin Research Institute in Great Falls
McLaughlin Research Institute
Posted at 9:22 AM, Jan 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-25 11:22:47-05

GREAT FALLS — The McLaughlin Research Institute for Biomedical Sciences in Great Falls has served a major role in biomedical research in Montana for nearly 70 years.

While much of their research has focused on using mouse models as a way to dissect the genetic basis of susceptibility to neurodegenerative diseases, they are on the path towards a much bigger goal, in the hopes that it will bring all sorts of benefits to the Treasure State. That goal is establishing one of the nation’s first rural clinical research centers, which will be aimed at expanding clinical research in neurodegenerative diseases.

McLaughlin Research Institute Assistant Professor, Tiffany Hensley-McBain stated, "There are hundreds of clinical trials enrolling in Alzheimer’s disease right now, and zero of them are recruiting in Montana. In fact, traditionally, only eight studies on Alzheimer’s disease have ever enrolled a Montanan."

McLaughlin Research Institute says the need for clinical research expansion in the state of Montana has become more important than ever. They noted that Montana has consistently ranked in the bottom 10% when it comes to participation and representation in clinical research nationwide.

They also mentioned that Montana has the sixth oldest population ratio in the nation. A little over 19 percent of our total population is over the age of 65.

McLaughlin Research Institute says due to the risk of neurodegenerative diseases increasing with age, promoting the expansion of science and medicine through clinical research that targets advancements in diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of neurodegenerative diseases is a priority concern.

Clinical Research Coordinator, Rebecca Brown stated, "Clinical trials are at the heart of all medical advances. They are a method by which people have access to the newest and best treatment. They also have the opportunity to bring a lot of knowledge to the community, and if we can bring in some clinical research on dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, I really think that we can provide a great benefit to our state.

In an effort to increase the inclusion and expansion of clinical research in Montana, McLaughlin Research Institute has launched a registry of potential participants for clinical research. This registry is open to any adults of any age or diagnosis. The purpose is to gain a list of potential participants for future research studies. The registry is referred to as "HERO" (Helping Expand Research Opportunities).

How does the HERO Registry work:

  • Your contact information is securely stored in a HIPAA - compliant database.
  • Minimal data is collected.
  • People may be contacted if qualified for a study, and there is no obligation to participate.
  • Any person of any age and health status is encouraged to register 

To learn more, contact McLaughlin Research Institute for Biomedical Science at 406-452-6208, or by clicking here.