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What is the Pfizer Clinical Research Unit (PCRU)?

Pfizer’s clinical research unit in Brussels is a leading research facility that conducts mostly phase 1 clinical trials. Pfizer has two clinical research units: one in New Haven (Connecticut, USA) and the other in Brussels, located on the university campus of Erasmus Hospital. The Brussels PCRU is a modern facility occupying the top two floors of the day hospital of Erasmus Hospital. It has a capacity of 72 beds and includes examination rooms, a laboratory, and a pharmacy.

Since it opened in 1992, the Brussels PCRU has enabled the development of many medicines, running more than 500 phase 1 clinical studies with the help of several thousand participants. The PCRU’s qualified staff of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, laboratory technicians, and administrative employees work together to run these clinical studies and, in so doing, ultimately help patients around the world.

The Brussels PCRU has also extended its activities to the nearby Centre Administratif Hospitalier (CAH) building, where the PCRU conducts clinical research screening and other outpatient study activities. Pfizer also operates a satellite site in Hasselt, on the Salvator campus of Jessa Hospital. This site provides participants with the option to attend outpatient visits in Hasselt rather than in Brussels.

The majority of clinical studies at the Brussels PCRU are conducted on behalf of study teams located in the United States: Groton (Connecticut), New York (New York), La Jolla (California), Cambridge (Massachusetts), Collegeville (Pennsylvania) and Boulder (Colorado), as well as in China and Japan.

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Why are healthy participants needed for many of the clinical trials that take place at the PCRU?

Healthy participants in these clinical trials help us understand how a study drug affects the body before patients with the condition are included. This is one way to assess a study drug’s safety before giving it to those who have a medical condition.

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What is the screening visit?

The screening visit is a key step to joining a clinical trial. At this visit, you will review the informed consent document with members of the study team at the PCRU. The informed consent document describes the details of the clinical trial, including what your rights and responsibilities would be as a participant, and any potential risks, so that you can decide whether you’d like to participate. The study team will answer any questions you may have.

If you decide to participate, you will sign the informed consent document and then undergo study-required tests, procedures, or assessments to confirm whether you meet the eligibility criteria for the study. These may include blood tests, an electrocardiogram (a test that uses sensors attached to the skin to check your heart’s rhythm and electrical activity), and vital signs.

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Can you describe a typical day for a clinical trial participant at the PCRU facility in Brussels?

A typical clinical trial at the Brussels PCRU may have busy days with lots of study procedures, as well as rest days with lots of downtime.

For a typical clinical trial at this facility, your busy day will likely start with an overnight fast. You’ll likely wake up early in the morning for pre-dose activities, which could include an electrocardiogram (a test that uses sensors attached to the skin to check your heart’s rhythm and electrical activity), vital signs, and a blood draw. The study doctor will review your results to confirm you may receive the study drug. Staff will administer your dose according to the study requirements – it could be a tablet or capsule by mouth, a liquid that you drink, an injection, a treatment applied to the skin, or other forms. After that, you’ll likely have procedures throughout the day and into the evening, such as blood draws and safety assessments, meals, and monitoring by the staff to see how you’re feeling.

On rest days, you might have a few morning procedures, but when you are not busy with study activities, you can enjoy free time within the PCRU. Within the research unit location, you’ll have access to internet, a large relaxation and reading area, and a multi-media room for entertainment and games.

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Will I have to stay at the PCRU facility the entire time that I’m participating in the clinical trial?

Each clinical study has its own requirements, so the answer to this depends on the study you are participating in. A participant may be required to stay overnight at the PCRU in Brussels for observation and study procedures. These details are provided in the informed consent document. You may also ask the study team any questions you may have.

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What clinical trials are available at the PCRU? How do I volunteer?

To explore clinical trials happening at the PCRU in Brussels, click Learn More. You may click on a study that interests you and submit the volunteering form at the bottom of the study’s webpage.

You may also call 0800 99 256 (+32 2 556 70 02 from abroad) or click here to see if you may qualify for our clinical research unit’s ongoing clinical trials. All studies have eligibility criteria that you must meet in order to participate. Our recruitment staff will identify what study or studies you might be eligible for.

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Will I be compensated for participating in a clinical trial at the PCRU?

Participants in clinical trials at the PCRU receive financial compensation for their participation. The amount depends on factors like length of the stay, total number of study visits, and the nature of the study procedures.

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What precautions are you taking at the facility in response to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Additional measures have been implemented to protect our clinical trial participants and our team from COVID-19. You will have a temperature check and rapid response COVID-19 test upon entry into our facility. We’ve also implemented mandatory mask use and signage to support physical distancing requirements in the PCRU. The unit has staffing at all hours and days of the week to clean and sanitize the facility. Click Learn More for more information on the precautions being taken, along with instructions about how to properly wear a mask.

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The eligibility criteria for studies at the PCRU include body mass index (BMI). How can I calculate my BMI?

Body mass index (BMI) is a value to measure the body mass of an adult.
Formula:
BMI = Body mass in kilograms divided by body height (squared)
For example, for an adult male weighing 93 kg and measuring 1,72 m :
93 kg / (1,72 m x 1,72 m) = 31,4
A BMI between 18,5 and 24,9 corresponds to a normal weight.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) also provides a calculator that uses your height and weight to determine your BMI. To calculate your BMI, click Learn More.

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