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Two Tufts MC Research Studies are being recognized in 2018 Clinical Research Forum Top Ten

The Clinical Research (CR) Forum recently announced the important and groundbreaking clinical research studies that will be recognized at the 2018 Top Ten Clinical Research Achievement Awards at the National Press Club in Washington, DC on April 18.

Two Tufts Medical Center studies were recognized as awardees:

  • Effect of Intra-articular Triamcinolone vs Saline on Knee Cartilage Volume and Pain,” led by Timothy E. McAlindon, MD, MPH, Chief of the Division of Rheumatology
  • Long-Term Outcomes of Patent Foramen Ovale Closure or Medical Therapy after Stroke,” led by David E. Thaler, MD, PhD, FAHA, Neurologist-in-Chief

Timothy McAlindon, MD is a rheumatologist at Tufts Medical Center.Dr. McAlindon's study

Dr. McAlindon’s study was conducted to determine if corticosteroid injections administered to knee osteoarthritis patients every three months for two years would reduce cartilage damage and benefit pain and functional ability, as well as learn whether the injections would damage joint structures. Dr. McAlindon’s team enrolled 140 patients for the study; half received the steroid intervention and half received a placebo injection.

“What we found there was no benefit for receiving the corticosteroid injection in regards to pain or physical function, and in fact, the group who got the corticosteroid injections exhibited more cartilage loss,” said Dr. McAlindon. “Overall, this study does not support the use of repeated corticosteroid injections for treating osteoarthritis of the knee joint.”

David Thaler, MD is a neurologist at Tufts Medical Center in Boston.Dr. Thaler's study

Dr. Thaler studied a specific stroke mechanism that typically happens in younger people, related to a hole in the heart known as a Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO). His team randomized 1,000 patients; some were treated by implanting a small device into the heart to close the hole, while others were treated with medical therapy such as blood-thinning medication and risk factor modification.

“We found that the benefit for stroke prevention, and in particular for preventing the kind of stroke related to PFO, was greater in the device group,” said Dr. Thaler. “This led to the FDA approval of the first device indicated for stroke prevention in patients with stroke and PFO.”

Selected among the top ten

Following a nationwide call for nominations, Dr. McAlindon and Dr. Thaler’s studies were among the ten selected by the CR Forum Board of Directors based on the degree of innovation and novelty involved in the advancement of science; contribution to the understanding of human disease and/or physiology; and potential impact upon the diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of disease. 

“This year, we were gratified to see a tremendous increase in nominations, and the level of scientific rigor, quality, and innovation was truly outstanding,” said Harry P. Selker, MD, MSPH, Chair of the CR Forum Board of Directors. “It was a very difficult decision-making process, but as a result, we can say with confidence that these ten studies are truly remarkable.”

On April 18, Drs. McAlindon and Thaler will join their fellow awardees for a gala dinner and reception at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. 

Awardees will have the opportunity to meet with policymakers the day after the ceremony to discuss their findings and the critical role of federal funding for clinical research.

About Tufts Medical Center and Tufts Children's Hospital
Tufts Medical Center is an exceptional, not-for-profit, 415-bed academic medical center that is home to both a full-service hospital for adults and Tufts Children's Hospital. Conveniently located in downtown Boston, the Medical Center is the principal teaching hospital for Tufts University School of Medicine. Tufts Children's Hospital is the full-service children's hospital of Tufts Medical Center and the principal pediatric teaching hospital of Tufts University School of Medicine. Tufts Medical Center is affiliated with the New England Quality Care Alliance, a network of more than 1,800 physicians throughout Eastern Massachusetts. For more information, please visit

About the Clinical Research Forum
The mission of the Clinical Research Forum is to provide leadership to the national and clinical translational research enterprise and promote understanding and support for clinical research and its impact on health and healthcare. For more information, visit

About the Top Ten Clinical Research Achievement Award
Recognizing the need to celebrate our nation's clinical research accomplishments that involve both innovation and impact on human disease, the Clinical Research Forum conducts an annual competition to determine the ten outstanding research accomplishments in the United States. These major research advances represent a portion of the annual return on the nation's investment in the health and future welfare of its citizens.