Puerto Rico Consortium for Clinical Investigation held its 5th Anniversary

Different advances in scientific development reported

May 3, 2021

With the attendance of recognized clinical research leaders, the Puerto Rico Consortium for Clinical Investigation (PRCCI) celebrated its fifth anniversary focusing on advances in the fight against COVID-19, and the local experience in clinical investigation. It also paid tribute to research sites in Puerto Rico and to collaborators in and off the Island.

Dr. Amarilys Silva-Boschetti, Pharm D, RPh, PRCCI executive director, underscored that clinical investigation provides new development opportunities for Puerto Rico, specialized jobs and new medical treatments to patients on the Island and offshore.

Dr. Alejandro Cané, MD, U.S. Medical Lead for Vaccines, Pfizer, said the company was able to cut down production time of one COVID-19 vial from 100 days to 13 days and is working to meet its new goal of producing 2.5 billion doses by the end of 2021, a 50% increase in comparison to originally planned. He said Pfizer is working on clinical studies with other groups, including pregnant women, immune-compromised and pediatric patients, to evaluate efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine in these populations.

Dr. Kenneth Ramos, MD, PhD., executive director of Texas A&M Institute of Biosciences and Technology and member of the PRCCI Board of Directors, explained that mobile applications, more accessible data and artificial intelligence algorithms are bolstering precision medicine, which results in greater benefits for sub-groups and the general population.

Dr. Álvaro Aranda, MD, a recognized pulmonologist who has carried out the largest number of COVID-19 studies as part of PRCCI network during the pandemic, urged more students to do their rotation in local research sites in order to promote “greater opportunities for the development of clinical studies.” Aranda is currently conducting clinical research at his Cardio-Pulmonary Research site in San Juan.

Meanwhile, Dr. Rafael Betancourt, MD, director and co-founder of the Puerto Rico Medical Research Center, praised the consistency of PRCCI work. He said that during the pandemic, the Consortium was instrumental in facilitating research and promoting the growth of clinical research, not just within the center he represents, but also in other sites as well.

“PRCCI’s work has been excellent and we appreciate the opportunity we have been given to participate in more clinical studies,” said Dr. Betancourt, referring to new investigation opportunities that began during the pandemic, including early tasks carried out online and remotely. “There was a very short period of readjustment and yet, the process of clinical investigation continued,” said the doctor.


Dr. Silva-Boschetti recognized the first five clinical research sites of Puerto Rico to join the PRCCI hub: Inspira Clinical Research and its president Dr. Alberto Varela; GCM Medical Group and its president and medical director Dr. Gregorio Cortés; FDI Clinical Research and its CEO, CSO and Bioanalitical Laboratory Director, Dr. José F. Rodríguez-Orengo; “Grupo Dermatológico de Carolina” and its chief investigator Dra. Alma M. Cruz and the Puerto Rico Renal Health and Research with its president Dr. Otegbola Ojo.

Other sites that were recognized for their performance were the Cardio Pulmonary Research site, headed by Dr. Aranda and the Puerto Rico Medical Research Center, co-directed by Dr. Betancourt and Dr. Luis Flores, both sites having shown significant growth during their first year with PRCCI.

Moreover, Dr. Silva-Boschetti thanked different collaborators at Yale University/Yale Center for Clinical Investigation, including its director Tesheia Johnson, as well as Alyssa Gateman, Linda Coleman and Kelly Anastacio. In the medical education field, she highlighted strategic collaborators Dr. Luis Samuel Abreu, PharmD, field medical director Puerto Rico of Pfizer and Dr. Renato Arocho, PharmD, senior director, Pfizer.

The event also honored the leadership of engineer Lucy Crespo, CEO of the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust, as well as PRCCI Board of Directors and its president, Dr. Lester Martínez, Dr. Amarilys Silva-Boschetti, and the entire PRCCI work team.

CEO Eng. Crespo emphasized PRCCI’s tireless work during these five years and gave her unconditional support to the organization’s efforts to continue strengthening Puerto Rico as a preferred location for clinical investigation and increasing the number of sites willing to join the PRCCI hub.

The 5th anniversary event offered 1.5 hours of continued medical education credits for physicians. For details, access https://cgr.21f.myftpupload.com.