MURDOCK Study starts enrollment Monday

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 12, 2009

By Emily Ford
KANNAPOLIS ó Duke University’s long-term medical research study based at the N.C. Research Campus will begin enrolling participants Monday.
Residents of Kannapolis and Cabarrus County who want to enroll can start the process by calling 877-673-2508, e-mailing or visiting
The study’s registry is expected to enroll 50,000 people over five years. Enrollment takes about an hour and includes giving a blood sample.
Duke named the study for Research Campus founder David Murdock, the billionaire owner of Dole Food Co., in 2007 after Murdock gave the school $35 million. The gift should fund the study for five years.
Leaders hope other funding sources including government grants will keep the study going for decades.
The MURDOCK Study, which stands for Measurement to Understand Reclassification of Disease Of Cabarrus/Kannapolis, aims to better understand chronic diseases by using new genetic tools and information from the registry.
Initially, scientists will search for causes and better treatment for heart disease, liver disease, arthritis and obesity. Eventually, they will include cancer and central nervous system disorders.
People who enroll in the registry are signing up for a general database, not a study of a particular disease, said Dr. Ashley Dunham, who directs the registry. Targeted studies will begin later this year.
The registry will provide a pool of 50,000 volunteers for researchers to call upon for more specific research.
Participants must agree to be contacted at least once a year and can opt for four times a year. Some enrollees will never do more than fill out an annual health questionnaire by mail, while others will become intimately involved with research.
The registry needs healthy as well as sick people, Dunham said.
The study has a list of more than 500 people waiting to enroll. They will receive phone calls next week to begin the process.
Enrollment sites, including the N.C. Research Campus, the Cabarrus Health Alliance in Kannapolis, the Community Free Clinic in Concord and several private practices in Concord, Kannapolis and Harrisburg will open throughout February and March.
Dunham said she hopes to eventually expand the registry to include Salisbury residents.