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Secretary Reinforces VA's Commitment to Research Safety and Veteran Focus
Date:7/9/2008

Research Has Set National Safety Standards, Benefits All Americans

WASHINGTON, July 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a congressional hearing Secretary of Veterans Affairs James B. Peake, M.D., discussed the safety and importance of the research programs operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as well as an absolute commitment to its patients, while expressing regret that even a single veteran would feel improperly treated or misused.

"VA has an outstanding research program, and has been innovative in its protection of human research subjects," Peake said before the House Committee on Veterans Affairs. "I am determined that VA will remain a leader in the protection of human research subjects and in veteran-centric research."

Peake pointed out VA researchers have played key roles in the development of breakthrough medical advancement such as the cardiac pacemaker, the CT scanner and improvements to artificial limbs. The first liver transplant was performed by a VA researcher. The Department's researchers have also conducted important trials on medication for tuberculosis, schizophrenia, high blood pressure, shingles and many other diseases that affect not only veterans but all Americans.

The VA secretary's remarks came in the wake of published reports in the Washington Times about a VA research program on smoking cessation involving veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Peake emphasized the research project was not a drug study, but an examination of the most effective site of care to treat heavy smokers who have PTSD, using medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

"Veterans with PTSD are more likely to be heavy smokers and are only half as likely to quit as are smokers without PTSD in the general population and smoking kills," Peake said.

None of the medications used in this study are investigational or experimental, all are FDA approved, and the drug that made headlines
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SOURCE U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
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