There's a new facility in the Mahoning Valley designed to lead groundbreaing clinical research in the world of dermatology.

It's called Optima Research and is operating in partnership with Advanced Dermatology and Skin Care Center, a local practice that's been in businesss more than 20 years.

"This is a clinical research facility," Dr. Patrick Shannon, Co-Founder of Advanced Dermatology said. "It's a place where dermatology patients will come to be involved in trials of new medications in the dermatology world.

Dr. Patrick Shannon will be the lead investigator. He says this is a one-of-a-kind facility in our area.

"It's really the only place like it between Cleveland and Pittsburgh, so we don't have any facilities like this in this area," Dr. Shannon said. "It's a great opportunity for people here to be involved in some of that cutting edge stuff."

Patients can take part in clinical trials on new medications for the treatment of any number of conditions including eczema and psoriasis. You don't need a doctor's referral, it's open to anyone dealing with dermatology issues.

"Some of these people that have rare diseases for which there is no current treatment or common things where the current things are not adequate say, so there really is a big swath of people that would fit into these trials," Dr. Shannon said.

Dr. Shannon says safety is a top priority. The medications will all have had safety studies and patients will go through a rigorous screening process.

"We screen everyone before they get enrolled in the trial to be sure they have the condition that they're treating, to be sure they have it to the degree it has to be, to make sure all the health boxes get checked so to speak so it's a safety thing on the front side, so there is a lot of time spent on the screening part," Dr. Shannon said. "Everything is monitored incredibly closely. We draw blood here at times, we are doing EKG's at times, we're doing X-rays at times, I mean we are very, very cautious as we have to be with these new medications."

The facility is located at 1039 Boardman-Canfield Rd, Building B, Suite B, in Boardman.

Optima will also advertise for the clinical trials and some could even get paid to take part.

"What we feel good about here at Advanced Dermatology is it's really an expansion of what we've been doing for twenty years here, we've been treating surgical and medical problems for that period, here's a chance for us to get into the research side of it, which we've never done before and so we feel like we have a lot of people, even in this practice who can benefit from that addition, so we're excited to offer that."