JAX-ASCENT seeks participants for its first clinical trial

A JAX-ASCENT staff member guides a patient volunteer through his physical assessment. People 60 and older are encouraged to join the center's patient registry.

The center is investigating a drug that addresses age-related muscle mass loss.

The Jacksonville Aging Studies Center, or JAX-ASCENT, is looking for adults 65 and older to take part in its first research study, a clinical trial addressing age-related muscle mass loss.

JAX-ASCENT, which opened in May on the UF Health Jacksonville campus, is one of the few sites chosen nationwide and across the world to test the safety and efficacy of a particular anti-sarcopenia drug that isn’t on the market yet. Participants will take the oral medication over 26 weeks and will be screened before, during and after on physical function and risk of mobility disability. Assessments include timed walking tests, knee extension tests and body mass measurements.  

This study is a double-blind, randomized control trial, which means neither the JAX-ASCENT providers nor the patient participants will know if they’re receiving the actual drug or a placebo.

“Sarcopenia is common among older adults and is associated with several adverse health outcomes,” said Jennifer Bowman, clinical research manager of JAX-ASCENT. “We’re pleased to have been selected to take part in a major clinical trial that is looking for ways to address it and help people maintain and regain strength.”

Joe Chehade, MD, a professor of medicine at the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville, is the lead investigator. He specializes in endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism. Co-investigators are Ravindra Maharaj, MD, an assistant professor of medicine who specializes in geriatric medicine, and Marco Pahor, PhD, director of the UF Institute on Aging in Gainesville.

More than 300 people will participate in the study across all sites, with JAX-ASCENT designated 20 slots. Pre-screening is conducted to determine if a person qualities for participation.

JAX-ASCENT registry

Names come from JAX-ASCENT’s ever-growing participant registry. Each year, the center wants to register 1,000 people — adults 60 and older who will receive information about all the research being conducted. If they qualify, they may be invited to take part in a variety of studies. There is no cost to participate and compensation may be provided, as well as transportation to and from the center, if necessary.

“We thank the registry members who are already participants and welcome others who would like to join,” Bowman said. “More studies will come on board, so sign up to learn about all of the great research happening at JAX-ASCENT.”

For more information about the sarcopenia clinical trial or to sign up for the registry, contact Bowman at or 904.244.4690.

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