Together, we can.
This is the slogan for Clinical Trials Day. The day encourages all of us to raise our voices and celebrate clinical researchers and their super powers — and for all of us to elevate the bar — as the standards of clinical research can never be high enough.
As we look forward to celebrating Clinical Trials Day this upcoming Saturday, we took a moment to ask a few of our Slope employees that have prior clinical research experience to reflect on what brought them to the field of clinical research, what inspires them, and their hopes for the future of clinical trials.
What brought you to clinical research?
From 2014-2017, I did pre-clinical bench research in academic labs. When I had the opportunity to move into a clinical setting, I was excited to work more directly with patients, and on treatments that had a real chance of making it out of the research phase, and into people's lives.
Like many coordinators, I fell into it. I knew I wanted to do something meaningful but didn't have much direction. After a happenstance internship in my undergrad, I began to explore what even was a career in research — there wasn't much of a guide or a well-defined ladder to follow. A family connection led me to my first CRC role with a small research team at an eye clinic, and the rest is history.
Since I was a kid, I've always wanted to be involved in healthcare. I decided I wanted to be in the research industry after completing a co-op at an NCI-designated oncology research lab, which showed me the ripple effects research can have on the medical industry.
What inspires you about working in the clinical trials industry?
Every clinical researcher is working to help develop tomorrow's cures. Every clinical trial participant hopes to use their own biochemistry in order to help establish safety and efficacy standards for experimental treatments.
This inextricable bond between biotech institutions, research sites, and patients is equal parts powerful, and beautiful. We all need to work together in order to accomplish our individual goals!
I love challenges and solving problems! The complexity of the work, and the ever-changing day are what always kept me around.
Contributing to science, I hope to improve health.
What would you say to someone beginning their career in clinical research?
You can't pour from an empty cup: Clinical research requires time, space, and resources, and it's not a waste to advocate for that. You can do better work if you're not trying to run your department on 3 hours of sleep and a stack of post-it notes. Don't get bogged down in the little things: Patient safety and data integrity matter. Everything else is negotiable. You do the best you can to hit enrollment goals and efficiency metrics, but patients are paramount.
Do not be afraid to ask your mentors lots of questions! Clinical researchers are some of the friendliest people I have ever met and are always willing to share what they know. Ultimately, you will be able to repay the favor to the next generation of researchers, which is very rewarding.
Welcome to a wild, chaotic world full of way too many challenges. The frustrations you'll experience with inefficiency and redundancy are an opportunity to innovate and change — as the new generation of research begins, you have the chance to make things better, faster, and stronger.
Where do you see the future of clinical trials heading? What changes excite you?
I'm excited for new tools that make the trial data collection process easier for both site staff and patients, whether theyat be improvements in kit components or great technology solutions. I've also been excited to hear about recent efforts by the FDA to promote best practices throughout the industry, as patients deserve to have an excellent experience that matches their expectations.
There are big conversations happening about the accessibility of clinical trials. Most people are not available for regular, lengthy appointments during standard business hours, so I'm excited to see how wearable tech, home monitoring, and external clinical laboratories can be utilized by clinical trial teams to better serve more diverse trial populations.
I see the future of clinical trials heading towards decentralized, hopefully less burdensome, at-home interventions and measurements for patients.
Can you describe one of your proudest moments or best memories from working in clinical research?
Getting appreciation and flowers from a patient who achieved clinical remission from Leukemia was a special moment. He came alone to the lab for every infusion, and we drew his samples and conducted his study visits. Later, we found out he did not have a family, and we slowly became his family. He spent 8-12 hours a day in a chair with our whole team. He was a joy to work with, and he was the motivation we needed as a team to continue with the difficult protocols.
One of my proudest moments was enrolling a patient with a very advanced lung tumor in a complicated trial for a novel drug. Seeing the patient get better and better every day until his scans showed no sign of disease was a great source of happiness.
While working in rare disease clinical trials, I had the opportunity to see first-hand the impact that advanced medicine can have on some of our most vulnerable patients. The impact of these trials is no less than life-changing, and I am proud to have even a small part in this process.
Join Slope in celebrating Clinical Trials Day by thanking all the researchers on the front line of healthcare. To learn more about Clinical Trials Day and how to become involved, visit https://www.clinicaltrialsday.org/