Friday, September 6, 2013

“What does a Clinical Trial Coordinator do?”

While this blog may not be the most exciting, there are many more exciting blogs to come about clinical trials, our clinical trial patient success stories and interesting things happening in the comparative oncology arena! Comparative oncology?? If that’s what you’re thinking right now…. Here’s a fun homework assignment: search the internet (or Google “Dr. Gerald Post”)and then leave a comment on what you understood it to be. Anyone that comments regarding “comparative oncology” will receive a free gift from The VCC!  If that’s too much work and you hate free gifts, you can be in suspense until a future blog when I discuss it! J

Back to the “What does a Clinical Trial Coordinator do?” question. Who knows? Maybe someone out there will decide this is what they want to do! My job is to manage our clinical trials from start to finish. This process begins with informing our area veterinarians that a new trial is open and which types of cancers and patients are eligible (mailings, faxes, emails and calls). Once that happens, calls and emails come in from around the country (even Mexico!) to inquire about pet eligibility. 

Working closely with the doctors at The VCC, we determine which patients might benefit from the study and we begin a screening and enrollment process. If a patient passes all screening tests, they are officially enrolled. Many studies even pay for those screening tests to be done on the patient. Once a patient is enrolled, it is my job to oversee all of the study drug administrations, accurate documentation (very important when a drug is trying to get approved), side effects, lab work, ensuring that the protocol is strictly followed, close communications with ACI (Animal Clinical Investigations), VCC oncologists, and the pet owner. 

Each individual patient is monitored closely and if necessary, for the well-being of the patient, he/she may be withdrawn by our oncologist, by the study sponsor or by the owner at any time. While we are all serious about the data that we gather from the trials, our first priority is always the health and well-being of each patient. We will never compromise on what is best for our patients, so no need to worry about these beloved pets being “guinea pigs” or “lab rats”! We treat each patient as if it was our own family member and that never changes – clinical trial or not! There you have it. 

That’s the broad overview of what a Clinical Trial Coordinator at The VCC does. The truth is, it’s so much more and I hope you’re starting to catch a glimpse of why I love my job! As an example, my next blog will highlight a clinical trial patient from a few years ago. Even after Kobi passed away, his family was very excited to write a “Success Story” about his journey through a clinical trial. Check back soon for that story!
Maria Salas

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