Bringing Patients to the Center of Clinical Trials in Metastatic Breast Cancer
Tania Small discusses our commitment to involving patients in our clinical trials.
Mar 13, 2017
By Tania Small, Senior Medical Director
Today, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new treatment option for women living with metastatic breast cancer – a milestone made possible by the hundreds of patients involved in the trial.
As a physician, I have seen firsthand that new treatments only become available due to the participation of patients over years of scientific research and development. That’s why my colleagues and I are indebted to these patients, their families and clinicians for their commitment to participating in clinical research and paving the way for others who may benefit in the future.
But patient involvement doesn’t have to be limited to just participating in the trials. As part of the breast cancer clinical development program at Novartis, our research team and patient advocacy colleagues sat together with a group of patients, nurses and patient advocates to receive candid feedback about the design of our trials. A few items in particular struck me during these conversations, for example the reaction to standard language used in our trial communications. We also learned about barriers to patient participation in clinical trials, due to eligibility criteria, language barriers and a lack of resources.
As a direct result of the valuable input we received, we ended up altering words and phrases in our breast cancer clinical program communications and materials. We also made eligibility criteria more inclusive, developed stronger multi-lingual tools and helped to provide essential resources for patients. It is very important to us to provide as much support as possible to the patients who valiantly and selflessly participate in our clinical trials. Without them, we would not be able to offer new treatments for difficult-to-treat diseases, or understand how to best support the patient experience.
I am proud to work at a place like Novartis where involving patients in our clinical research is becoming our standard as we continue to refine trial protocols to do our best for patients, a commitment we take very seriously.