29 April 2020

Have you ever wondered what it’s really like taking part in a clinical trial? While the outcome might be focused on new treatments, for our team it is all about the patients. Pavithra Ilanko shares her experience as a new coordinator in the Clinical Trials Unit.

In a snapshot, what’s involved in a clinical trial for patients?

Once the patient has been screened for eligibility, treatment commences. That can either be here at the hospital or arranged for the patient to have at home. We’re then constantly checking in, monitoring patients and reporting back to the doctor. The trial might go for months or even years, then we follow-up after the trial to see how patients are going.

What outcome are you hoping for when you commence a new trial?

I hope our patients do well on trial, and that the results will lead to the treatment becoming registered and then available on the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme (PBS). What’s the feeling like for patients undergoing treatment? The illness and treatment can take a huge toll. I’ve been there when patients are being told they’ve got cancer and it’s very emotional. But there can also be a feeling of positivity on trial. A lot of people feel good about contributing to something that could help the community.

What makes a good clinical trials coordinator?

It’s about more than administering a drug or collecting data. We are the bridge between patient and doctor. Here at GMRF it’s all about supporting the individual. We get to know patients when they’re on trial and we want the best outcome for them.

Find out more about our Clinical Trials Unit