My clinical trials career path has been a bit different than most. I spent several years working in pharmaceutical advertising/sales/marketing and then took a break to raise my children while working part time in marketing and sales, eventually running my own travel business while I took care of aging parents. When my oldest child was in 3rd grade, she ate a hamburger containing E. coli, and developed Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) and almost died, ending up on dialysis. We asked at the time whether any drugs existed to treat this infection and were saddened to find out that there was no medication for the treatment of this illness. Thankfully, after a few short months, she slowly regained her health, though so many children lose their lives to HUS.
I considered myself fortunate a short time later to be asked by my physician (who knew about my daughter) to take part in a clinical trial for an E. coli drug, and I eagerly accepted. This was my first exposure to the phases of clinical research/drug trials, and I was both fascinated by the process and most hopeful that my small part in the study would lead to saving someone else’s child someday. I participated in that study for a few years and still anticipate a treatment for this horrific illness.
Later on, my mother-in-law developed Alzheimer’s disease and my mother developed Multiple Myeloma. I have been a caretaker for both on and off ever since. When I was in the pharma industry earlier in my career, I worked on preliminary marketing for a revolutionary Alzheimer’s drug which was still in clinical trials and though it was never approved, I learned about how the FDA approvals process works and became intrigued by what was “in the pipeline” of the companies we worked with.
While caring for my maternal role models, I attended medical appointments and procedures with various physicians and entered into lengthy discussions regarding investigational drugs for the treatment of the two aforementioned diseases. I was thrilled to find out that many companies were working on emerging drugs for Multiple Myeloma especially – this gives my mom hope for other treatment options when her regimen eventually fails.
Once COVID derailed my travel business, I began rethinking my career path. While I missed my pharma advertising days, after my experience as the medical go-to person for my family, I realized I craved work that would directly affect patient outcomes. Instead of promoting drugs, I wanted to help bring them to market. I targeted the clinical trial market specifically after this personal involvement with loved ones in need of the best treatment possible. Through many hours spent researching investigational studies for Alzheimer’s and Multiple Myeloma, I understood not only how crucial that drug pipeline is, but also the critical importance of a documented safety profile for the drugs that make it to market and treat real world patients to improve their quality of life.
Through a friend, I learned about ICON’s innovative offerings, collaborative work environment and patient-centered focus. I realize this now first-hand in my daily work as a project coordinator and am honored to collaborate with project teams who truly have drug efficacy, as well as patient safety, in mind as they drive their studies forward. I didn’t mind starting over in a related but new field to me since this work is meaningful to me personally. Finally, I am extremely proud to tell my mother and mother-in-law that I am contributing to the development of new therapies that someday may safely enable countless patients, like themselves, to live longer and healthier lives.