No other interest can take precedence - a patient’s perspective on oncology drug development

My husband’s diagnosis with melanoma and our struggle to access effective therapy challenged what I had learnt about medical research. I have since founded a patient network, becoming avocal advocate for patient- centric drug development. Herein, I discuss some of the lessons I have learnt. 

I clearly remember the first lecture about evidence- based medicine I attended. I was a third- year medical student, and after 2 years of theoretical training I was now seeing my first patients. Patients were considerably harder to ‘read’ than textbooks and the realization that my deci-sions one day would have far- reaching consequences haunted me.

Scientific rigour in the form of blinded, placebo- controlled randomized clinical trials seemed to be the solution to my worries: I would be able to test whether treatments were actually as effective as hoped. The struc-tured approach would protect me from falling prey to my own biases and my patients would be safe! I was sold.

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