Clinical Research Physician
What is it like to be a Clinical Research Physician at MAC?
During my medical student days and clinical training, I did not get the chance to be involved in research environments and went down the path of training to be a General Practitioner. During my career I have undertaken a wide portfolio of work including A&E Clinical Assistant, GP Locum/Assistant, GP with a Special Interest in Substance Misuse, Forensic Medical Examiner and Section 12(2) Approved Doctor under the Mental Health Act. I found all these roles invigorating and rewarding in their own way, but as time went on I found the limited time in General Practice and demands on resources to engage in making a difference to people involved in the Criminal Justice System and Mental Health Services both stressful and frustrating.
I became aware that much ground-breaking research was performed within the drug industry and, as I investigated further, found myself increasingly attracted to a career in clinical research and development. Fifteen years ago I was asked to join a small privately owned Investigator Site initially as a contract screening physician for Consumer Research Studies (cosmetic, household and hygiene products skin patch testing, an exploratory Medical Device study for acne and many nutraceutical studies).
As the site evolved from a Consumer Research Centre into a Clinical Trial Site I became what I now know as a Clinical Research physician. I worked as a Sub-Investigator on a single drug development project supporting a Principal Investigator who had come briefly from the Pharmaceutical industry to undertake his Diploma in Pharmaceutical Medicine and I took on progressively more over the years becoming the only physician in the company taking on a Chief Investigator role for a worldwide vaccine study and even had a paper published in a journal as well as being a Principal Investigator for many studies in a wide range of therapeutic areas.
Joining MAC Clinical Research
In the past year I joined MAC Clinical Research as a Senior Clinical Research Physician and have rapidly integrated into a much larger organisation, recently taking on roles such as National Coordinating Investigator where I am again the named Chief Investigator taking responsibility for the conduct of a proposed research project in the UK, supervising the research effectively in the UK setting and am readily available to communicate with the Research Ethics Committee and other review bodies during the application process and, where necessary, during the conduct of the research, Principal Investigator responsible for a number of studies and Sub-Investigator supporting many studies in a wide range of therapeutic areas.
Since joining MAC I have had the opportunity to gain valuable support from both physician and non-physician colleagues in all company departments across both the Early and Late Phase units. I have also been able to share my experience and expertise with staff, enhancing patient safety and the quality systems to ensure that data produced for the development of individual drugs is of the highest standards.
Clinical Research physicians can get involved in all phases of drug development at MAC, providing clinical input to the overall strategy, feasibility, design and running of clinical trials on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes we get the opportunity to collaborate with world renowned investigators, responding to and investigating emerging safety and efficacy signals, and meeting with Regulatory agencies, Research Ethics Committees, Key-Opinion-Leaders and other clinical experts to contribute to the understanding of a drug's profile and future clinical trials as they progress through development. This all contributes to help understand disease processes and thus help to guide future drug discovery, to develop and validate disease biomarkers or models to assist with diagnosis and demonstrate relevant clinical effects in small exploratory trials in both healthy volunteers and patients.
Pharmaceutical medicine is an academic specialty and suits those with a keen eye for detail. Equally important is being able to develop excellent relationships with people both within and outside the organisation, to build trust, and to exert leadership skills. If you can achieve all these things, there are many exciting opportunities.
Despite the myths about working in the pharmaceutical industry being akin to moving over to the “dark side", I believe that pharmaceutical medicine is a diverse and challenging specialty at the cutting edge of science and business. There are numerous opportunities for forward thinking, open minded, and ethical individuals who will thrive in a business environment. I hope that the work I do during my career will benefit hundreds of thousands of patients around the world, by helping to bring innovative new treatments to market and by contributing to the evidence base that clinicians need to prescribe them safely.
Moreover, I am pleased that I continue to find my job challenging, intellectually stimulating, and rewarding and feel privileged to contribute to the development of new medicines, improving quality of life, with MAC Clinical Research.