Research Assistant

 

Most of the remarkable advances in the improved cure rate for childhood cancer have occurred because of the advent of multi-centre, and now international, clinical trials of treatment. This allows the current most effective therapy for a particular childhood cancer to be compared to a slightly different experimental therapy which may prove even more effective. Successful participation in such trials requires assiduous recording of data, and reporting of that data to the national or international centres that are supervising each treatment trial.

Many of our patients are entered on national or international trials of therapy, to enable outcomes of treatment to be compared and continuously improved. 

The treatment of childhood cancer is complex, and requires administration of complicated regimes of cancer-fighting drugs known as chemotherapy for periods of up to two years. As many as nine different drugs may be involved. In order for the treatment to have the best chance of succeeding, it must be administered accurately, and the results recorded in department records for later analysis.

The Oncology Department has core responsibilities to not only provide the most effective care currently available to children with cancer and their families, but to also contribute actively to the development of more effective, efficient and less toxic forms of therapies. The Oncology Department at CHW is a member of multiple international co-operative groups whose mission is to improve the outcome of children with cancer. The mechanism by which new treatment strategies are introduced into front line clinical care depends entirely on Clinical Trials, where new compounds, strategies, technologies are rigorously assessed and evaluated. The design, implementation, overview and governance of Clinical Trials requires key staff with specialised skills who are able to extract, compile and analyse data to accurately assess effectiveness of treatments,. These individuals are Clinical Research Associates (CRA's) and are fundamental to the operation of any Clinical Trials Unit. Successful participation in such trials requires assiduous recording of data, and reporting of that data to national or international groups collation and dissemination of results.

Within our Oncology Department, the role of the CRA assumes an overarching responsibility that covers the initial preparation and presentation of proposed new studies to the Hospital's Scientific Advisory and Ethics Committees, the subsequent education of staff, electronic data collection and management, preparation of regular reports through the collection and submission of data to the central clinical trials office and for maintaining the integrity and quality of the data. They are responsible for co-ordinating and supplying the necessary information and resources to allow independent external review of our Unit's performances to ensure quality of clinical trials is of the highest standard. Credibility is crucial. Clinical Trial participation is in effect the best practice we can provide our patients. CRA's are the source of credibility in this complex and arduous and costly process.

The Kids with Cancer Foundation Clinical Research Associate will allow the Oncology Department to increase the number of children who can participate in clinical trials by expanding the number of clinical trials open in the Oncology Department. This allows improved access to research agents which show significant promise in the treatment of childhood cancer. The role of Clinical Trials in driving improvements in treatment is highlighted by the importance placed on this clinical activity by both the National Cancer Institute in the USA as well as our own NSW Cancer Institute.

Thank you very much for the amazing support.

Since 1999 Kids with Cancer Foundation Australia has provided over $600,000 to support Research Assistants & Associates at Westmead. 


We urge you to consider the children in a hospital near you.  Please donate, post cheques to: Kids with Cancer Foundation, PO Box 135 Westmead NSW 2145 or for credit cards: free-call any donations to 1800 255522, and we guarantee that 100% of these donations will be passed to families, or use this Donate now button or at the top of the page.

 

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