Instl Review Bds:Advocate Perspective

Sandra Batte speaks:

"This will not be a popular point of view with many of you, but like each of us, I bring my personal experience to this and I would like to share it. I serve on two Institutional Review Boards as a nonscientific member. One is a very large university that does major research and the other is a community hospital that probably opens one hundred clinical trials a year.

I am not employed by either of these institutions. I am a full voting member of both IRB's. I do primary reviews of trials with another assigned scientific member. My queries and concerns are always listened to and given full consideration. The most encouraging thing I have experienced over the last two years is that very often the other members of the committee share my concerns. We ask hard questions and demand thorough answers. How hard was it to join the IRB's? It was very easy; I asked!

There are enormous concerns about the safety and efficacy of clinical trials and we should all be vigilant, stay current and advocate for positive change. BUT...I do not believe we are fighting the evil empire. I am a 30 year and 14 year survivor of two different kinds of cancer.

I began treatment in the dark ages of chemotherapy and the changes I have seen over the last 30 years from the lay prospective are tantamount to stepping onto the moon. Do we need to do more? Of course. Can we make it better? Yes. Are there conflicts of interest? Yes. Should we view all research as suspect? NO!

Today's effective, less invasive treatments were yesterday's clinical trials."

Sandra Batte Lay Advocate/Breast Committee CALGB

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