Cancer Clinical Trials - A Collaborative Approach
Senior Clinical Research Nurse Deborah Lehrer coordinates care across several subspecialties for patients enrolled in cancer clinical trials. She explains, “When you enroll in a clinical trial, your care is managed by a team of physicians, nurses and coordinators who follow you closely every step of the way.” Debby collaborates with oncologists, surgeons, radiologists and other research personnel to ensure that every detail about a patient’s care is addressed from all angles.
Debby marvels at the advances she has seen in more than thirty years as a research nurse at Mount Sinai. “The drugs that we are using today were in clinical trials when I began my career in Clinical Research. It is absolutely wonderful to look back and see the progress we have made in cancer care due to research.”
Since beginning her career as an oncology nurse in 1982, Debby has seen patients become more actively engaged in their treatment. “It’s is rewarding to see the change in perception of clinical trials over the years. Patients are now more educated and come to Mount Sinai seeking cutting edge treatments made available in a clinical trial,” she says. “Patients who come to us now are very well-informed.”
Inspired by Patients
“What I find most gratifying is the spirit of the people who enroll in clinical trials,” Debby says. “How they give of themselves, and how they look at the next generation is inspiring.” Debby recalls working with Eliana, a patient of Dr. Kerin Adelson’s who was involved in two clinical trials at Mount Sinai (Eliana’s story can be found here). “Eliana is so full of life and such a lovely person. She was so eager to participate in research, not just for the potential benefit to herself, but also for any benefit it could provide others in the future."
“It’s a very exciting time as new therapies become available in the context of clinical trials. We offer our patients a gold standard and the opportunity to have perhaps something better than the gold standard,” says Debby. She explains, “It is only because people volunteer for clinical trials that we’ve gotten to the point where we are now. We need patients to participate in research in order to keep moving forward.”