Dr. Christopher Chitambar on clinical trials and the CTO
Christopher R. Chitambar, MD FACP, Professor of Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin, is a member of the Cancer Cell Biology Research Program at the MCW Cancer Center.
Why are clinical trials so important to MCW and the community?
What separates an academic institution from the rest of the world is its research. Other nonacademic facilities may have excellent physicians who treat cancer, but what they lack is the ability to develop and conduct high impact research.
Advances in cancer treatment are achieved through clinical trials. However, it must be good clinical research, meaning that the trial is well designed and properly structured with the right population of patients so that the results yield sound data.
How does a Clinical Trials Office support good clinical research?
To do good clinical research, you need an infrastructure, a central body, so that the left hand knows what the right hand is doing. This is what the Clinical Trial Office provides; standardized methods, support with consistent trial design, knowledge of other trials, and access to a larger community network.
How will the CTO benefit investigators at MCW?
Cancer treatment is a multi-disciplinary approach, but often each discipline operates in its own orbit. The Clinical Trials Office brings all of these pieces together under one roof. This provides researchers with a way to share ideas and receive support, which is very helpful for junior faculty who are just starting their research careers as well as for more experienced clinical investigators.
What has your experience been so far?
My personal experience with the CTO has been excellent. They are supporting a study of mine right now, and it has been very helpful to have that structure in place to work with me and help me with patient recruitment, consenting, and data management. They have processes in place to do these things well, and that means I don’t have to, for example, find a data manager to assist with my study. It’s all very helpful and will improve all trials at MCW.