FluCamp has a diverse team, with roles varying from across the board. Every individual that works for FluCamp shares the same objective of providing the best service possible for our clinical trials.
This month’s blog has been dedicated to one of our employees, Golam Kabir, who is a Senior Study Physician and has been working at hVIVO for a year and is principal investigator for three current ongoing trials. He is also the Lead Physician for our volunteer screening process..
What are the main responsibilities in your current role?
My main responsibility as a Senior Study Physician is to oversee and plan for clinical trials.
There are several stages in a clinical trial, and I am involved in all of them as part of a team. My role is divided into two sections, pre-clinical trial and overseeing the clinical trials once they begin.
Pre-clinical Trial Stage
Before any trial commences, we must design the trial and check that we have the expertise and facilities to execute the trial to the highest and safest standards. This involves creating a protocol and submitting applications to the two regulatory bodies that oversee clinical trials, the research ethics committee and the MHRA (The Medicine and Healthcare Regulatory Authority). These are just some of the initial steps in clinical trials, however much more work goes on behind the scenes, done by our team members at FluCamp.
Overseeing Clinical Trials
During the trials, the most important part of my role is to keep the volunteers healthy and safe. Each trial is part of the development of a new treatment, there are always challenges involved, but the health and wellbeing of the volunteer is our utmost priority.
To ensure this is kept at the forefront, I help train staff on the details of each study, keeping them updated on any changes that might occur. We rely on excellent communication and clear documentation as well as excellent hygiene standards for all staff, volunteers, and visitors to make sure there is no damage to the integrity of the trial or its results.
Describe a typical day for you at FluCamp?
At FluCamp, every day is different, for a successful day, teamwork is crucial.
My day begins with team meetings, where we review our agenda for the day. We review the number of volunteers and ensure that we have enough staff to give every volunteer a positive experience. We also co-ordinate tasks between the front desk, admin, recruitment team, and clinical staff such as nurses and doctors. It is vital that everyone on the team knows their role for the day so the clinic runs smoothly.
My day in steps:
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Every volunteer we meet is different and that is the beauty of our job. I enjoy explaining scientific concepts in easily understandable terms and it is incredibly rewarding to let volunteers know the truly valuable contribution they are making towards medical developments for current and future generations. While our volunteers do enjoy their time in quarantine, it isn’t always easy, and to let them know the importance of the trial can really help them.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
One of the biggest challenges is ensuring the clinical trials run smoothly. This involves documenting everything – and doing so accurately.
Every parameter we document becomes data at the end of a clinical trial, and to ensure that data is meaningful and authentic, we must be very strict in conducting trials on time and according to the protocol.
How do you handle volunteers in the quarantine clinic?
The quarantine clinic is like an isolation centre – once a volunteer is in, they remain in their room all day and night (for about two weeks). We try to make sure volunteers are as happy and active as possible while we carry out the trial. We remain on hand at all stages while patients are in quarantine to ensure complete care for each volunteer.
If you could give volunteers entering quarantine one piece of advice, what would you say to them?
I would advise volunteers to make sure they bring enough to keep them entertained during the isolation period as this will make the time more enjoyable. I recommend items such as books, work or study material and mobile phone/laptops to keep in touch with friends and family.
Each quarantine room at our facilities are equipped with everything you need to relax, including a flat screen TV, PlayStation 3, WiFi and en-suite bathroom. For more information click here.
What would you say to somebody who is thinking of joining our FluCamp Trials but is still unsure?
Clinical trials are well-balanced, well-controlled and well-regulated. If the risks outweigh the benefits, or the risks were too large, a trial would simply not be approved. Volunteer health is the most important thing when conducting trials and we take every possible step to ensure this is protected.
The risks of adverse events are evaluated by the clinical trial team in advance, and these must be approved by the ethics committee and the MHRA (the regulatory authority of clinical trials) for a trial to begin. Additionally, if adverse events do occur during trials, physicians and nurses are always present on site to immediately address these.
Do you do follow-up meetings with volunteers? If so, what are the most common things they say to you about their experience?
Yes, we do follow-up meetings with volunteers to evaluate our service and to find out how they felt during the clinical trial. Volunteers often say how happy they were with their decision to be involved in the trial, and how pleased they were with the care they received during it.
We also often hear from volunteers who initially had worries about clinical trials but after taking part in the study would be happy to return for further ones, and to encourage family and friends to do the same, which is very encouraging to hear!
If you would like to find out more about our previous volunteers, click on our testimonials page here.