The study nurse has a central role in the harmonization of the project. Whether it is to liaise with patients and their families, doctors, laboratory staff or various hospital departments as well as with pharmaceutical companies, she plays an essential role.
The Clinical Trials Center at the Department of Oncology of the University Children’s Hospital in Zürich contains Switzerland’s largest early phase clinical trials unit in pediatric oncology.
The unit offers the access to new drugs to children from Switzerland with relapsed and refractory cancer for whom there is no efficient classical therapy (such as chemotherapy) anymore.
Patients receive the drugs, which are not approved for children or not even commercially. Indeed, these drugs are only available within the setting of clinical studies. This is the case, for example, for the INFORM2 NivEnt clinical trial, which Zoé4life has supported financially.
These studies involve highly complex procedures with regards to organization.
- Following a specific study protocol
- Preparation of patient visits
- Conducting specialized exams
- Documentation of treatment, diagnostic results, state of the patient, and side effects.
Moreover, these treatments can be a challenge to the families. Espacially when it comes to organization of travels, housing, and following a complex schedule of visits. All these activities would not be possible without a study nurse. Last but not least she also provides emotional support to families in these difficult situations.
In summary, the study nurse is a key person when it comes to offering access to new drugs to children with cancer.