Barts CTU & Cancer Prevention CTU

Wolfson Institute 

I attended with David Collier who, after listening to the previous speakers, addressed those present and then introduced me to say a few words about my clinical trial. I recounted my experiences with some high-flying executives from the drug company who were trialling my study drug – Canakinumab. 

The top brass paid a visit to the William Harvey CRC during the course of the trial and were too nervous to say hello to me until they had the received the OK from head office in America. The permission took practically the whole morning to come through and they eventually met me in the corridor just as they were leaving. I found it quite amusing and they were very charming. I must confess to being a little baffled by their reticence to say who thought that talking to an ordinary little patient like me could be a problem for such a tough bunch of executives from such a huge company!

I told about the interactions between David, a letter from Professor Paul Ridker who is the head of Harvard Medical School. and myself.  I made a certain observation using an old English word to express my opinion on this letter. David subsequently met Paul Ridker and he told him of my comment on the letter and after a short deliberation and after a comment from one of his colleagues giving the American translation of the old English word. He said words to the effect “well that is actually quite correct”.  An example of a patient not being a passive participant in a trial but an active one able to understand what was going on? Prof Ridker is obviously a good-natured man.

I gave them a layman’s view of what the CANTOS study was about and the successful outcome. I also mentioned that I had been on other studies and after some discussion I was asked if I would join Professors Cuzick and Sasieni in judging the offerings from the teams in a “design a trial acronym and brand” session.

David had joined a team for the design and planning activity and I enjoyed myself observing the process in action before listening to presentations from the teams and joining Professors Cuzick and Sasieni to discuss the offerings. It would be fair to say that they all had merit and ideally elements of each one would be used but as we had to pick one winner we picked the Primrose brand..

When the winner was announced I commented that I had declared my interest before the judging — David was on that team and my doctor!  I assured everyone that this had absolutely nothing to do with his team winning. This was met with some good-natured banter and catcalls from those present — they could console themselves with the thought that their ideas were actually best. A most interesting and  enjoyable affair.

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