As a Trial Manager, Phil Pollock is the central coordinator of the day-to-day running of a clinical trial and interacts with a number of different people. “You’ll liaise with doctors and research nurses in the hospitals running the trial, as well as the members of the Trial Management Group (doctors, research staff, and often a patient representative, who designed and oversee the running of the trial) and colleagues in the Clinical Trials Unit,” says Phil.
Key activities as a Trial Manager include developing or amending protocols and preparing reports (for regulatory or funding bodies), promoting the trial to ensure wide participation and good accrual of patients, and assisting with providing trial-specific training, information and advice to doctors, nurses and pharmacists in local hospitals. At times hospitals will be visited to ensure the protocol is being followed correctly by trial staff, and this may include visiting laboratories and pharmacies. In addition, monitoring of data for adverse events and clinical endpoints is performed throughout the trial.
Says Phil, “At the moment, we’re preparing for a regulatory inspection, so I’m busy ensuring that my documentation is up to date. Other times you will find yourself preparing reports or answering a query from a hospital regarding a patient who may be eligible for your trial”.
To become a Trial Manager, Phil says, “A science degree is very useful and normally mandatory along with some previous experience of clinical research”. Some Trial Managers come into the job after doing a PhD, but Phil recommends: “Getting experience as a Data Manager is ideal for becoming a good Trial Manager. You obtain an understanding of how the trials work, the data, and what’s involved”.
Phil also enjoys the opportunity to travel to national and international conferences. “That’s a nice thing,” he says, “because sometimes you’ll get the opportunity to see the results of a trial being presented which is great if it’s a trial you have been working hard on, and you’ll also get to find out what other research is going on in your field.”