Scientists like to do science. If you give them something to hypothesize, pipette, extract, and measure, they will be happy. And in Canada, we have some of the best scientists in the world. But there is room for improvement – especially in helping scientists with the career skills needed to guide their lab experiments into studies that are clinically relevant.
That is where BioCanRX can help. They provide research assistants, postdocs, graduate students, and technicians with the tools needed to make their science more clinically relevant for treating cancer.
Recently, we talked with Stéphanie Michaud, PhD, President and CEO of BioCanRx, about their organization.
Dr. Michaud said the mission of BioCanRx is to accelerate the development of translational science to practical clinical solutions. To that end, much of their efforts are focused on providing guidance for translational scientists.
“We take a holistic approach to teaching the researchers. It’s about informing our researchers about the full cycle for drug development.”
Real World Skills
BioCanRx offers a wide variety of training to help the scientists. “There are still issues around the world with regard to individuals designing experiments, reporting on data, and making decisions on how to interpret that data that is to go to the clinic,” stated Dr. Michaud. BioCanRx provides researchers with training on experimental design and how to look at the data to best inform them whether or not a therapeutic is a good candidate for further clinical development.
The organization also provides training in resume writing, interview skills, entrepreneurship, intellectual property, communications, and other ‘real world’ concepts that are not taught in the science curriculums.
Patient – Scientist Meetings
Dr. Michaud noted that one program they are especially proud of is one that brings patients and scientists together.
The training at those meetings is bidirectional. The researcher explains the science to patients so that the latter will have a better grasp of the science they are involved with, funding, or hearing about at their next conference. At the same time, the patient can provide researchers with a better understanding of the disease and the toll in takes on the patient – a toll that is not well documented in peer-reviewed research papers. Dr. Michaud said, “Hands down, it is the academic scholars that have benefited the most from this program. In terms of exposure, they never get to spend time with patients and the changes for them have been quite profound.” Dr. Michaud noted that the researchers come away from those meetings with new career or research goals. Many go back to their labs and tell their supervisors and colleagues that they also need to engage in patients more for the betterment of the research they are doing. That is especially true before deciding to start a clinical trial.
The patient-scientist meetings occur at BioCanRx’s Annual Meeting. The next one will be in Victoria BC, October 20 – 23, 2019.
For more information about BioCanRx and the ongoing training programs they have for researchers and patients, click here.
To read more examples of patients and advocates changing science, click here.