Meet Jamie Holloway
Jamie Holloway is a both a scientist and a survivor, earning her PhD in tumor biology from Georgetown University a few years before her own breast cancer diagnosis. Now living with no evidence of disease after treatment for early stage triple negative breast cancer, she bridges the gap between scientists and researchers as a Precision Medicine Advocate for Cure Forward and as the Patient Advocate for the Metastatic Breast Cancer Project at the Broad Institute. She works with researchers as part of the Georgetown Breast Cancer Advocates and writes about her personal experience with cancer on her blog, Run Lipstick Chemo, and as a contributor to the Cure Magazine community.
Jamie joined the Cure Forward Precision Medicine Advocates Program in July 2016.
JAMIE’S THOUGHTS ON THE CHALLENGE OF CLINICAL TRIAL ENROLLMENT:
I know that finding a clinical trial can be difficult. Most patients rely entirely on the suggestion of their oncologist, and without an oncologist who is very diligent and well versed in the clinical trials in their specific cancer– or even subtype– many patients won’t know a trial is even an option. If it’s hard for an oncologist to keep up and search out the options, it’s not something that most cancer patients will find easily at the end of a single google search. But what bothers me more is the patients who want desperately to be on a trial and have found one that fits their disease type, but don’t qualify because of a long list of exclusionary criteria. I know trials are designed to facilitate the approval process, and including heavily pretreated patients, patients with many other ailments, or patients with brain metastases, for example, might muddy the waters and make it harder to be sure that any activity or adverse effects are solely because of the investigational drug. Still, the vast majority of patients who will eventually be prescribed the drug don’t look like the population in which it was approved, so it is important to know how the “average” patient will react to the drug. In addition, excluding so many patients from a trial also prevents some very sick patients from getting drugs that could extend their lives. Finding a way to include more “real world patients” in trials would have a positive impact on both the scientific and clinical cancer communities. I also really like the model of the NCI match trial and some other pharma-designed basket trials that make it easy for community hospitals to become a trial site, even if they have only one patient who qualifies for a trial. Trials like this will reduce geographic barriers that many encounter when they live too far from a major academic cancer center