Cynthia Leach is the Clinical Trial Manager at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital’s Center for Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorders. Cynthia is in charge of all of the clinical trial protocols at the hospital; she enrolls patients, manages data collected through the clinical trials, looks for toxicities and adverse effects to treatment, and works with each department to ensure that the clinical trials are managed properly. CureSearch recently talked to Cynthia to learn more about what her role entails.
Q: What lead you to pediatric oncology?
A: During my college internship, I was able to work on the children’s oncology floor and knew then that I wanted to do all I could to help make life better for the kids who came in for treatment. It’s been a journey these past few years, with ups and downs, but I can’t imagine being anywhere else.
Q: Tell me about a typical day at the hospital.
A:Every day is a little different. Usually, I attend a morning meeting, at which we discuss each child that is coming in that day. These meetings are a forum for the medical team to prepare for what each patient will need and make sure that each department is on the same page. Being the clinical trials manager requires that I work with patients and their families to make sure that they are on track with their treatment protocols. I also collect samples from different procedures for laboratory analysis to show the progress of the treatment.
Q:What is your favorite part of your job?
A: I love working with children and their families. Being able to walk into the play room and get caught up interacting with a child makes the work we do much more personal. Since I work on outpatient floor on the oncology ward, I get to know some of the children on the clinical trials very well. It’s great when everything goes well and we can successfully treat these kids and they get to go to kindergarten, get their drivers licenses, or go to prom.
Q: What is the hardest part of your job?
A:The hardest part of my job is when treatment isn’t successful. I want to do as much as I can for the children we treat, but sometimes it isn’t enough. I know that no matter the outcome, the work we all do helps to create better treatments for children with cancer.