Biologist, nurse, project manager, lab technician, patient… There is something for everyone in the field of pharmaceutical research. What does a day in this environment look like, ranging from preparation of a medicine to clinical trials? Melanie Pomerleau, senior director of quality assurance at Innovaderm Research, talks to us about her experience.
If Melanie Pomerleau could describe pharmaceutical research in two words, she would choose “passionate and diversified”.
From designing a new innovative drug to preparing a therapeutic procedure, there is no doubt that pharmaceutical research plays an essential role in our lives.
One day for researchers leads on to the next, but they do not necessarily resemble each other. The reason is quite simple: laboratories generally function by contract. This is the case for Innovaderm Research, the company where Melanie Pomerleau works, which focuses on clinical research in dermatology.
A long process
Before marketing a drug or product, there is a wide variety of steps to be taken. This is where the first researchers come into play. Everything begins with fundamental research.
“A cure is found, it is tested, we will see what happens and predict what will happen when it is used on or in the human body,” explains Melanie Pomerleau, who has more than 20 years experience in pharmaceutical research.
Then comes the preclinical phase. Products are tested on animals to observe the side effects. The research continues with the clinical phase, where assessments are ultimately carried out on humans. This whole process is spread over several years.
A beehive of activity
At all of these stages a wide variety of workers is called upon, according to the needs of a research project. For clinical research, here is the procedure:
“First of all a research protocol is established. We want to ensure that the quality of
the study’s results are assessed. There are people responsible to build relationships and launch a patient selection process. We are going to make sure everything functions in place for the study requested,” Melanie Pomerleau indicates.
In the heat of the action
Finding the perfect candidate is a task that can sometimes be complicated. “Depending on the toxicity of the product, it will be tested on people who have the targeted disease,” says the director.
Once recruitment has been completed, the clinical study participants are invited to spend a few hours, and sometimes a few days or even weeks, in the laboratory. On site, nurses administer the pharmaceutical products to be tested. They take blood tests that are then analyzed.
Ethics officers play an important role in clinical research.
They have to ensure that each study participant provides informed consent. The department of regulatory affairs ensures that the protocol is respected and manages the ethics committee.
That said, all these stages of pharmaceutical research are set to change significantly in the next few years due to advances in artificial intelligence technology… More to follow!