An update from Merck-AGITG Clinical Research Fellow Dr David Lau

Pictured: Dr David Lau at his Poster presentation for the POLEM trial at the ASCO 2019 Annual Meeting.

Dr David Lau was awarded the Merck-AGITG Clinical Research Fellowship in 2017. He is now ten months into his fellowship at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London. “The fellowship at the Royal Marsden GI unit has been fantastic,” he says. “It’s been enthralling learning a variety of clinical research methods.”

David has been involved with and led a number of clinical trials throughout his fellowship. He is the trial physician for POLEM: Avelumab plus fluoropyrimidine-based chemotherapy as adjuvant treatment for stage III dMMR or POLE exonuclease domain mutant colon cancer – a phase III randomised study. POLEM is testing the addition of immunotherapy to adjuvant chemotherapy to see if cure rates can be improved in this disease. He has been responsible for trial management, site initiation visits, the preparation of protocol amendments and pharmacovigilance. He presented POLEM at the ASCO Annual Meeting 2019 and NCRI Colorectal CSG Trials Meeting in London.

“It’s been quite a busy trial and I’ve learned a lot form running this trial and opening up centres across the UK,” David says. “I never knew there would be so much to learn about data management and protocol writing.”

He has also been involved in leading PaC-MAn, A Prospective Translational Tissue Collection Study in Early and Advanced Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma and Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumours to Enable Further Disease Characterisation and the Development of Potential Predictive and Progrnostic biomarkers. In this study he has been responsible for the collection of blood, tissue, stool, and saliva for molecular characterisation. He has also been involved in the setup and trial management, and the preparation of protocol amendments.

David has also been responsible for trial setup and recruitment for ANCHOR, POLAR A, POLAR M and ONCG100, and for pharmacovigilance for ESPAC 4.

“The experience has been quite an eye opener and I’ve learned skills that will be invaluable to my practice in Australia,” David says.

The next Merck-AGITG Clinical Research Fellowship will be awarded in 2020. More details on the application process will be released soon.