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Saint Mary’s alumna coordinates transplant trials

| Tuesday, October 4, 2016

As an undergraduate at Saint Mary’s, Charlotte Brown, class of 2013, studied biology, chemistry and math. Now three years after graduation, Brown is working at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, a cancer treatment and research center in Detroit where she focuses on coordinating clinical trials for the Bone Marrow Transplant department (BMT).

Brown said she works with sponsors and physicians to help make sure everything is done within the Good Clinical Practice guidelines — an international ethical and scientific quality standard for trials involving human subjects — and protocols of the organization.

“We handle protocols ranging from new chemotherapy drugs, [graft versus host disease] prophylaxis and treatment, to alternative sources for the transplant themselves,” Brown said.

According to the Center’s website, the Karmanos Cancer Institute is one of the 47 comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The center is specifically dedicated to helping patients fight cancer, conducting more than 800 cancer programs and clinical trials a year.

According to the website, “The Karmanos Cancer Institute is a unique, integrated center of research, patient care and education, dedicated to the prevention, early detection, treatment and eventual eradication of cancer.”

Brown said she was working at a pharmaceutical company with animals, but someone recommended she work in clinical research instead. Brown said as a clinical research coordinator, she has the opportunity to be more engaged in saving lives through new research.

“I really enjoy working at Karmanos,” she said. “It is awesome to be a part of an NCI-designated Cancer Institute and enjoy working with such talented physicians and staff. I enjoy being part of a dynamic field — such as BMT — that’s always changing.”

Brown said she took the talent and drive of other women in the Saint Mary’s biology programs for granted while she was in school. She said she realized she was motivated by the other women in her classes and she wishes she could experience her time at the College again.

“Saint Mary’s did a phenomenal job of preparing me to enter the job force,” she said. “Completing the senior research project gave me a great platform to market myself to future employers and then it just took that first foot in the door to begin my career.

“Saint Mary’s is like a family you never fully leave behind.”

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