PMWC 2017 at Duke Co-Chair Ralph Snyderman, MD, introduced the two panelists for a discussion of “Increasing Patient Access to Investigational Drugs,” as the two leading people in the country working to make such drugs available to patients, and noting that for patients this is perhaps the best of times and the worst of times—best in that we are learning so much so rapidly and worst due to the difficulty of patients gaining access to potentially helpful drugs. One panelist was Ellen V. Sigal (photo), PhD, Founder of Friends of Cancer Research (https://www.focr.org/), an organization that has been instrumental in the creation and implementation of policies ensuring patients receive the best treatments in the fastest and safest way possible. Dr. Sigal introduced herself by noting that her PhD is actually in history and she had worked as a real-estate developer until her sister was diagnosed with breast cancer and died two days after receiving a bone marrow transplant. Then, Dr. Sigel began her unstinting work to help cancer patients. Dr. Sigal is Vice Chair, and currently Acting Chair, of the Inaugural Board of Directors of the Reagan-Udall Foundation (http://www.reaganudall.org/), which was designed to be a vehicle for bringing an array of resources and perspectives to bear on high-priority FDA regulatory science projects. The foundation fosters collaborations between patient groups, industry, academia, and FDA scientists to design and conduct regulatory science research.
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