Stéphane PROVENT

    Clinical research assistant collaborating with The PIONeeR Project

Centre Hospitalier, Clinique Maymard, Bastia

“Projects like PIONeeR allow us to contribute to the understanding of resistance to immunotherapy while opening clinical research to patients in Corsica, who, until recently, had no choice other than to fly to Marseille or Paris for such opportunities.”

After my training as a biochemist specialized in immunology between Luminy in Marseille and the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, I decided to follow a Clinical Research Assistant (CRA) certification at Hôpital Lariboisière, and joined Aster-Cephac for my first job as a CRA. I was then hired by Hôpital Tenon, in Paris, to start their clinical research unit. 17 years later, I decided it was time for me to return to my roots, so I settled back in Corsica, where I initially volunteered as CRA at the Clinique Maymard in Bastia. I finally joined the Centre Hospitalier (CH) of Bastia in 2020, where my job has been to start a clinical research unit, directed by  Dr. Thomas Darnaud.

I work as a CRA for The PIONeeR Project’s biomarker study both at the Clinique Maymard as a volunteer with Dr. Ahmed Frikha, and at the CH of Bastia with Dr. Pierre Bory. My role is to support patients through their participation to the study and to manage the logistics associated with sample handling. It all starts at the medical appointment during which the oncologist explains the study and its protocol; it is important for me to be present at these appointments to build a trustful relationship with patients as they decide to engage in a clinical research protocol for which they need to understand the purpose. I take them to the day clinic for sample collection, recover the tubes containing the samples, coordinate their shipment to Marseille for analysis and process the patient’s data for transmission to the project coordinator.

In my career as a CRA, I witnessed the great benefits for cancer patients of the first targeted therapies (Herceptin, and then Erbitux), and then of course of immune checkpoint inhibitors. But because many patients fail to respond to these treatments, we need to further our understanding of the biological complexity of cancers, to anticipate which patients will respond, and to offer more appropriate alternatives to those who will not. This is why it is extremely important for me to participate in clinical research projects such as PIONeeR, contributing to the understanding of the resistance to immunotherapy, while also opening clinical research to patients in Corsica, who, until recently, had no choice other than to fly to Marseille or Paris for such opportunities.

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