The arena of public disclosure and access to individual patient level data from clinical trials continues to generate a lot of discussion. Given the upcoming March for Science this topic seems more relevant than ever. I highlighted some updates on the state of the field in my recent paper: “Data Access and Sharing: Are we being transparent about clinical research? Let’s do what’s right for patients” published in the Annals of Oncology April 5.
In addition, I had the pleasure of being invited by the editor of the New England Journal of Medicine to attend a two-day symposium on the topic the same week. There, data science experts and patients discussed the imperatives for sharing as well as some of the logistical and strategic issues involved in the effort. The drive for transparency in society is alive and well and the need in medical research is all the more important given the stakes for the patients who risked their lives in the trials and for all patients whose lives depend on the results of our research efforts. I will be giving numerous invited lectures on the topic all over the country this year and will keep you posted on new developments.
There has much that has been written about “truth” recently. As a scientist, I want to reiterate that “truth” to me lies in science, the scientific method, and objective data. That principle is what I have dedicated my professional life to and is an apolitical view. This philosophy was driven home to me just the other day when Dr. Mike Klag, a friend and colleague who also happens to be the Dean of the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins posted this article:
Do not let the title mislead you as this is balanced and apolitical advice for our government on 10 critical areas of public health. As usual Mike has focused on key issues and reminded us that when all the rhetoric is washed aside we are all potential patients and lack of attention to data and science benefits no one.
For the sake of our own and our family’s health, let us please let the data and evidence speak for themselves and take us wherever that leads.