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Hi and Happy New Year from Dr. Bernie Eigl

January 9, 2013

Hi and Happy New Year,

My name is Bernie Eigl, and I’m really excited to be the blogger this month. I’d like to first thank the BC Cancer Foundation for providing this opportunity for some of the amazing people in our organization to talk about what they do and why, and how partners like the Foundation make this possible.

The fact that you are here reading this, and I am here writing this, means we care! I hope in the next few weeks to share some insight into the world of cancer clinical trials, and why this kind of research is not just good science, but also the highest aspiration of patient care. Ask yourself now what you think clinical research is, and then see if you have the same thoughts one month from now.

First, a little about me: I am a medical oncologist, and completed my oncology training and genitourinary fellowship in Vancouver. For the past seven years I’ve been working in Calgary, but have recently come back to Vancouver to take on a position as the Provincial Director of Systemic Therapy Clinical Trials (that’s a mouthful). The goal of this role is to increase the impact and activity of clinical trials for cancer patients in British Columbia, and hopefully over the next few weeks I’ll be able to convince you why this is such an important goal. In the clinic I see patients with genitourinary cancer (prostate, bladder, kidney, testicular cancers).

I’ve always considered myself blessed: I have a fantastic, supportive wife and family. I came to Canada as a child and know full well that we live in the best country in the world. I am lucky enough to work in a profession where I get to work with amazing people every day (patients and colleagues), learn from them, and often have a positive impact on them. I also confess to a selfish reason for doing what I do: instant gratification . . . in the basic sciences and in many medical specialties, delayed gratification is the order of the day as it can be years before a treatment or discovery benefits a living person. When a new medication benefits a patient with cancer, and I know that we would not have had access to this medication without a clinical trial, I derive instant gratification knowing we can make a difference. There are some impressive recent examples of trials that have provided significant benefit to men and women living with cancer – more on this later.

I am very excited to hear your comments and questions, and will do my best to respond in a timely manner. I look forward to our next encounter.