May 2020: International Member Profile

Author: [AUTHOR] Published on 5/1/2020 12:00:00 AM

May 2020 GFS Ahmed
Ghada Fathi Sawi Ahmed, PhD, Clinical Pharmacology, AstraZeneca, Melbourne, United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has seen significant progress in adopting quantitative clinical pharmacology across research organizations including pharmaceutical/biotech research and development. With a steady increase in relevant training and employment opportunities, there is a growing recognition of the impact of model‐based approaches on drug development and UK medicine policy and regulations. However, clinical pharmacology training in the United Kingdom remains specialty‐oriented and physician‐focused. As a result, the workforce suffers a long‐standing shortage of scientists with broader training and industry awareness. Initiatives launched to address this need include academic‐industry alliances and the industry committee within the British Pharmacological Society (BPS). These initiatives share common goals of developing individuals with skills that bridge basic research and clinical interface and overcome the challenge of young professionals in the United Kingdom viewing this as an unattractive career path. Dr. Ahmed explains that research communities in the United Kingdom maintain a strong drive to collaborate internationally despite Brexit. Dr. Ahmed believes this is something that ASCPT can capitalize on with a global footprint that reaches out cross‐continentally and bridges the skill gap in clinical pharmacology and translational science.

Dr. Ahmed is a pharmacist by training. She went to school at Helwan University – Cairo and then earned her PhD in experimental and clinical pharmacology at the University of Minnesota. In her current role at AstraZeneca, Dr. Ahmed collaborates cross‐functionally to advance novel therapies in oncology areas of high unmet needs. Her interest in drug discovery and development was inspired by her school training and personal experience at a young age. When she was training at Minnesota, Dr. Ahmed had access to robust coursework in quantitative science and got invaluable insight from mentors that “opened her eyes” to how this can help with important clinical questions. Her own personal experience of having lost family members and dear friends to cancer and complications from treatment toxicities has given her a special appreciation for her role in identifying safe and effective doses for patients with serious diseases.

Dr. Ahmed’s work in clinical pharmacology helped with finding a safer and more effective dose for a new cancer treatment than the one historically tested in clinical trials was one of the more rewarding times of her career. Dr. Ahmed and her colleagues felt a real positive impact on patients’ lives, especially when investigators talked to how this has improved clinical and patient experience and allowed dosing with better benefit‐risk in a critically ill population. Indeed, this is a worthy cause to work for every day.

ASCPT’s family of journals feature cutting‐edge science in clinical pharmacology and therapeutics and are widely followed by colleagues in the field. Both Dr. Ahmed and her team have consulted CPT and CPT:PSP articles over the years and benefited from publications on oncology dose finding/optimization and how to achieve this with efficiency using novel trial design. The Annual Meeting connects the best scientists in the field and is an opportunity to hear from leading clinical pharmacologists about their recent experiences. It is also an excellent platform to network with US‐based and international groups and explore potential avenues for collaboration.

Dr. Ahmed became a member of ASCPT when she attended her first Annual Meeting and got a real feel for the scale of the global clinical pharmacology community. In addition, she learned about a range of clinical pharmacology applications to drug development and patient care, networked with scientists from academia, industry, and regulatory bodies and got helpful insight into her work from experienced colleagues. She also appreciates the ASCPT webinars and would like to note a recent one on one reviewer readiness and hearing from the editors on effective reviewing skills.

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