28 Apr 2022

Meet Aachal Kotecha

Aachal Kotecha is a Clinical Scientist in Late Stage Development at Roche. Get to know Aachal below…

Education background?

Aachal gained a PhD in clinical medicine, but for her type of role you typically need an Undergraduate Science degree.

What does Aachal do?

In her daily role, she works with a wide team of scientists from within and outside of Roche, including leaders in the field. They work together to conduct clinical trials, which involves researchers trying to find new treatments for illnesses. She is part of the core clinical science team, where they design the trial to make sure they find what they are looking for.

When running the trial, she has to keep an eye on the data being collected to ensure it makes sense and that there is nothing worrying that could impact the patient’s wellbeing. It is very important for her to make sure the trial is safe. Once the trial ends, she is then responsible for interpreting the results.

If the trial has gone well, the data is submitted to an independent regulatory body. This is a separate organisation to Roche, such as the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). They review the study design, the results and safety aspects to check that the benefits of the new treatment are better than any risks that are present. If the treatment is approved, this can then be made available to patients.

Read more about Medicine on the Stemettes Zine >>

What does late stage development mean?

Clinical Trials are typically split into 3 phases:

Phase 1 – Make sure it’s safe in humans by testing on healthy volunteers.
Phase 2 – Investigating what dose is needed. This is done by testing in patients.
Phase 3 (Late stage) – How effective and safe is the trial treatment, these are typically larger trials,
looking at many patients with the disease.

In Phase 3, the new drug/treatment is compared to the current treatment available (the “standard-of-care”) to see if the new treatment is safer or more effective. For example, can the patient take the drug less often but have a better outcome?

What do you wish you knew at school?

She believes that you can do anything and not to worry too much about the future as the decisions you make at school do not define your entire career.

This article was written by Bethan Nugent from Roche.

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