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Our Fight Against Tuberculosis: Clinical Trials With Experienced Teams


Tuberculosis (TB) is the leading infectious killer in the world and is caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB). One-third of the world’s population is thought to be infected with TB. Each year millions of people are diagnosed with TB and receive three or four antibiotics for six to nine months to treat the disease. Approximately 1.3 million die from the disease, mainly due to poor access to treatments for TB.

The PPD™ clinical research business of Thermo Fisher Scientific actively works on global TB clinical trials because its experience fits clients’ needs. For example, we have lab monitoring experience for TB and can offer a one-team, global approach. Our team is personally motivated and committed to improve TB treatments that will directly impact the lives of many patients.

Committed to TB clinical research

Georgette Plemper van Balen, senior project manager, project management, explains that she works in clinical research to make a difference to patients who can be overwhelmed by this disease.

“A new treatment regimen can have a huge impact globally. With all its challenges, TB is very close to my heart because TB hits most often people who are already socio-economically challenged,” says Plemper van Balen. “I like the specific aspects that are included in the treatment management of a patient with TB, such as TB culturing and resistance check of the bacterium involved, as well as the need for close follow-up on treatment compliance.”

When she was a project manager for the Dutch unit of the PanACEA consortium, Plemper van Balen became familiar with the most important TB sites in Africa and their site staff.

“After the end of my EU-funded contract of five years as project manager for the PanACEA consortium, I personally chose PPD,” says Plemper van Balen. “I feel PPD offers me the most optimal setting to combine clinical research expertise with my desire to contribute in the battle against TB.”

Skilled in public health projects

Karen McCarthy, senior director, project management, views TB therapies from the perspective of having spent 25 years focused on public health clinical development.

“I came to PPD having successfully developed and licensed novel vaccines to address unmet medical needs,” says McCarthy. “I enjoy the opportunity to apply the experience I have gained with the challenge of working on projects in areas of unmet medical need, to benefit science and society while ensuring the commercial viability of such projects.”

McCarthy believes it is imperative that this type of research is conducted with the expertise and resources available at the PPD clinical research business of Thermo Fisher Scientific to protect the scientific and ethical principles of clinical research that motivate her and her colleagues who share this work ethic and passion in all we do on behalf of the company and its clients.

Karen McCarthy is a senior director in project management and Georgette Plemper van Balen is a senior project manager in project management.