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Panel Members

Carol Sawka, MD, FRCPC

Dr. Carol Sawka is a medical oncologist with a special interest in breast cancer research. Dr. Sawka has conducted and participated in a number of clinical trials in which informed consent has been a major challenge. She has also conducted a number of retrospective and prospective cohort studies where resolving issues around individual patient consent requirements has been problematic.

More recently, Dr. Sawka has conducted research in two newer areas where ethical concerns and individual informed consent issues have been predominant. The first is that of health services research where patient profiles are developed by linking administrative data, sometimes supplemented with individual chart reviews. The second relates to studies of clinical pathological correlations where diagnostic tissue specimens are being retrieved for the purpose of conducting assays of novel biologic markers, which may be predictive or prognostic. In all of these newer study designs, issues of ethics and informed consent procedures have been hotly debated. Dr. Sawka's main interest in participating in the Panel on Research Ethics was to ensure that the Tri-Council Policy Statement on ethics is implemented in a manner consistent with the advancement of knowledge from an oncologic perspective, both with respect to understanding biologic mechanisms disease and evaluating novel treatments.