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“Every Day We’re Getting One Step Closer to Curing Cancer”: Katie’s Mission “Every Day We’re Getting One Step Closer to Curing Cancer”: Katie’s Mission

Patient Reported Outcomes (PRO) are reports about the health status of patients in clinical trials that come directly from patients themselves “without interpretation of the patient’s response by a clinician or anyone else,” per the FDA.


Katie Gries, Ph.D, Senior Director, Patient Reported Outcomes at Johnson & Johnson Innovative Medicine

But according to Katie Gries, Ph.D, Senior Director, Patient Reported Outcomes, they’re also more than that. For example, PRO:

  • Help us understand what’s unique about each patient’s health journey
  • Inspire and inform how we approach innovation
  • Enable us to make treatments that are smarter, less invasive and more personal

What does all of that look like, not so much as a title or a job description, but as an experience and a practice? Here’s how Katie and her PRO Oncology team at Johnson & Johnson Innovative Medicine are combining science with compassion to lead where medicine is going, confidently take on today’s most complex diseases and unlock the health breakthroughs of tomorrow.

Putting Patients First: Inspired by Your Insights

PRO instruments can be used to evaluate a wide range of outcomes in a given clinical trial: symptoms, functional health, well-being or psychological issues and more. But to put you closer to Katie’s shoes, think about how PRO might relate our understanding of the risks and benefits associated with a treatment for cancer.

In that case, for example:

  • You can imagine that an oncologist is focused on extending a patient’s life and considering the “acceptable risk” of the treatment, likely based on the disease’s five-year survival rate without treatment.
  • But what about the patient? How do they feel? What’s the forecast for their degree of functioning with treatment?

As Katie explains, “It’s common for a cancer patient to be told by a doctor, ‘If you take this drug, it will probably extend your life by X or Y number of months or years, and it’s the recommended course of treatment.’ But in the background there are often unasked questions that patients have about what that life looks like or feels like. How will I feel and what symptoms may I have? Does that mean I can go back to work? Will I be able to continue doing the things I care about? Can I enjoy my life?”

She continues, “By giving us nuanced insights into the outcomes that matter most to patients at each stage of treatment, PRO data critically inform our decisions and inspire our innovations at Johnson & Johnson Innovative Medicine.” This is done by putting the patient first, and following the rigorous, methodology guidance documents made available for the field of patient reported outcomes research.

Thinking Differently: Market Access and Innovation in Oncology

By drawing inspiration from patients’ insights, Katie and the team of passionate innovators at Johnson & Johnson are transforming the patient experience and creating a future of health in which:

  • Today’s most complex diseases can be prevented, treated or cured.
  • Treatments are not only smarter and less invasive, but broadly accessible to all.
  • Healthcare solutions are personal.

To get there, we’re embedding science, data, and technology into healthcare processes, and thinking differently about drug research, development and delivery.
“The way we approach PRO research is representative of what’s unique about Johnson & Johnson Innovative Medicine compared to other companies, where we are part of the Market Access team,” Katie points out. “While we are part of the clinical team to generate the evidence that’s needed for regulatory approval, we’re also generating evidence to support patient access and the adoption of our medicines in practice. It brings us closer to our impact on patients’ lives.”

This approach also fills Katie with optimism about the oncology breakthroughs we hope to achieve over the next five or 10 years

“Every day we’re getting one step closer to curing cancer,” she says. “Until then, our team will be working tirelessly to ensure that the best-possible treatments are available and affordable to as many patients as possible, with as few barriers as possible—because the reality is that patients are dependent on the healthcare system, and so it has to work for them. We can help.”

Together, We’re Leading Where Medicine is Going

Ready to apply rigorous science with purpose and compassion to address the most complex diseases of our time and unlock the potential medicines of tomorrow?

Check out all of the ways to join us at Johnson & Johnson If you want to receive updates about jobs that might interest you in the future, sign up for our global talent community, too.

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