Dato’ Dr. Ong Loke Meng graduated in 1987 from University Malaya and obtained his membership from the Royal College of Physicians United Kingdom in 1993 and Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh in 2006. I am nephrologist since 1996 and the head of Clinical Research Centre of Penang Hospital since 2003. I have published 35 papers in peer-reviewed journals.
- How did you first got into clinical research?
I received an advanced study coordinator training in 1999 and conducted my first investigator initiated trial comparing two peritoneal dialysis systems in 2000 followed by a randomized clinical trial on lupus nephritis. I conducted the first industry sponsored trial in 2004.
- What one word best describes your career as a clinical researcher/investigator? Why?
Passion. I am passionate about conducting clinical research and teaching clinical research methodology. I firmly belief that medicine cannot progress without research and volunteers are needed to participate in research. However, research needs to be conducted with the highest degree of scientific and ethical standards.
- What is your motivation behind conducting clinical trials?
I guess the main motivation for conducting clinical trial is interest. Patients gain access to new therapy that would not otherwise be available to them.
- How has the local research landscape evolved over the past decade?
The involvement of CRC and CRM as part of the National Key Economic Area (NKEA) has helped in changing the landscape for clinical trials. Clinical research has certainly gained more prominence nationally and support from administrators has improved because of it.
- In the field of clinical research, where do you wish to see Malaysia in the next 10 years?
Apart from growth in industry sponsored research, more research should be done in the country to develop medical devices in the country. We also need more high impact research that changes clinical care and public health.
- What changes would you like to see being made by the policy makers to create a more conducive ecosystem for the conduct of clinical trials in Malaysia?
More incentives should be given to companies that conduct clinical research, and also to investigators to participate in research and this includes but not limited to promotions.