Dr Aleix Prat
Interview with Dr Aleix Prat, new member of the BIG Executive Board 2017-2021
Could you please explain what motivated you to apply and serve on the BIG Executive Board (EB)?
My main motivation to serve on the BIG Executive Board is to make the biggest possible impact in the advancement of breast cancer research, changing paradigms and accelerating the development of therapeutic strategies for our patients.
I try to achieve this first, as an oncologist treating patients and conducting clinical trials in my hospital; then, as part of a collaborative network such as SOLTI. The next natural step is to serve at the international level, and what better platform than BIG. It is an honor that the General Assembly has considered me to occupy such an important position.
What particular expertise do you think you can bring to the BIG EB?
As an oncologist with vast translational research training, I intend to provide all my expertise to continue developing precision medicine trials through the BIG network.
Please cite three elements that you find critical for the continued success of BIG in the next decade?
Unity, as it is the source of our strength as academics. Engagement and training of new talents. Vision and openness to foresee and adapt to challenges.
What are the biggest challenges currently faced by all stakeholders of the breast cancer research area? How do you think BIG can play a significant role in this context?
In addition to the inherent complexity of the disease, the intricacies of the clinical development system seriously hinder advancement in the field of oncology. Collaborative research can be part of the solution. We can contribute by avoiding duplication of efforts, pooling expertise to come up with the best clinical trials and, why not, by influencing the system to become more efficient.
Do you think we will see practice-changing results from breast cancer research in the next decade? Which ones?
I certainly hope so. It´s up to us to make sure we design and conduct the best possible trials in order to achieve this.
As a member of the BIG EB, you play a key role in shaping international breast cancer research. You also have heavy responsibilities at your own institute, and you contribute to the advancement of research at your county level. How do you balance your national with your international activities?
I consider my national and international activities as one and the same. No conflicts; on the contrary, they complement each other. It´s key to have the right team and be able to delegate to them, knowing that the job is going to get done right.
We would like to know more about you. What do you do in your free time, what are your hobbies?
As a father of two small daughters I spend most of my free time with my family. I enjoy each minute I share with them. My wife, who is also a medical oncologist, makes the balance possible. Without all her support, life would be more complicated. When I have some spare time, I enjoy listening to music and reading books about science, of course. Family and science are my two passions and, at our home, they intersect.
Have you read a good book lately that you would recommend?
I´d recommend reading Steve Job´s biography to anyone who intends to excel at what they do. We all know the visionary he was and the great brand and empire he built. But the best message of the book in my view is that you can achieve anything by persevering. And perseverance is something you really need as a scientist.