The Clinical Trial Experience: A Patient’s Perspective


In 2010, Mary Elizabeth Williams was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma. The following year, she was offered the opportunity to participate in a Phase 1 immunotherapy clinical trial. She wrote about that experience in A Series of Catastrophes and Miracles: A True Story of Love, Science, and Cancer. In this episode, Mary Elizabeth shares her story and insights into her journey as a clinical trial participant. Williams says she was in a place of desperate and deep panic, but she remembers having a conversation with someone who said, “This doesn’t have to be your last resort. This can be our first resort for you.” That perspective-changing conversation began her belief in the special relationship between hope and science.

About our guest, Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a metastatic melanoma survivor, clinical trial veteran, and the author of “A Series of Catastrophes and Miracles: A True Story of Love, Science, and Cancer.” She has written for the LA Times, the Guardian, Health, and other publications. In 2021, her New York Times essay was adapted for the second season of Amazon Prime’s “Modern Love.” She has spoken for ASCO, PRIM&R, Bristol Meyers Squibb, DIA, and is the 2020 AMWA Walter Alvarez Award winner. She is currently a doctoral student of Medical Humanities at Drew University, where she recently completed her conflict resolution certification.