Clinical Trial Readiness for Spinal Muscular Atrophy: Experience of an International Educational-Training Initiative.
Tizzano EF., Christie-Brown V., Baranello G., Germanenko O., Gray A., Krstic M., Lilien C., Patel H., Servais L., Scoto M.
Several successful clinical trials have been conducted in spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) over recent years which have led to the approval of splicing modifiers and gene transfer therapies. With an increasing number of other agents progressing through pre-clinical and clinical development, increasing worldwide clinical trial readiness is becoming essential.SMA Europe initiated a clinical trial readiness project, which included the development of a pilot face-to-face educational-training initiative for clinical specialists and physiotherapists involved in SMA, with an emphasis on the patient perspective. Participants were selected through two surveys and, ahead of the meeting, a mock protocol with specific questions was provided. The initiative involved a series of presentations, role-play and interactive exercises. We describe here our experience and evaluation of this educational-training initiative, emphasising scientific aspects, psychosocial implications and level of satisfaction.From a participant, patient and industry perspective, such training was considered successful and met the objective, which was to improve clinical trial readiness in emerging sites. Resource planning, ethical considerations and communication with patients were identified as three important topics for future training. This initiative highlights the need to develop a training programme to achieve clinical trial readiness across Europe and showcases a collaborative effort with different stakeholders, clinicians, patient advocacy groups and sponsors to address an important issue.