On June 17, 2021, PWSA | USA and FPWR held a Patient Listening Session with the FDA to share our community’s experiences related to Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS). The purpose of this meeting was to promote dialogue between the FDA and members of the PWS patient community to ensure the FDA has a full understanding of the unique challenges of PWS and issues related to PWS clinical trials.
More than 60 FDA representatives attended the one-hour meeting along with representatives from PWSA | USA, FPWR, and advocates from the PWS research field:
- Theresa Strong*, Director Research Programs, FPWR, parent of an adult with PWS
- Rob Lutz*, Member Board of Directors, PWSA | USA, parent of an adult with PWS
- Elizabeth Dykens*, Professor, Vanderbilt University
- Paige Rivard, CEO, PWSA | USA, parent of a child with PWS
- John Walter, CEO, FPWR
- Susan Hedstrom, Executive Director, FPWR, parent of a child with PWS
- Lauren Schwartz-Roth, Clinical Psychologist, FPWR, parent of an adult with PWS
- Elizabeth Roof, Senior Research Specialist, Vanderbilt University
- Caroline Vrana-Diaz, FPWR, note taker
What is a Patient Listening Session?
Patient Listening Sessions allow patients, caregivers, and their advocates to share their experiences and perspectives by talking directly with FDA staff. The sessions can play an important role in drug development as they help the FDA better understand what is most important to our specific community as medical products are being developed. Listening sessions cannot be used to discuss specific medical products but are an opportunity to share disease-related experiences and perspectives.
What Was Covered During the PWS Listening Session?
Throughout the PWS Listening Session, we provided insight and perspective on the unique challenges of PWS, with particular focus on issues related to clinical trials. We discussed how moderate changes in PWS-associated symptoms could lead to meaningful improvements in daily living and the ability of the person with PWS to achieve more independence. We also addressed the community’s tolerance for risk as it relates to new treatments, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on PWS clinical trials. We provided valuable information about the unmet medical needs of our community to the lead review division and FDA colleagues.
During the meeting, we provided information and resources on the following areas of awareness:
- Review of patient experience data from the PWS community: severity of disease, unmet medical need, treatment preferences, and risk tolerance
- Summary of the perspective of individuals with PWS
- Impact and meaningfulness of modest improvements in PWS-associated behaviors
- Impact of COVID-19 on PWS families and implications for clinical trials
- Discussion of how PWS patient experience informs clinical trial conduct and interpretation (benefit: risk profile); feasibility challenges for future PWS trials