Country for PR: United States
Contributor: PR Newswire New York
Saturday, December 03 2022 - 04:39
MIAMI, Dec. 3, 2022 /PRNewswire-AsiaNet/ --

-- The Center at Rush University Will Be Directed By Dr. Elizabeth Berry-Kravis

The Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics (FAST) announced today a $5 
million gift to establish the new clinical trial and translational research 
effort for rare neurodevelopmental disorders, a first-of-its-kind flagship 
center to be directed by Dr. Elizabeth Berry-Kravis. Named the Rush F.A.S.T. 
Center for Translational Research, it will be the global headquarters for 
training individuals in how to run neurogenetic clinical trials and deliver 
innovative interventional therapies that require novel delivery methods and 
specialized care.

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Many of the doctors working on neurogenetic disorders are running excellent 
general and specialized care clinics for specific subsets of disorders, but are 
not trained in the intricacies of setting up, running, and reporting on 
clinical trials—which means the absence of specific training to expeditiously 
execute trials is significantly limiting trial enrollment capabilities.

"This is the dawn of a new era. Today there are over 25 therapeutic programs in 
the development pipeline for Angelman syndrome, with a majority robustly funded 
by FAST," said Dr. Allyson Berent, chief science officer at FAST. "We are at a 
turning point, where we are ready for many of these programs to reach human 
patients for early stage first-in-human clinical trials, but most hospital 
centers don't have the bandwidth to keep up with this exploding need."

To answer this need, the new center—under the leadership of Dr. Berry-Kravis, 
who has been leading clinical trials for over 20 years—will be the first 
organized training program for individuals focusing on clinical trial execution 
and novel drug delivery for rare neurogenetic disorders. By establishing a 
formal fellowship program for both national and international candidates, 
physicians will be trained in: understanding the steps it takes to onboard a 
prospective clinical trial; the regulatory hurdles required to get through 
contracts and ethics approvals; challenges in setting up infrastructure for 
patient testing, and putting together the specialized clinical teams required 
for these trials (e.g. anesthesia, trial coordinators, trained 
neuropsychologists, neurologists/epileptologists, neurosurgeons, and any other 
specialists relevant to a specific trial), and more. In addition, this program 
will support the infrastructure and buildout needed to create a 
state-of-the-art facility at Rush, with clinical trial space built around the 
needs of this unique patient population.

This FAST trials center will put all these pieces under one roof as a model of 
how to most efficiently and effectively execute a clinical trial—enabling Dr. 
Berry-Kravis to formally share her expertise with others, and to help to grow 
the capabilities at dozens of additional centers globally. When a FAST fellow 
completes their training, they will be able to bring this expertise to other 
institutions around the world. To support this, FAST is committing to 
financially support the upgrading of current, and the establishment of new, 
clinical trial centers, to arborize this expertise to ensure the capabilities 
of numerous centers can meet the huge demand.

FAST fellows will have hands-on training and be integrated into the Center for 
a full year, focusing entirely on running clinical trials for NDDs. In addition 
to the fellows, the Rush F.A.S.T. Center will also train externs in shorter 
stints to learn about drug delivery, advance their own skill sets, and train in 
efficiencies to bring back to their own institutions to better deliver 
interventional therapeutics to more patients in the safest and most efficient 

"We are on the cusp of so many vital breakthroughs, which is why it is an honor 
to be named director of the Rush F.A.S.T. Center at such a critical time," Dr. 
Elizabeth Berry-Kravis. "This is going to help so many people, and I am looking 
forward to working with the brightest minds in the field to generate the 
medical breakthroughs of tomorrow."

Media Contact:
Eric Koch

SOURCE Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics