On December 3, 2015, Astellas Pharma US, Inc. (the U.S. affiliate of Astellas Pharma Inc.), a R&D-driven global pharmaceutical company, invited the Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy to present to a global team working on development of ASP3662 for patients with neuropathic pain (NP). This was an internal meeting, which included Ulf Tollemar, Executive Director, Development Project Leader and Marci English, Medical Affairs, Global HEOR Director.
Astellas recognizes the unique role advocacy organizations, such as the Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy, play in improving the lives of people with this debilitating disease and our commitment to the support of research for better treatments and a cure. Astellas reached out to the Foundation to provide a patient-centric perspective to their team that would offer context and personal insight into the importance and potential impact of their work. The Foundation reached out to Dolores Kavich, a patient with idiopathic peripheral neuropathy, who joined us at the meeting and shared her personal story of how PN affects her quality of life.
Dolores Kavich has been supporting the Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy since 2009 and has been suffering from idiopathic peripheral neuropathy for 15 years. Dolores told the group how her PN started in her feet, has moved up her legs and that she now has some symptoms in her hands. One test revealed that Dolores has nearly no sensitivity in her feet to temperature. Dolores shared her personal struggle to find a prescription drug that helps ease the pain. Nothing reliably eliminates her pain but she continues to take two different medications for fear of what her symptoms could be like without them. She has even resorted to opioids when the pain is particularly unbearable. Dolores shared with the team her personal stories of how neuropathy has impacted the quality of her life including limiting the time of day and the amount of time she can make herself available to babysit for her grandchildren.
There is a growing trend for pharmaceutical companies to collaborate with patients on the design of clinical trials creating a driving force for more efficient and productive clinical trials. Astellas’ goal with this particular meeting was slightly different. They reached out to the Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy to humanize the importance of the work their team was doing. They hoped to inspire their team by putting a “face” to the disease these researchers were hoping to help. The active and energy rich interaction between the Team, Dolores and the Foundation was a clear testimony of successfully achieving this goal. The Foundation is very proud to have been able to help provide this inspiration to the research community whom we so rely upon to improve the future for PN patients.