ASENT President’s Letter - July 2012
The American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics (ASENT), now entering its 15th year, is an organization founded on the belief that bringing new treatments for disorders of the nervous system to patients will be accelerated by communication between the various groups of professionals who contribute to the effort — academic clinicians and researchers, industrial scientists, government regulators, and patient advocates. As patient demand for better treatments intensifies; as the societal economic need for new neurotherapeutics become ever greater; and as creating new treatments becomes ever more challenging, there has never been a greater reason for ASENT — a professional society that welcomes all stakeholders and provides a forum for information sharing and setting the agenda.
Dear ASENT Member,
I am pleased to initiate this newsletter, which is designed to keep you apprised of what’s happening at ASENT. This is your organization and we want you to be well informed about the various ways ASENT can help you be more successful. I will be sending new editions of this newsletter throughout the year as events warrant.
In this inaugural edition of the newsletter, you will learn about several exciting new initiatives that are currently being developed by ASENT members. If you are interested in joining them in any of the initiatives, please contact me directly.
ASENT continues to be a vital organization. Our 2012 annual meeting held in Washington, DC, in conjunction with the International Society for CNS Clinical Trials and Methodology (ISCTM) had the usual excellent scientific program. Our journal, Neurotherapeutics®, continues to be strong. (Thomson Reuters/ISI reported that the journal has an impact factor of 6.2.) ASENT was recently awarded a subcontract on a five-year NIH grant for a course in neurotherapeutics discovery and development that will be held in conjunction with our Annual Meeting (see below).
ASENT will be a more useful organization to all of us if it includes a larger proportion of individuals with an interest in neurotherapeutics who are working in academia, industry, government and advocacy. In order to achieve this potential, the ASENT Board of Directors has implemented a variety of initiatives to make membership more attractive. At the same time, ASENT members can help “get the word out” about all that ASENT has to offer. Let colleagues know about ASENT, invite them to join, and encourage them to attend our Annual Meeting, February 28-March 2, 2013.
Finally, I am gratified to be able to serve as your president. I am looking forward to helping to facilitate the many exciting activities and initiatives that our Strategic Planning Committee, under the leadership of Dr. Richard Rudick, has proposed and your Board of Directors has authorized. I want ASENT to be relevant to your needs. Please get in touch with me at any time to discuss how ASENT can be a venue for you to provide service to our community or to do a better job helping you to be more successful.
Michael A. Rogawski, M.D., Ph.D.
Update on ASENT Activities:
ASENT 14th Annual Meeting
The survey results are in and once again the Annual Meeting received excellent reviews. The majority of speakers received “Excellent” and “Superior” scores, as did the program content. This was the second time we held our meeting jointly with ISCTM. Everyone seemed to enjoy the interaction between the two Societies. Thank you to the ASENT and ISCTM Program Committees for developing interesting sessions of high quality. The audio and slides from the Annual Meeting are available on the ASENT website (http://asent.org/meeting-presentation-meeting/2012-annual-meeting).
ASENT 15th Annual Meeting
The ASENT Program Committee is already hard at work planning next year’s meeting. Session topics include Clinical Neurostimulation for CNS Diseases: From Basic Mechanisms to Current Therapeutics; Brave New World: Use of the Internet and Social Media to Conduct Clinical Trials; Assessment of Benefits and Risks; Barriers in Early Drug Development: Lessons Learned and a special advocacy forum on Saturday morning entitled Impact of Voluntary Health Organization on Clinical Research and Fundraising. We will also hold the popular Pipeline and Special Interest Topics Roundtables and Luncheon sessions. Plan now to join us February 28-March 2, 2013, at the Hyatt Regency Bethesda in Bethesda, Maryland.
Joint Initiative with the American Neurological Association
ASENT has been invited by ANA to discuss ways in which our two organizations can collaborate to advance the interests of our memberships. Discussions have been held with ANA president Eva Feldman, who has tasked ANA president-elect Bob Brown to spearhead the initiative on the part of ANA. I have been working with Bob and we are planning a special ASENT-ANA satellite symposium to be held on Saturday, October 6, 2012, before the start of the ANA meeting at the Boston Marriott Copley Place. If you are attending the ANA meeting in Boston, please plan to join us on Saturday afternoon.
International Outreach: Discussion Among Regulators of Neurology Products
The Strategic Planning Committee has recognized that a barrier to neurotherapeutic drug and device development is the differing regulatory requirements in different parts of the world. ASENT will be hosting a discussion between regulatory officials—including ASENT board member Dr. Russell Katz, director of the FDA Division of Neurology Products, to consider solutions. ASENT members are encouraged to suggest specific issues of concern for the regulators to consider. Suggestions should be sent to discussion chairperson Dr. Kitty Clarence-Smith (email@example.com).
New Membership Categories
Last year, the ASENT Board of Directors voted to create two new membership categories. A new Institutional Membership category was developed for schools of medicine, other academic institutions and hospitals. With one yearly membership fee of $5,000, an institution is able to involve all the students, fellows and faculty from their organization as ASENT members. Each Institutional Member will be able register up to 20 trainees (including fellows) and junior faculty for the ASENT Annual Meeting at a cost of $50 each, a savings of $300 per registration. Institutions will also qualify for a $1,500 stipend to defray travel costs if two members register for the meeting.
We would like to welcome the first four academic organizations to take advantage of this new membership category and thank them for their support:
- Cleveland Clinic
- Emory University School of Medicine
- Georgetown University Medical Center
- University of Vermont College of Medicine
The second new membership category is ASENT’s Advocacy Partnership Membership for voluntary health organizations. For a yearly membership fee of $2,000., the organization will receive a complimentary registration to the Annual Meeting and a subscription to Neurotherapeutics. Advocacy Partners will also have the right to nominate two trainees (including fellows) or junior faculty members to receive complimentary Annual Meeting registrations and a $750 travel stipend each.
To learn more about the benefits and opportunities of these new membership categories, contact Anne Mercer at firstname.lastname@example.org. Membership information is also available on the ASENT website.
NINDS and the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research Partner with ASENT to Offer Training in Neurotherapeutics Discovery and Development for Academic Scientists
Beginning in 2013, ASENT will initiate a training program to provide academic researchers with an introduction to the skills required to discover and develop new drugs for the treatment of all types of neurological disorders.
The training program covers the principles of drug discovery and development, including the identification of a lead compound and IND enabling studies. The training program will also address the unique challenges inherent in developing treatments for nervous system disorders and will address the particular challenges that academic neuroscientists are likely to face in planning and conducting drug discovery research. Please note, however, that the course curriculum does not address clinical trials.
The training program consists of a 3½-day short course that will be held at the time of the ASENT annual meeting. Students in the course will receive ongoing mentoring from the course instructors, who are all experts in early stage drug discovery. The course is supported by a five-year grant award (1R25NS077582) from NINDS and the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research. It is directed by the University of California, Davis, the Johns Hopkins Brain Science Institute, the Harvard NeuroDiscovery Center and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Northwestern University, in collaboration with ASENT. All accepted students will receive full scholarship support to attend the course. The course will be widely advertised and applications will be solicited shortly.
Course for Practicing Neurologists in the Conduct of Clinical Trials
The Strategic Planning Committee has recognized a need among practicing neurologists in academia and the community for better awareness of the principles and practices of the conduct of clinical trials. ASENT director Dr. Jesse Cedarbaum is leading an initiative to develop a course to address these needs under the auspices of ASENT.
ASENT has invested in a private social media program called ASENT InSite. Our goal is to investigate whether open peer-to-peer dialogue will be of benefit to ASENT members. Those who participated in the special topic roundtable discussions at the Annual Meeting have already been invited to continue their discussion through ASENT InSite. To login and set up your profile, click on the red InSite button on the ASENT website or contact Anne Mercer (email@example.com).
ASENT Corporate Partners
The ASENT Annual Meeting and our journal Neurotherapeutics would not be possible without the support of our Corporate Partners. The 2012 Corporate Partners Directory project, spearheaded by former ASENT president Dr. Kitty Clarence-Smith, is available in print and on-line on our web site, www.asent.org. You will find a “flip-book” acknowledging ASENT’s corporate partners at http://www.flipdocs.com/showbook.aspx?ID=10004277_553985.