FAST Resumes In-person Annual Summit and Gala on Dec 3–4 in Texas

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by Mary Chapman |

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FAST Global Science Summit and Gala | Angelman Syndrome News | illustration of speaker at podium

After the pandemic resulted in last year’s fundraiser being an online experience, the Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics (FAST) will be hosting its annual Global Science Summit and Gala in Austin, Texas, Dec. 3–4.

As FAST’s signature fundraiser, the event is a chance for the Angelman syndrome community to gather in person to learn about the latest scientific and therapeutic advances and raise funds for more research.

The event will be broadcast live so that those who can’t attend may still view it and will be made available in English, French, Italian, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Hebrew, Hungarian, Greek, Turkish, Russian, Polish, Portuguese, Korean, and German.

Previously held in Chicago, Illinois, the summit will home in on scientific investigations seeking to find treatments for Angelman — a top goal for the foundation. Currently, there is no cure for Angelman, a genetic disorder that delays development and causes neurological problems and seizures. Available treatments focus on controlling seizures and managing the disorder’s physical and behavioral symptoms.

“The annual event is an opportunity for the Angelman community to connect face to face, learn about the astonishing science and pharmaceutical advancements, and raise a significant amount of money to fund research that will move new treatments for Angelman syndrome forward,” according to an e-mailed press release.

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In addition to updates on the latest Angelman research and clinical trials from top scientists and industry leaders from around the world, the summit will feature panel workshops and educational sessions for caregivers, therapists, and teachers. There will also be vendors to provide families with supportive goods and services. The event will conclude with a “show-stopping” gala featuring entertainment and special guests.

One of the summit’s keynote speakers will be Jan A. Nolta, PhD, director of the stem cell program at University of California, Davis School of Medicine, and director of the Institute for Regenerative Cures. She will discuss the stem cell therapies, and gene therapy and gene editing approaches that could apply to neurological disorders like Angelman syndrome.

Another keynote speaker will be David Segal, PhD, a professor at the University of California, Davis School of Medicine, who will talk about therapies that target the molecular basis of Angelman syndrome and why hope for the Angelman community has never been higher.

Topics presented by other speakers will include an update on the Angelman natural history study being conducted in the United Kingdom, the development of treatments for rare diseases such as Angelman, and the latest on multiple clinical trials for prospective Angelman treatments such as GTX-102, an intrathecally delivered (injections directly into the spinal column) antisense oligonucleotide.

Other topics include an update from Biogen and Ionis Pharmaceuticals about their Angelman programs, and the latest from Neuren Pharmaceuticals about its potential treatment NNZ-2591. Taysha Gene Therapies will share its investigational approaches to Angelman treatment.

There will also be presentations about patient communication aids, yoga and other exercises for patients, and the importance of the Angelman Syndrome Registry. Other topics will include how to plan for a patient’s transition into high school, and Angelman syndrome and education.

FAST is the largest nongovernmental funding provider for Angelman research. Tickets are no longer available for the summit.