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  1. Development & Approval Process (CBER)

Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Patient Engagement Program

Bringing the Patient Voice into Medical Product Development

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Patient input is a critical part of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research’s (CBER) understanding of diseases and conditions. Engaging with patients and listening to their perspectives on their diseases and treatments may help the Center advance patient-focused medical product development. Patient engagement, and the development and application of patient input methods are included in the CBER 2021-2025 Strategic Plan (Objectives 1.2, 1.3, and 2.2). Supported by provisions in both the 21st Century Cures Act of 2016, the Food and Drug Administration Reauthorization Act of 2017 and the Prescription Drug User Fee Act VII CBER’s patient engagement program is committed to incorporating patient involvement in the Center’s regulatory work.

Advancing Patient Engagement and Patient-Focused Drug Development at CBER

CBER supports Agency-wide efforts to advance patient engagement and patient-focused medical product development

CBER interacts with patient groups on Center-specific topics and actively engages in Agency programs, initiatives, and events to gather patient input and share best practices for involving patients in medical product development and regulation. CBER’s patient engagement program collaborates closely with the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER), the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH), the Office of the Commissioner and other FDA offices and programs to coordinate patient engagement activities and patient-focused medical product development efforts, and to share best practices.

Programs at CBER that support advancement of patient engagement and patient-focused medical product development include CBER’s Science of Patient Input (SPI) initiative and CBER’s Rare Disease program. SPI initiative activities include supporting studies on methods and tools to obtain robust patient input to support biological product regulatory reviews and providing CBER reviewers with assistance in the regulatory review of patient input and patient-reported outcomes data. CBER’s Rare Disease program works to facilitate the incorporation of the patient perspective in regulatory decision making for biologics for rare diseases.

CBER and CDRH collaborate on the following guidances about including patient input in the development, evaluation, and post-market surveillance of medical devices:

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CBER Engagement with Patient Organizations

CBER engages patient organizations on disease- and therapy-specific issues.

CBER staff make every effort, subject to staff resources and availability, to hear directly from patients about the burden of disease, the impact of treatment on patients, and other information that could inform regulatory decision making. This includes:

  • Participating in FDA-led patient-focused drug development (PFDD) meetings
  • Attending externally-led PFDD meetings
  • Bringing together important stakeholders and FDA staff through the RegenMedEd series to discuss foundational information about regenerative medicine therapies, such as gene and cell therapy products, and explore opportunities for patients, caregivers, and advocates to engage with FDA to help advance product development.
  • Participating in or attending external conferences dedicated to patient engagement issues
  • Coordinating with CBER’s Rare Disease Program on rare disease patient stakeholder engagement as well as participating in rare disease listening sessions organized by FDA’s Patient Affairs Staff and the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) with patient stakeholder organizations.
  • Responding to and facilitating meetings with patient stakeholder organizations on disease- and treatment-related issues
  • Engaging with individual patient and caregivers through the FDA Patient Representative Program
  • Learn About FDA Patient Engagement
    Information about how patients and stakeholders can engage with FDA centers and offices, including CBER
  • FDA-Led Patient-Focused Drug Development Meetings
    Meetings held by CBER and CDER between 2013 and 2017 to systematically obtain the patient perspective on specific diseases and their treatments
  • Externally-Led PFDD Meetings
    CBER participates in this FDA program that welcomes patient stakeholder organizations to generate public input on disease areas using FDA-led PFFD meetings as a model
  • Condition-Specific Meeting Reports and Other Information Related to Patients' Experience
    This webpage provides links to certain publicly available external reports and resources relating to patient experience data. The patient community, patient advocates, researchers, drug developers, and federal agencies may find these materials useful. For specific questions related to a report or resource, FDA recommends reaching out to the point of contact listed on the cover page of the report.

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Request a Patient Organization Meeting with CBER Staff

Meetings between patient organizations and CBER staff present opportunities to enhance CBER’s understanding of disease burden and the impact of treatment on patients. These meetings may also help to inform efforts by patient organizations working to advance drug development such as developing or conducting natural history studies or patient input studies to support medical product development.

To request a meeting with CBER staff, a representative from a patient organization can email CBERPatientEngagement@fda.hhs.gov. CBER will review requests and make every effort to hear directly from patient organizations according to staff availability and resources.

If a patient organization requests a meeting with topic that applies to more than one medical product type, the organization can submit a request through the Patients: Ask FDA page. Patients: Ask FDA can also help patient organizations that are unsure which FDA center or program to contact about engaging with FDA.

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Your organization’s activities, for example
  • Natural history studies
  • Patient-reported outcomes studies
  • Patient surveys on risks, benefits, and preferences related to treatments
Impact of the disease and its treatment
  • Chief complaints (most bothersome signs and symptoms)
  • Burden of living with and managing a disease or condition
  • Impacts from a disease or condition on activities of daily living and functioning
Perspectives about current and potential treatment approaches
  • Expectations of benefits
  • Tolerance for harms or risks
  • Patient preference
  • Unmet medical needs
Clinical trial considerations
  • E.g., views on various therapies, such as gene therapy
  • Burden of participating in clinical studies
  • Risk tolerance

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