Fifth Sense led a symposium at the 2017 European Chemosensory Research Organisation (ECRO) meeting to showcase the importance of patient engagement to scientific and clinical research. ECRO supports young scientists to secure grants to help them at the start of their career, and provides all scientists with a forum and collaboration opportunities through the annual congress. You can find out more about them here.
Duncan Boak introduced the symposium, explaining that Fifth Sense acts as a hub that connects patients, scientists, clinicians, publics and others with interest in smell and taste. He said that the focus of the symposium would be on the benefits that these interactions have to all those involved.
Tom Laughton, one of our volunteer members, spoke about the impact that smell and taste disorders have on people’s lives, and asked the scientists to consider what these senses mean to them personally – beyond their scientific interests.
Prof Carl Philpott then talked about his experience of working with
patients in his role as Director of the UK’s first NHS clinic for smell and taste disorders. He spoke about the vital role that Fifth Sense members have played in providing PPI (Patient and Public Involvement) input into the design and delivery of clinical research trials, and how their experience s are helping demonstrate the need for further research into new treatments.
Steven Munger, Director of University of Florida Center for Smell and Taste, (UFCST),made a strong case for why chemosensory scientists should engage with patients, using the SmellTaste2017 conference as an example.
Finally, his colleague, Cedric Uytingco, presented the ongoing work of Jeffrey Marten’s laboratory around using gene therapy to restore olfactory function in mice, and what hope this might offer some patients. Learn more about UFCST here.
The team from Fifth Sense were very pleased with how well the symposium was received by conference organisers and delegates, and we were delighted to not only showcase the range of collaborations our trustees and volunteers have been involved in, but also the impact that these have had on all those involved.