Members of the Attentive team who are going to be at this upcoming meeting have been part of the Safety Pharmacology Society since around 2001 – really, since the inception of the society itself. I have literally attended every single annual meeting. And currently one of our members, Phil Atterson, is on the board. We feel the society plays a very important part in our industry. In the past, I and others on our team here have had the opportunity to present at the events and lead courses on subjects such as radio telemetry, data acquisition, various methods and other topics.
These, of course, are all services that we provide to our customers at Attentive. Safety Pharmacology is really focused – it incorporates pharmacology, toxicology and literally physiology. There are a number of elements involved that must be included when designing a good Safety Pharmacology study. At Attentive, we conduct the cardiovascular, the respiratory and the CNS assessments. These studies really distinguish what could be going on in the background of a test system – the things that are not blatantly obvious, for instance – that might be leading to the death of an organ or even a test system. They identify the sub-physiological effects of a drug on those main three major organ systems. So the purpose of these studies is to ensure there are no undesirable side effects of a drug.
This entire industry came about because of a drug that had been developed for hay fever. It had been prescribed for a long period – roughly 20 years or so – before it was discovered that women of childbearing age who were taking this drug who drank grapefruit juice around lunchtime had an increased incidence of cardiac events. In some extreme cases, these events even led to death. It was later found that this was because of the grapefruit juice increasing the amount of the drug’s effect on the system, which had an effect on a cardiac channel and therefore caused an arrhythmia. The solution was to switch the placement of molecule on this drug. All of this made it clear that a new part of the industry was here to stay. This was around 30 years ago or so. Within 10 years of that, the Safety Pharmacology Society was founded.
Since then, the SPS has authored white papers, they have issued guidances, and most importantly, we have been able to help engineer out of most drugs anything that would bind to this cardiac channel. In fact now, it is one of the very first screening conducted (the cardiac channel blocking effect of any drug). Since this has been put into place, there haven't been any drugs that have managed to make it to the market with these potential effects. So now that we have established this new precedent and shown what an effect change like this can have on the industry, the time has come for us to meet again and decide if it is now time for us to evaluate additional aspects. These will be the sort of discussions we will have when we meet.
In addition to taking part in these sort of discussions, we look forward to seeing our colleagues again – some of whom we’ve still not seen since before COVID – and reengaging with current and prospective clients as well.
If you would like to meet with any of our Attentive team in Montreal during this year’s SPS meeting, please use the form below to let us know and request a time to sit with us while we are there!