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The language strategy behind communicating gene therapy

Working with patients is one of the best parts of doing Language Strategy work in healthcare. Health is so personal, and talking about illness with a group of strangers isn’t an easy thing for everyone to do. But often, we at m+p get the opportunity to listen to these very personal stories and pass them directly onto the companies creating life-saving medicines. It’s incredibly meaningful in and of itself. And sometimes we get the honor of sharing that work even more broadly than with just our immediate client.

We have recently done a fair amount of work in the cell & gene therapy space. It’s at the cutting edge of medicine, and also happens to be a very complex topic – a type of challenge in which we are well versed. In 2019, we partnered with BioMarin and CDM Princeton to help figure out how to talk about gene therapy for hemophilia, and it was no easy task. Trying to decode words like “vector” and “capsid” for ourselves, and for the ultimate recipients of this therapy, required a long process and a lot of research. And in this process, we learned a few important things: patients know more than we give them (or in many cases really, ourselves) credit for, and more than anything, being consistent in our lexicon can do wonders for fostering understanding.

Now, the entire medical community gets to benefit as much as we did from these discoveries – the study, “Optimizing language for effective communication of gene therapy concepts with hemophilia patients: a qualitative study” was recently published in Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases. We are so incredibly proud of this accomplishment in partnership with a great team, and are humbled and excited to highlight the value of Language Strategy to the healthcare community at large.

Sarah will be presenting on this research at the International Webinar on Cognitive and Behavioral Neurosciences on October 12th. Sign up to attend here:

Read the open access paper here: