S5-E16.3 – Remembering MASLD Master Stephen Harrison: Stephen As Innovator

Dimitar Tonev and Roger Green discuss Stephen Harrison's role as a major innovator in the MASLD space, with Dimitar focusing largely on Stephen developing the first clinical trial site network.

The conversation shares the first half of Roger Green’s interview with Dimitar Tonev, whose tribute comment to Stephen Roger shared in a recent SurfingMASH weekly newsletter.

Because this is Dimitar’s first appearance on SurfingMASH, he starts by telling the audience a bit about his history, including the fact that he came to know Stephen from the viral hepatitis days. As his “one unique thing,” Dimitar mentions his proficiency as a skier, which leads Roger to ask about his description of Stephen in the SurfingMASH note as a “clumsy skier.” Dim states that Stephen’s form wasn’t the best but that he skied with energy and passion. He goes on to tell a different story about how he broke Stephen’s glasses the first time they met and how Stephen was able to laugh about it with him.

Dimitar describes the “really impressive way” Stephen developed his process for recruiting patients into what were then called NASH studies through the “first iterations of Summit,” the idea of a site network. In response to a question from me, he described the pre-screening pathway as one element of the “secret sauce,” and the use of portable FibroScan devices as another. He goes on to describe that Stephen’s sites could recruit 8x as many patients per month as a typical CRO, which is why the Summit network has become a preferred provider to many CROs and why no one has yet been able to replicate his success.

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