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Cultivating Our Roots

2019 ISCT ANnual report

ISCT Board of Directors, Strategic Planning 2020-2022 Event. Vancouver, Canada. February 2019

Cultivating Our Roots

2019 ISCT ANnual report

ISCT Board of Directors, Strategic Planning 2020-2022 Event. Vancouver, Canada. February 2019

JohnRasko

John EJ Rasko, AO, MBBS, PhD,
FRCPA, FRACP, FAHMS
ISCT President
(2018-2020)
Australia

These Are Challenges That ISCT Was Made For

The science is advancing, but the workforce needed to make it into an accessible clinical reality is not yet here.

I am genuinely excited to welcome you to ISCT’s second annual report. This cornerstone publication provides an overview of our strategic trajectory, and a moment of appreciation and acknowledgment for the contributions of our membership across the world.

Last year, we saw the start of a golden age for cell and gene therapy, and the accelerated evolution of our society. This year, we are taking steps to further sustain our growth.

Our Society has evolved in the past few years to meet the ambitions of a golden age of cell and gene therapy. Alongside that ambition, it is important to acknowledge where we have come from. The current state of cell and gene therapy is the result of decades of hard work, passionate dedication, and tireless perseverance.

From our pioneering investigators and lab technologists, to our regulatory stewards, to our business and industrial leaders, ISCT maintains a continued and comprehensive trajectory of advancement for our field. This is an opportune time to look back and to reflect upon our roots to cultivate the developments that we will enable and indeed push into the future.  

Within this report, you will see our efforts over the past year to connect membership across our global Society, to communicate to the public responsibly and respectfully, and to translate cutting edge scientific inquiry into concrete clinical procedures and products. In short, we are here after more than a quarter of a century to continue our mission to connect, communicate and translate.

This year, we are introducing a “Strategic Features” section, where you will learn about key ISCT initiatives. Here, you will have a chance to learn about our efforts to engage lab technologists and the dramatic impact of our mentorship program. You will also learn more about the successes of our Cell Therapy Training Course, updates to our global engagement model, and the exciting reshaping of Cytotherapy, our flagship publication.

In helping the public access safe and effective cell and gene therapies through our Presidential Task Force on the Use of Unproven and/or Unethical Cell and Gene Therapies; in serving together across fields of academia, regulation, and commercialization to improve lives around the world, we have amassed a wealth of allies working to a common goal that has expanded substantially over the past year.

The past year also marks the growth of a sustained commitment and growing pursuit of mentorship within our Society. With our mentorship program at its third year, we have achieved exciting and unprecedented growth and passionate interest driving engagement at a global level. Our mentorship program focuses on career and professional development, but it is also built for members to connect personally and to develop collaborative dialogue that works to continually advance our field.

My term as President of the Society has been characterized by a commitment to the advancement of our communications. From our Board summit that brought our leadership team together in Vancouver in January 2019, to our annual and regional meetings which connect members from across the globe, we have prioritized personal engagement as part of our communicative strategy. We have reached out to allied organizations to create agreements and strategic partnerships, including significant memoranda of understanding laying out concrete action plans for the future we share with our allies. The Signature Series of our Scientific and Commercialization Committees are just one strong example that successfully showcases what we bring to the table.  

At its core, ISCT is built on the fundamental ideal of connection. This key aspect of our identity leads me to believe that ISCT represents a guiding beacon for the tsunami of innovation that is cell and gene therapy today.

Over the past year, blood stem cell gene therapy for transfusion-dependent thalassemia was approved in Europe. Gene-directed immunotherapy techniques have undergone significant consolidation across the globe. Reimbursement and clinical implementation issues are at the forefront of focus for governments and industry. The science is advancing, but the workforce needed to make it into an accessible clinical reality is not yet here.

Ahead of us lie great challenges if we are to sustain our growth and meet emerging demands in our field. The Good Ship “Cell and Gene Therapy” needs more hands on deck! Laboratories need to be supported as they scale upwards to meet industrial requirements. Training must be expanded so that expertise can grow and spread.

These are challenges that ISCT was made for. The pioneers and leaders we honour in our field have set strong foundations and provided a vision for a world where those with unmet medical needs have hope.

They point to a bright future ahead of us. As we continue to carry the momentum of decades into the work ahead, I invite you to rejoice with me at the flourishing of our field. Let us continue to cultivate our roots, and do the good work now needed to advance onwards.

QueenieJang

Queenie Jang, BSc (Pharmacy), MBA,
Chief Executive Officer
Canada

There Is No Society Like Ours

ISCT is unique. Because of this, we stand ready to advance our mission and to also lead others with this pursuit.

Our Society has grown throughout 2019.

This is a fact that characterizes the second annual report of the ISCT. Throughout the year, we have worked to rekindle our roots. Not only did we renew our focus towards CGT labs across the globe, but we also worked to foster an environment of mentorship within the Society. Along the way, we expanded our global footprint by making deeper connections across our regional partnerships.

Following up on a year of evolution through these actions, we are pushing the growth of the society towards a sustainable direction.

The passion across our leadership and membership has been palpable this year. The guidance of our ESP committee has resulted in an inspiring mentorship engagement. The new vision of Cytotherapy engages technologists and investigators alike. Meanwhile, the increasing success of our annual and regional meetings points to one realization: 

ISCT is ready to take on the challenges that lie ahead for the cell and gene therapy field.

Throughout 2019, the legacy of the ISCT shone bright.

Key contributors like co-founder Dr. Nancy Collins returned to help push the Society forwards. A renewed partnership with our daughter organization FACT helped us engage technologists globally. All the while, the insights of our founders have paid massive dividends towards our task today.

The founding vision of ISHAGE, which would become the ISCT, identified key needs that have now grown urgent. The field needs to develop a robust workforce. It needs programs that kickstart sustainable cycles of knowledge growth. It also needs collaborative communication platforms that emphasize a global membership. The efforts of our founders now give us momentum to push these key areas.

We have taken this momentum and pushed to engage labs on a global scale. Across academia and industry, ISCT provides useful resources and communications infrastructure. We support technologists developing manufacturing and quality control procedures necessary for clinical advancement.

We have pushed to cultivate scientific expertise around cell and gene therapy across the globe. Our ISCT Mentorship and Cell Therapy Training Course programs provide a platform for scientific leaders across the globe to cultivate the next generation of investigators.

We have pushed, finally, to engage the scientific community through Telegraft and Cytotherapy. Both publications have adopted methods to more deeply engage with collaborators. The editorial boards across both publications have also recruited to expand their expertise in CGT. In 2019, both publications took on vibrant visual redesigns and refining the scope of their visions.

This is an exciting moment where the potential of our field demands decisive action.

As the science races forward, cell and gene therapy requires people that can implement it. We must continue to cultivate technologists in laboratories, effective public-facing communicators, conscientious accreditors, and ongoing clear-sighted leadership. After all, there is no other Society like us.

We exist at a global scale. We engage the entire translational chain of science behind cell and gene therapy. We share a common vision, carried forward by over 41 standing committees.

ISCT is unique. Because of this, we stand ready to advance our mission and to also lead others with this pursuit.

With us are an effective and global network of collaborators, ranging from state regulatory bodies to industrial powerhouses to key academic opinion leaders. Last year, we drew on connections across this network to hold joint meetings across the world. These include SCSS-ISCT in the Asia region, ISCT ANZ-ISSCR-ASGCT in the Australia and New Zealand region, and our ISCT-SCA regional meeting under the umbrella of SOMICET’s Scientific Congress in the South and Central America region. We have developed joint initiatives that will sustain the advancement of the field so that we can address the gap between what we know and what we can implement.

The Society continues to advance. As we enter 2020, we will continue to optimize our engagement platforms for members. We will continue to grow our membership globally. We will work together to draw the future of the field into present realities, and by doing so, move from rekindling our roots to defining our legacy.

Our Board of Directors (2019-2020)

The ISCT Board of Directors consists of:

  • President (Chair of the Board of Directors)
  • President-Elect
  • Immediate Past President (Chair of the Strategic Advisory Council)
  • Global Secretary
  • Global Treasurer
  • Regional Vice Presidents

  • Chief Scientific Officer
  • Chief Regulatory Officer
  • Chief Commercialization Officer
  • 4 Elected ISCT Members
  • Senior Editor of the Society’s Journal
  • Chief Executive Officer. 

The Board of Directors is the main administrative body which manages the governance and strategic oversight of the Society.

Chair

John Rasko, AO, MBBS, PhD, FRCPA, FRACP, FAHMS
President

June 2018 – June 2020
Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
Sydney, Australia 

Directors

Bruce Levine, PhD
President-Elect

June 2018 – June 2020
Barbara and Edward Netter Professor in Cancer Gene Therapy
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA, United States

Catherine Bollard, MBChB, MD
Chair, Strategic Advisory Council (Immediate Past President)
June 2018 – June 2020
Children’s National Health System
George Washington University
Washington, DC, United States

Lizette Caballero, BS, MT(ASCP)
Global Secretary
June 2019 – June 2022
UCSF Blood and Marrow Transplant Lab
San Francisco, CA, United States

Emily Hopewell, PhD
Interim Global Treasurer
June 2019 – June 2020
Indiana University School of Medicine
Zionsville, Indiana

Oscar Lee, MD, PhD
Asia, Regional Vice-President 
June 2019 – June 2021
National Yang- Ming University
Taiwan

Ngaire Elwood, PhD
Australia & New Zealand, Regional Vice-President
June 2018 – June 2020
Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
Melbourne, Australia 

Joan Garcia-Lopez, MD, PhD
Europe, Regional Vice-President 
June 2019 – June 2021
Director of Research and Education Banc De Sang i Teixits Barcelona, Spain

 

Lynn O’Donnell, PhD
North America, Regional Vice-President
June 2018 – June 2020
Ohio State University, James Cancer Hospital
Columbus, OH, United States

Patricia Rocco, MD, PhD
South and Central America, Regional Vice-President
June 2019 – June 2021
Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Daniel J. Weiss, MD, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer

June 2016 – June 2020
University of Vermont
Burlington, VT, United States

Miguel Forte, MD, PhD
Chief Commercialization Officer 
June 2016 – June 2020
Zelluna Immunotherapy
Oslo, Norway

Karen Nichols, Esq.
Chief Regulatory Officer
March 2016 – March 2019
Magenta Therapeutics
Cambridge, MA, United States

Elizabeth Stenger, MD, MSc
Elected Member MD
June 2019 – June 2021
UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh 
Pittsburgh, PA, United States

Nadim Mahmud, MBBS, PhD
Elected Member PhD
June 2018 – June 2020
University of Illinois College of Medicine
Chicago, IL, United States

Jeannette Bloom, MBA, MT(ASCP)SBB
Elected Member Technologist
June 2018 – June 2020 
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, TX, United States

Anne Lamontagne, MSc 
Elected Member Technologist
June 2019 – June 2021
Clinical Cell and Vaccine Production Facility
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA, United States 

Donald Phinney, PhD
Senior Editor of the Journal 
October 2018 – Present
Professor at The Scripps Research Institute
Jupiter, FL, United States

Queenie Jang, BSc (Pharmacy), MBA
Chief Executive Officer 
ISCT
Vancouver, BC, Canada

Our Executive Management Committee

The ISCT Executive Management Committee consists of:

  • Chief Executive Officer (Chair of the Executive Management Committee),
  • President
  • President-Elect

 

  • Immediate Past President (Chair of the Strategic Advisory Council)
  • Global Secretary
  • Global Treasurer

The Executive Management Committee oversees the operational and management aspects of the Society.

Chair

Queenie Jang, BSc (Pharmacy), MBA
Chief Executive Officer 
ISCT
Vancouver, BC, Canada

Members

John Rasko, AO, MBBS, PhD, FRCPA, FRACP, FAHMS
President

June 2018 – June 2020
Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
Sydney, Australia 

Bruce Levine, PhD
President-Elect

June 2018 – June 2020
Barbara and Edward Netter Professor in Cancer Gene Therapy
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA, United States

Catherine Bollard, MBChB, MD
Chair, Strategic Advisory Council (Immediate Past President)
June 2018 – June 2020
Children’s National Health System
George Washington University
Washington, DC, United States

Lizette Caballero, BS, MT(ASCP)
Global Secretary
June 2019 – June 2022
UCSF Blood and Marrow Transplant Lab
San Francisco, CA, United States

Emily Hopewell, PhD
Interim Global Treasurer
June 2019 – June 2020
Indiana University School of Medicine
Zionsville, Indiana

A Renewed Focus on Laboratories and Technologists

Developed By ISCT Members, For ISCT Members

The ISCT Laboratory Life Line

In 2019, our Lab Practices Committee founded the ISCT Laboratory Life Line, taking a proactive and leading step towards promoting high standards and knowledgeable protocols across our membership in lab settings. This forum is designed as an interactive resource where professionals can engage in shop talk, facilitating collaboration, troubleshooting, and engagement for lab personnel. We encourage interested membership to contribute and learn about best practices for lab practices, leadership, or organization through accessible online discussions at our Life Line.

Our community engagement is the cornerstone of this effort

In today’s ever-changing landscape of cell and gene therapy, it is more important than ever to capitalize on the collective expertise of ISCT members to drive best practices. The Laboratory Life Line is one platform that was developed to encourage lab professionals of all backgrounds to share ideas, collaborate and educate one another to promote excellence across the cell therapy field.
Our community engagement is the cornerstone of this effort.

New Project (10)

Heather Garrity, BSc, MSc
Co-Chair, ISCT Lab Practices Committee
United States

ISCT-FACT Partnership

We began a new partnership over the past year with one of our closest collaborators, the Foundation for Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT), with the goal of spreading educational resources across the membership embedded within a wide network of laboratories. The start of this partnership was exciting not only for the tangible benefits that we worked together to bring to a wider network, but also because through it, we worked to rekindle our roots through the shared heritage of our organizations.

Nancy Collins - Cropped Image

Nancy Collins, PhD
Co-Founder, ISCT
Founding Board Member, FACT

United States

An unprecedented journey of communication, education, and trust between practitioners and regulators

The primary motivators for founding ISHAGE (now ISCT) and ASBMT (now ASTCT), was concern for  development of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, patient safety protection, and translation of  cutting edge research into clinical application. In the early years, we were well aware that the FDA feared unsafe development in our field, and we feared adoption of a drug development regulatory model that did not fit cell therapy.  

ISHAGE and ASBMT leaders founded FACT in 1996 as a voluntary inspection and accreditation organization to be a single voice for collection, processing, and clinical centers which used the best and safest practices.  The resulting FACT and FDA collaboration has been an unprecedented journey  of communication, education, and trust between practitioners and regulators. It has fundamentally changed both groups, resulting in regulations and guidances which are informed by FACT accredited organizations. This model is even more important today since the expansion of hematopoietic transplantation to include all cell types in the new field of regenerative medicine,

More than ever, it is important that all laboratories have access to educational resources and have tools to educate and train the next generation of cell and gene therapy professionals.

Medical laboratory professionals play a vital role in cellular therapy. Even with the best quality management systems in place, quality results are difficult to ensure without adequately trained staff.

Personnel at FACT-accredited labs are required to be knowledgeable about FACT Standards and federal regulations. An ISCT Laboratory Membership can provide technologists access to ISCT-sponsored meetings and ongoing online educational resources aimed at providing solutions for quality, operational, and regulatory challenges in the Cell and Gene Therapy Lab at a discounted rate.

FACT has partnered with ISCT to provide a special Laboratory Membership offer to FACT-accredited laboratories. This offer includes 3 complimentary technologist memberships with a 2020 ISCT Lab Membership. To ensure all staff have access to ISCT resources including education, forums, the
Telegraft, and Cytotherapy, additional technologist memberships are highly subsidized!

New Project (37)

Linda Miller
Chief Executive Officer, FACT 
United States

Engaging Industry Labs

As we work to advance the field of Cell and Gene Therapy, labs dedicated to industrial manufacturing have been on the forefront of our strategic vision. Since our last annual report, we worked to engage laboratories working under the umbrella of our industry partners, to assist them in identifying key personnel requirements, in recruiting highly qualified personnel to meet these requirements, and to train technicians where there are gaps in the pool of available applicants.

Bauer (1)

Gerhard Bauer, PhD
Laboratory Director, GMP Facility, UC Davis
United States

They don’t need master’s degrees; they need to receive appropriate manufacturing training and learn how to work within a GMP environment

Good Manufacturing Process (GMP) manufacturing of approved, commercialized cell and gene therapy products, and late phase clinical trial products slated for the market, has already become a major part of our industry.

Over the last three years we have been able to produce overwhelming evidence that such products can save lives of patients who did not have a great chance of survival only a few years earlier. We do face, however, a challenge in bringing a sufficient quantity of such products to market while keeping the price within an affordable range. We therefore need to find better ways of manufacturing cell and gene therapy products.

For this purpose, what is still needed is a larger work force of cell and gene therapy hands on product manufacturers; they don’t need master’s degrees; they need to receive appropriate manufacturing training and to learn how to work within a GMP environment, faithfully executing tasks under supervision proficient in Quality Control and Quality Assurance. If we want to get more life-saving products to patients, then we need to develop educational programs for such qualified personnel, and will need to coordinate our efforts so students can have access to such programs at several centers of excellence.

An Allied Perspective – CCRM’s Strategy to Support Commercialization

CCRM is accelerating the translation of promising technologies, processes and therapies into life-changing health outcomes for patients.

We are making this possible by providing strategic funding, dedicated infrastructure and specialized business and scientific expertise to support the commercialization of cell and gene therapies. We have partnered with leading research institutions to launch new ventures, and we enable industry by providing innovative contract development manufacturing organization (CDMO) services and scaling emerging companies by catalyzing investment. Supporting and enabling training, to ensure we have a skilled workforce, is another area we are tackling. The industry has many challenges to overcome and we have made it our purpose to solve the big problems in regenerative medicine.

New Project (43)

Michael May
Chief Executive Officer, CCRM
Canada

Rekindling our roots

ESP Mentorship as a Model for Global Expertise

A Mentor’s Perspective

Diseases know no borders. Global problems need global and new solutions. Developing innovative therapies requires the involvement of committed individuals whose talents combine scientific excellence, awareness of unmet medical needs, and entrepreneurial spirit.

New Project (12)

Christian Chabannon,
MD, PhD
Professor
Aix-Marseille Université 
France

photo GramignoliR(2)

Roberto Gramignoli,
MS, PhD 
Senior Researcher
Karonlinska Institutet 
Sweden

A Mentee’s Perspective

This reinvigorating experience had allowed us to stand ‘upon the shoulders of giants’ to achieve a shining, yet practical vision on contributing to the future of cell and gene therapies. 

New Project (12)

Christian Chabannon, MD, PhD
Professor
Aix-Marseille Université 
France

A Mentor’s Perspective

Diseases know no borders. Global problems need global and new solutions. Developing innovative therapies requires the involvement of committed individuals whose talents combine scientific excellence, awareness of unmet medical needs, and entrepreneurial spirit.

After all, cell and gene therapies are paradigm-shifting. They promise curative efficacy for diseases often unmanageable by existing pharmaceuticals. The ISCT has a core mission in overseeing the translation of proven novel therapies into clinical practice, made possible thanks to its tremendous capacity to gather preeminent experts across all fields of cell and gene therapies worldwide, from academic institutions to regulatory agencies and industry partners. Thanks to visionary educational programs such as the ISCT Mentoring Program, early stage professionals like myself had the terrific opportunity to connect with such experts as mentors to share experience and develop expertise in a collaborative, friendly network. 

New Project (29)

Roberto Gramignoli,
MS, PhD 
Senior Researcher
Karonlinska Institutet 
Sweden

A Mentee’s Perspective

This reinvigorating experience had allowed us to stand ‘upon the shoulders of giants’ to achieve a shining, yet practical vision on contributing to the future of cell and gene therapies.

The ISCT Mentoring Program was designed to bring new blood to the fast-growing field of cell and gene therapy. As a mentor, I was lucky enough to connect with two junior investigators who ticked all the boxes; it is an extremely rewarding experience to be part of a global initiative that helps accelerate biomedical progress worldwide.

Our group’s work resulted in a peer-reviewed publication that identifies some major hurdles along the developmental path of new treatments manufactured through cell or tissue engineering.

The ISCT Mentoring Program was designed to bring new blood to the fast-growing field of cell and gene therapy. As a mentor, I was lucky enough to connect with two junior investigators who ticked all the boxes; it is an extremely rewarding experience to be part of a global initiative that helps accelerate biomedical progress worldwide.

Our group’s work resulted in a peer-reviewed publication that identifies some major hurdles along the developmental path of new treatments manufactured through cell or tissue engineering.

After all, cell and gene therapies are paradigm-shifting. They promise curative efficacy for diseases often unmanageable by existing pharmaceuticals. The ISCT has a core mission in overseeing the translation of proven novel therapies into clinical practice, made possible thanks to its tremendous capacity to gather preeminent experts across all fields of cell and gene therapies worldwide, from academic institutions to regulatory agencies and industry partners. 

Although a decade has passed since the approval of the first ATMP therapy in Europe, and half of a century since the first successful cell transplant, established ATMP products can be counted on one’s fingers. In our editorial in Cytotherapy, my colleagues and I put the perspective of early stage professionals in dialogue with long-term expert vision, to summarize our discussions throughout the 6 months of the ISCT Mentoring Program towards identifying the main challenges in driving cell and gene therapies to the clinic.

Authored by A. Rotolo, C. Chabannon and R. Gramignoli, this editorial in Cytotherapy 22.2 arose out of productive discussions that started within the 2018-2019 ISCT Mentorship Program, and provides a useful and succinct overview of some of the challenges facing the CGT field today.

Doubling Down on Mentorship

The sophomore year of our ISCT Mentoring program has been met with immense interest across both mentor and mentee groups, almost doubling involvement from our 2018-2019 cycle. With over 20 mentors and 55 mentees for the 2019-2020 roster, our mentorship program is looking to grow even further to promote compassionate and competent expertise across our membership.

Our program is structured to foster a true community of experts, not only serving to connect mentors to mentees, but to create an enduring, collaborative network of mentees who will grow together as they advance both their careers and the field. Each mentor is paired with a small working group of two to three mentees, who work together for a span of at least half a year through monthly teleconferencing. Each mentorship group is determined by areas of interest, including Regulatory, Quality and Operations, Basic Science, Clinical, and Commercialization, as well as by geographical location.

The next cycle of the ISCT Mentoring Program will be recruiting in Q3 2020. 

“Truly Borderless, Truly Global”

Amanda Medcalf
Sr. Director of Manufacturing and QC
Fate Therapeutics
Anthony Ting
VP of Regenerative Medicine
Athersys, Inc
Bruce Levine
Professor
Director of the Clinical Cell and Vaccine Production Facility
University of Pennsylvania
Catherine Bollard
Professor of Pediatrics and Immunology,
Children’s National Health System and George Washington University
Conrad Russell Cruz
Assistant Professor
Children’s National Hospital
Cornelia Kasper
Professor
Department for Biotechnology, BOKU
Daniel J. Weiss
Professor of Medicine
University of Vermont
Dominic Wall
Director Pathology, Operations
Peter MaCallum Cancer Center
CSO
Cell Therapies Pty Ltd
Dominic Clarke
Global Head of Cell Therapy
HemaCare Corporation
Elizabeth J. Shpall
Professor
MD Anderson Cancer Center
Fermin Sanchez-Guijo
Head, Cell Therapy Area,
IBSAL-University Hospital of Salamanca, Spain
Jacques Galipeau
Director of the Program for Advanced Cell Therapy
University of Wisconsin
Janet Macpherson
Product Specialist – Cell & Gene Therapy
GE Healthcare Life Sciences
Kim Raineri
Vice President of Operations
Nikon CeLL Innovation Co., Ltd.
Kurt Gunter
Chief Medical Officer
Kuur Pharmaceuticals
Ngaire Elwood
Director
BMDI Cord Blood Bank
Orestis Argyros
Biology Manager,
GSK
Sandeep Soni
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Stanford University
J. Wade Atkins
Quality Assurance and Regulatory Affairs Specialist
National Institute of Health
William Janssen
Director of Human Applications  Laboratory
St Jude Children’s Research Hospital

ISCT recognizes the growing need for qualified personnel and leaders in the field of cell and gene therapy. To attract and support emerging professionals within this industry, ISCT’s Early Stage Professionals (ESPs) Committee provides a networking and educational forum for new cell and gene therapy professionals from around the globe that helps to establish leaders of not only ISCT, but also the field at large. The ESP Committee is composed of 25 members from 4 countries who develop programming for their fellow ESPs, including specialized sessions at the ISCT Annual Meeting, Early Stage Professionals Abstract awards, and a group mentoring program.


ESP/CellCAN Job Market Survey

 

During the 2019 ISCT North America Regional Meeting, ISCT’s Early Stage Professionals (ESP) Committee, in partnership with CellCAN, conducted a joint session focused on examining one key bottleneck for the ongoing development of the cell and gene therapy field: A shortage of Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP).

The session made use of live polling to collect data to expands upon the ESP Committee’s 2018 Job Market Survey, sparking an ongoing broader campaign to gather data on the knowledge gaps within the field, as well as the realities of ESPs as they seek career progression.

Take a look at some of the results below:

New Project (40)

Head-to-Head: Employees vs. Employers

Training Prior to Employment

A Key Disparity

ISCT recognizes the growing need for qualified personnel and leaders in the field of cell and gene therapy. To attract and support emerging professionals within this industry, ISCT’s Early Stage Professionals (ESPs) Committee provides a networking and educational forum for new cell and gene therapy professionals from around the globe that helps to establish leaders of not only ISCT, but also the field at large. The ESP Committee is composed of 25 members from 4 countries who develop programming for their fellow ESPs, including specialized sessions at the ISCT Annual Meeting, Early Stage Professionals Abstract awards, and a group mentoring program.


ESP/CellCAN Job Market Survey

 

During the 2019 ISCT North America Regional Meeting, ISCT’s Early Stage Professionals (ESP) Committee, in partnership with CellCAN, conducted a joint session focused on examining one key bottleneck for the ongoing development of the cell and gene therapy field: A shortage of Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP).

The session made use of live polling to collect data to expands upon the ESP Committee’s 2018 Job Market Survey, sparking an ongoing broader campaign to gather data on the knowledge gaps within the field, as well as the realities of ESPs as they seek career progression.

Take a look at some of the results below:

New Project (40)

Head-to-Head: Employees vs. Employers

Training Prior to Employment

A Key Disparity

NEW THIS YEAR:

Training the Next Generation

With the dramatic growth in the cell and gene therapy field, there is an urgent need to train the next generation of professionals. ISCT is playing a key role in developing the careers of Early Stage Professionals (ESP) as they enter the CGT field in record numbers. Our ESP membership has grown from 303 in 2018 to 395 in 2019, reflecting a growing interest and engagement within the field.

In 2019, we introduced student registration to our Annual Meeting, as well as to our NA Regional Meeting. This registration category, available to medical, pharmacy, and nursing students hoping to attend ISCT Annual Meetings, includes complimentary pre-conference day registration, in addition to main conference registration at a highly subsidized price of $50. Throughout 2019, 42 students were able to make use of this.

Leading into 2020, ISCT plans to launch a series of exciting training and professional development opportunities. Among these are the European Cell Therapy Training Course, planned for 2021, and a partnered scholarship program for Master’s degree programs offered at the University of Granada and sponsored by Miltenyi Biotec. 

Starting Cycles of Growth

John-Barrett-Headshot

John Barrett, MD
Co-Founder, ISCT-ASTCT Cell Therapy Training Course
USA

Cell therapy is an upcoming and unique discipline still forging its trajectory.

It is attracting a broad spectrum of scientists, with both technical and clinical backgrounds who are urgently demanding  training in all the aspects of expertise required. This includes not only the basic science behind cellular therapies, but also comprehension of practical steps that have to be taken to make a clinical-grade cell product, as well as knowledge of the regulatory framework covering cell production in both academic and commercial laboratories. 

There is a growing need to train future cell therapists, including experts in cell production as well as those involved in clinical trial development  and the translation of cell production from academic institutes to the commercial world. Dave DiGiusto and I conceived of this training course to meet that need. It is a joint effort by the ISCT and the American Society for Cell Therapy (TCT), a connection mirrored in the diversity in backgrounds of attending scholars, many of whom have developed their interest in cell therapy through stem cell transplantation.  

In the 5 years since we began, the field has matured, and we have striven to adapt the curriculum to reflect emerging areas of development.  We have steadily improved the course, adapting it responsively through feedback from the scholars. 

In October 2019 we held the third CTTC in Philadelphia hosted by Dr Bruce Levine. By all accounts, this was our most successful CTTC yet. One shortcoming is that we cannot meet the continually growing demand for training. We can take only a fraction of all the applicants who might benefit from the CTTC and we run the course only on alternating years. We hope that the success of the style and contents of the CTTC will inspire local training courses to develop within ISCT.

John-Barrett-Headshot

John Barrett, MD
Co-Founder, ISCT-ASTCT
Cell Therapy Training Course
USA

Cell therapy is an upcoming and unique discipline still forging its trajectory.

It is attracting a broad spectrum of scientists, with both technical and clinical backgrounds who are urgently demanding  training in all the aspects of expertise required. This includes not only the basic science behind cellular therapies, but also comprehension of practical steps that have to be taken to make a clinical-grade cell product, as well as knowledge of the regulatory framework covering cell production in both academic and commercial laboratories.

There is a growing need to train future cell therapists, including experts in cell production as well as those involved in clinical trial development  and the translation of cell production from academic institutes to the commercial world. Dave DiGiusto and I conceived of this training course to meet that need. It is a joint effort by the ISCT and the American Society for Cell Therapy (TCT), a connection mirrored in the diversity in backgrounds of attending scholars, many of whom have developed their interest in cell therapy through stem cell transplantation.  

In the 5 years since we began, the field has matured, and we have striven to adapt the curriculum to reflect emerging areas of development.  We have steadily improved the course, adapting it responsively through feedback from the scholars. 

In October 2019 we held the third CTTC in Philadelphia hosted by Dr Bruce Levine. By all accounts, this was our most successful CTTC yet. One shortcoming is that we cannot meet the continually growing demand for training. We can take only a fraction of all the applicants who might benefit from the CTTC and we run the course only on alternating years. We hope that the success of the style and contents of the CTTC will inspire local training courses to develop within ISCT.

A World-Class Standard

Our Cell Therapy Training Course, designed in partnership with the ASTCT and held for the third time in 2019, brought together global leaders and rising stars in the field of cell and gene therapy to advance the field at large. Participating scholars were competitively selected and fully sponsored for the week-long course. Through CTTC, selected scholars were provided with world-class technical, clinical, and leadership training, and connected to an elite network of contacts in the field.

The third biennial 2019 Cell Therapy Training Course was held this fall in Philadelphia, hosted by the University of Pennsylvania. Select lecture recordings from the course can be found here (members only), in addition to the full course program.

If you are interested in enrolling as a scholar, keep an eye out for CTTC 2021. 

Cell Therapy Training Course 2019

In Partnership With: 


Hosted By: 


In Partnership With: 


ASTCT Logo

Hosted By: 


Penn Medicine

Sponsored in part by: 


Novartis
Legend Biotech
Tmunity
Emily Whitehead Foundation
Fresenius Kabi
Kite

CO-CHAIRS

John Barrett, MD

David DiGiusto, PhD

PLANNING FACULTY

Catherine Bollard, MD, MBChB

Colleen Delaney, MD, MSc

Bruce Levine, PhD

Krishna V. Komanduri, MD

SPEAKING FACULTY

Usman Azam, MD

Tmunity Therapeutics

Veronika Bachanova, MD, PhD 

University of Minnesota

Joseph A. Fraietta, PhD

Center for Advanced Cellular Therapies
University of Pennsylvania
Perelman School of Medicine

Philip J. Cross, MS

Philip J. Cross & Associates, Inc.

 

Anna Gilbert, ASQ CQA

BDO USA

Noelle Frey, MD, MSCE

Cell and Transplant Therapy Program
University of Pennsylvania

Elizabeth Hexner MD, MSTR

Abramson Cancer Center
University of Pennsylvania

Whitney Gladney, PhD

Center for Cellular Immunotherapies
University of Pennsylvania

Megan Kasimatis Singleton
JD, MBE, CIP

Office of Human Subjects Research
Johns Hopkins University

Wei-Ting Hwang, PhD

Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology
and Informatics (DBEI)
University of Pennsylvania

Peter Marks, MD, PhD

Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER)
U.S. Food & Drug Administration

Lester Lledo, MSN, CRN P

Penn Medicine, Center for Cellular Immunotherapies
University of Pennsylvania

Jos Melenhorst, PhD

Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
University of Pennsylvania

Shannon Maude, MD, PhD

Medical Director, Center for Cellular Immunotherapies
University of Pennsylvania

Donald M. O’Rourke, MD

The Abramson Cancer Center and
Perelman School of Medicine

Doug Olson, PhD

BUHLMANN Diagnostics Corp.
Cancer survivor and patient two in the initial CART 19 clinical trial

Johannes van der Loo, PhD

Center for Cellular & Molecular Therapeutics
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Elizabeth J. Shpall, MD

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

 Gabriela Plesa, MD, PhD

Center for Cellular Immunotherapies
University of Pennsylvania

SCHOLARS

Gabor Foldes
MD, PhD

Giulia Golinelli
PhD

Andrea Henden
MBBS(Hons), FRACP, FRCPA

Gaurav Sutrave
BSc(Med)/MBBS(Hons I), FRACP, FRCPA

Robert Myles Wright
MBBS

Saurabh Dahiya
 MBBS

Shoba A. Navai
MD

Shabnum Patel
PhD

Irene Scarfo
PhD

Frederico Simonette
MD, PhD

Mauro Castellarin
PhD

Saba Ghassemi
PhD

Philipp C Rommell
Dr.rer.nat

A Masterclass in CGT

The Grassroots Footprint of our Regional Model

In 2019, we revised our regional engagement practices across the globe, both to widen our footprint in the world and to engage specific needs in specific places within the field of Cell and Gene Therapy.

Our regional model is unique within the field of cell and gene therapy. Our membership benefits from the passionate involvement of local leadership across the globe, with independent initiative that is supported by our head office. Our committees conduct region-focused research, create partnerships with other organizations on a global scale, and host scientific meetings and sessions that continually push the field forward.

This is accomplished through the hard work of our five autonomous regional committees, and the support of ISCT’s global network. Throughout the year, the efforts of each committee have resulted in a series of productive scientific meetings, partnered joint sessions, and growth both in our membership and in our connection to the field. 

Events created by our regional committees are vital towards our efforts to coordinate scientific advancement, regulatory oversight, and innovative commercialization strategies at a global level. 

Here are some of the highlights from our regional committee events this year:

Steve Oh1

Steve Oh, PhD
Past Regional Co Vice-President, ISCT Asia
Singapore

Excitement and Challenges in Asia

The growth of immunotherapies has resulted in excitement and challenges in Asia. As these breakthrough therapies become widespread, challenges like the cost of goods, manufacturing, and critical quality attribute (CQA) issues will have to be addressed.

At the SCSS-ISCT Joint Meeting, “Frontiers in Cell Therapy,” presentations from ISCT experts like Ohad Karnelli, and Bruce Levine certainly drew delegate attention. Company presentations from partners like RoosterBio, BioSpherix, and X-Therma also provided practical and timely solutions for the field.

Three programmes from Singapore, funded at a total of S$80 million, were also highlighted at the event. In 2020, we expect to see some industry engagements being announced as a result of this significant investment by the Singapore government.

Showcasing Science Down Under

The ISCT ANZ-ASSCR-AGCTS Joint Scientific Meeting provided me with the wonderful opportunity to present our group’s work in targeted T cell immunotherapies to an engaged and dynamic group of peers. The conference size and format facilitated discussion between participants across disciplines. The scientific connections and discourse generated by presenting at this focused meeting will be invaluable to my professional development and future work.

I was honoured to be the recipient of an ISCT ANZ travel grant and award for highest scoring abstract. Regional opportunities such as the this grant are so important to early career researchers to facilitate the sharing of innovative work and continue to grow our community of expert, passionate scientific minds.

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Wei Jiang, PhD
Westmead Cellular Therapies Group
Australia

Our Regional Leaders

Oscar Lee, MD, PhD Regional Vice-President ISCT Asia

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Ngaire Elwood, PhD Regional Vice-President ISCT ANZ

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Joan Garcia-Lopez, MD, PhD Regional Vice-President ISCT Europe

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Lynn O’Donnell, PhD Regional Vice-President ISCT North America

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Patricia R.M. Rocco, MD, PhD Regional Vice-President ISCT SCA

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Oscar Lee, MD, PhD
Regional Vice-President
ISCT Asia

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Ngaire Elwood, PhD
Regional Vice-President
ISCT ANZ

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Joan Garcia-Lopez, MD, PhD
Regional Vice-President
ISCT Europe

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Lynn O’Donnell, PhD
Regional Vice-President
ISCT North America

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Patricia R.M. Rocco, MD, PhD
Regional Vice-President
ISCT SCA

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Boots on the ground

Cytotherapy, Rebranded

New Project (8)

Donald Phinney, PhD
Senior Editor, Cytotherapy
United States

Cutting edge research in the rapidly expanding fields of cell and gene therapy

Cytotherapy has undergone remarkable changes in aesthetic and content and celebrated a record impact factor in 2019. Building on this momentum, the Editorial Team is focused on continuing to increase the global influence of the journal by publishing cutting edge research in the rapidly expanding fields of cell and gene therapy. They are also working to further strengthen the relationship between the journal and ISCT by developing new initiatives, collaborations, and special features that highlight the important work done by its members. Through these efforts, we hope to see unprecedented rates of growth for both the journal and the society over the next few years.

New Look. New Editorial Board. New Impact.

2019 has been an exciting year for Cytotherapy. In June, our publication was rebranded on several levels. First, the look and feel of the journal has been updated to reflect its expanding focus. Photographs of cells, sourced from our society’s membership through the Insta-Your-Cells photo challenge, speak to a continuing commitment to engage with our community. 

The expertise of Cytotherapy has also shifted, with new additions to our editorial staff, and the clarification of the journal’s scope and submission guidelines. Cytotherapy, in line with the society’s vision towards more cohesive and committed communications, has developed upon its respectable foundations. 

In 2019, Cytotherapy‘s record impact factor of 4.297 was also reported for 2018. This number, derived from ScienceDirect, Elsevier’s online portal, measures “the average number of citations received in a particular year by papers published in the journal during the two preceding years” (Clarivate Analytics, 2019).