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ISCT awards London as city venue to host silver jubilee year cell therapy conference

Monday, August 8, 2016  
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Catherine Bollard becomes new ISCT President in two year role

Vancouver, Canada, August 8, 2016 - The International Society for Cellular Therapy (ISCT), the global society of clinicians, researchers, regulatory specialists, technologists, and industry partners dedicated to the translation of cellular therapy into safe and effective therapies to improve patients’ lives, today announces they have awarded London as the host city for the landmark ISCT 2017 Annual Meeting to be held on May 3-6, at ExCeL London Exhibition and Convention Centre, UK to celebrate the Society’s 25th silver jubilee year. More than 1,600 international delegates are expected to attend.

The event will be led by Dr. Catherine Bollard, MBChB, MD, the newly elected ISCT President, with the support of ISCT 2017 Co-Chairs Mark Lowdell, PhD, FRCPath, FRSB , Royal Free Hospital & University College London, UK, Miguel Forte, MD, PhD, TxCell, France and Katy Rezvani, MD, PhD, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, USA. Dr. Bollard is currently Professor of Pediatrics, Microbiology and Immunology at the George Washington University and Children’s National Health System, Washington, DC, USA. She will use her extensive experience as an award winning researcher, hematologist and immunologist with an extensive professional background spanning three continents, and multiple international committees to further advance ISCT’s mission and vision. She was elected by ISCT members in 2014 from a competitive slate of nominees and has served two years as President-Elect. She assumes the presidency from Massimo Dominici, MD, University Hospital of Modena & Reggio Emilia - Modena Policlinic, Modena, Italy. John Rasko, MBBS, PhD, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, Australia will serve as the new President-Elect.

 “The ISCT Annual Meeting in 2017, celebrating our 25th year as a Society, will be a critical event for the entire international cell therapy industry. Given the number of recent developments in the cell therapy industry in London and the UK, it is very important for ISCT to mark its silver jubilee year by meeting in the capital of the UK,” said Catherine Bollard, MBChB, MD, ISCT President. “2017 will be a transformative year for the cellular therapy industry, and it will be imperative to take advantage of opportunities to deliver therapies to an increasing number of patients. There are barriers to remove, regulatory pathways to smooth, and manufacturing decisions to be taken. This will require the collaborative efforts of everyone involved in academia, industry, and regulators where we need to come together with governments worldwide to realize the potential of the cellular therapy industry. London 2017 will be the perfect venue to discuss these critical developments in our field.”

The ISCT Annual Meeting will be a key highlight in a critically important year for the maturing field of cell therapy and an opportunity to benchmark the achievements in the cell therapy industry over ISCT’s 25 years. Internationally, there will be a considerable number of changes to the regulatory environment in 2017, specifically in the US, with the proposed REGROW legislation, as well as in the EU and Japan. Clinically in 2017, there will be a range of major filings of cell and gene therapy data, including in CAR-T, MSC and bone marrow modification. The London meeting will thus be a central venue for the industry to discuss these developments and shape an environment aimed at faster effective patient access to therapies.  

This is the first time ISCT has awarded the host venue status for its annual meeting to a city in the UK. A key reason London has been specifically selected from the shortlist of international cities for its silver jubilee meeting is because London plays a vital role in the cell therapy industry and has a long record of cellular research. It was in London in 1665 that Robert Hooke, a founding member of the Royal Society, was the first to identify the cell as the basic unit of life. Today, there is a broad range of preclinical and clinical cell therapy research currently taking place in the UK and specifically London. An important reason for this growth of cell therapy is the extensive support for the cell therapy industry by the UK government. In 2017, there will be a number of cell therapy developments in London, including the scheduled launch of the £55 million, 7,200m2 manufacturing centre by the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult and funded by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency. 

The ISCT silver jubilee year Annual Meeting is a unique global event for the cell therapy industry. It is set up to discuss and generate solutions to challenges of all areas of the international cell therapy industry, from preclinical to translational development to delivery of therapies to patients. The objective of the meeting is to help change the environment to move promising cell therapy research into practice and product via clinical trials, market access and commercialization. Plenary sessions will cover groundbreaking clinical studies and multiple tracks whilst smaller sessions will focus on commercialization, regulatory affairs, quality and operations, and technical challenges facing the field such as manufacturing, reimbursement, commercialization, market access and patient access.

The meeting will be led and contributed equally by all three main ISCT stakeholder groups - academia, industry and regulatory. It will be designed to cover all those involved in the cell therapy sector - including clinicians, researchers, regulators, technologists and industry partners. In addition, because of the potential importance of the cell therapy industry to the future of healthcare delivery and new treatments, representatives from international governments and leading healthcare industry figures will also be invited to attend and participate at the conference.

"It is an honour that London has been chosen to host next year's landmark conference. It is a testament to the UK's commitment to ground-breaking cell and gene therapies,” said Nicola Blackwood, Public Health Minister, UK Government. "Our world-leading research expertise, thriving cell therapy industry and NHS' unique ability to turn new therapies into patient benefit makes the UK a perfect testbed for the innovators of the future. Our reputation for the development and production of therapies in world-class facilities mean we are the perfect location for accessing markets globally."

About the International Society for Cellular Therapy

Established in 1992, the International Society for Cellular Therapy (ISCT) is a global society of clinicians, regulators, researchers, technologists and industry partners with a shared vision to translate cellular therapy into safe and effective therapies to improve patients’ lives worldwide.

ISCT is the global leader focused on pre-clinical and translational aspects of developing cell-based therapeutics, thereby advancing scientific research into innovative treatments for patients. ISCT offers a unique collaborative environment that addresses three key areas of translation: Academia, Regulatory and Commercialization. Through strong relationships with global regulatory agencies, academic institutions and industry partners, ISCT drives the advancement of research into standard of care.

Comprised of over 1300 cell therapy experts across five geographic regions and representation from over 50 countries, ISCT members are part of a global community of peers, thought leaders and organizations invested in cell therapy translation. For more information about the society, key initiatives and upcoming meetings, please visit: www.celltherapysociety.org, @ISCTglobal.

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