Awards & Recognition

Career Achievement Award

Career Achievement Award Trophy

About the Award

The ISCT Career Achievement Award was created in 2016 to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of cell and gene therapy, including to ISCT itself. ISCT recognizes that the field of cell and gene therapy depends upon multiple contributing sources, including academia, regulatory affairs (including quality operations), and industry. Each source represents a pillar upon which the organization stands.

Any member of ISCT may place a name in nomination for the award with supporting information outlining the rational for choosing the individual, their contributions to the field and the significance of those contributions. The nominees are reviewed and the most appropriate is selected by the ISCT Awards Sub-Committee. Final approval is by the ISCT Executive Committee.

The award itself is presented at the ISCT Annual Meeting and includes a crystal award, $2,500 cash, travel, lodging, and registration for the meeting.

2022 Award Recipient:
 











Robert A. Preti, PhD

Robert Preti, prior to his retirement, was Chief Strategy Officer, Minaris Life Sciences and GM/Chief Strategy Officer, Hitachi Chemical Corporation. In his 2019 ISCT Talking With Giants interview, Robert’s advice to those entering the field was ‘Keep the patient front and center and the mission stays clear’. As a founding member of ISCT and one of the most experienced and respected senior executives in cell and gene therapy he subsequently provided invaluable contributions to advance the growth of the society and the sector. This included creating links between ISCT and the FDA, establishing the first liaison meeting between the two organizations in 2004. He further broadened these links between regulators and the sector by providing early education of FDA regulations and guidance to the sector through ISCT Somatic Cell Therapy Meetings and cGMP workshops. He also played a key role in the development of the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT), the body establishing the standards and certifications for medical and laboratory practice in cell and gene therapy, as well as an industry association to drive the commercial development of advanced cell and gene-based therapies. Read Full Press Release

Eligibility Criteria: Nominees for the Career Achievement Award are considered eligible provided they fulfill the following criteria:

  • Practice in at least one of the three pillars of value of the Society: Academia, Regulatory (including Quality Operations), or Industry
  • Has contributed through long term service to the field of cell and gene therapy with distinction
  • The Award is open to all who have made significant contributions in the cell and gene therapy field. The Awardee must be an ISCT member at the time of public acceptance of the award 
  • Current  members of the ISCT Awards Committee and Board of Directors are not eligible to be nominated for the Award
  • Nominee must be an individual (institutions or organizations are not eligible for this award)
  • Previous Career Achievement Award winners are not eligible (see ISCT Awards page)
  • The Award shall not be conferred posthumously

Nomination and Selection Process

  1. Nominators
    1. The nominator must be a current ISCT member
    2. The nominator may not be a current member of the Awards Committee nor the Board of Directors
  2. Nominations may be submitted via the ISCT Awards online form below or emailed to isct@isctglobal.org before the deadline.
    1. Nominations must include:
      1. Name of nominee, designation and affiliations
      2. Name of nominator and contact details
      3. Rationale for nomination (achievements, impact of contributions to the field of cellular therapy, etc.) (< 500 words)
      4. CV and/or additional nomination materials may be requested by the Awards Committee.
  3. The deadline for nominations is January 31, 2022.
  4. The Awards Committee will evaluate candidates on their achievement(s) and overall contribution to and impact in the field of cell and gene therapy.
  5. A recommendation will be submitted by the Awards Committee to the Board of Directors for final consideration and approval.
  6. Selection of the Recipient will be made based solely on the merit of their scientific accomplishments without regard to race, gender, nationality or religious or political views. 

Past Recipients

Dr. Donald Kohn

The International Society for Cell & Gene Therapy is proud to present the 2021 Career Achievement Award to Donald Kohn, MD, for his service to the field throughout a dedicated career.

Dr. Donald Kohn is a world-recognized expert in blood stem cell treatments and gene therapy. Through decades of work as a clinical leader and scientific investigator, he has made significant contributions that have advanced the state of gene therapy, establishing landmarks in proof-of-concept for treatment in genetic blood diseases.

Dr. Kohn is credited with pioneering innovative clinical methods to treat genetic blood diseases, through modified blood stem cells, establishing a proven standard of care for Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID), otherwise known as “Bubble Baby” disease. “We are now treating infants and children with SCID using gene therapy and most are appreciating greatly improved well-being and are growing up healthy. That’s about as exciting as scientific research can get.” Beyond drastic improvements in the outcomes of over 50 pediatric patients, Dr. Kohn’s work has provided the clinical world with the groundwork to develop further blood-based gene therapies. Indeed, Dr. Kohn’s research continues to progress the field through trials targeting x-linked chronic granulomatous disease, and sickle cell disease – two conditions that have severe and lifelong effects on patients.

Looking back, Dr. Kohn describes the scientific advancements that enabled his groundbreaking research. “It’s important to recognize how many things come together to allow for a successful therapy. Leading up to my own work, I look back to discoveries in molecular biology – from the fundamentals in DNA structure to more recent innovations in gene cloning; retroviruses – including their identification, elucidation of provirus integration, and the development of viable vectors; hematopoietic stem cells – from identification to transplantation, transduction, and processing; and gene therapy – from the earliest theoreticians and practitioners – these advancements enabled the success of my team’s clinical research.” It goes without saying that developing the expertise needed to deploy such methods requires a breadth of experience.

Dr. Kohn’s early career aligned with the inception of gene therapy as a field. His early experiences included the combination of a residency focused on treatments in pediatric immunology, under the guidance of Dr. Richard Hong, and a fellowship in 1985 within the lab of Dr. Mike Blaese, which, coincidentally, was in the process of spearheading a research collaboration focused on SCID. Within this environment, Dr. Kohn would find himself working hands-on with one of the first retroviral vectors with the ability to effect gene editing in a T-cell line – resulting in a publication showcasing the early promise of gene therapy. Though there was no functional treatment yet developed, this early proof of concept would help build the groundwork for Dr. Kohn’s breakthrough years later.

Diversity of experience, Dr. Kohn notes, is key. For young professionals, he observes, “Attaining multidisciplinary training in cell biology, molecular biology, cell therapy, biostatistics and bioinformatics, bioengineering, clinical research, and so on, is a great way to prepare to get your hands on performing this kind of novel research.” Over the coming years, Dr. Kohn anticipates key breakthroughs in the precision and effectiveness for cell and gene-based therapeutics, perhaps stemming from developments in Cas9, Base Editors, and Primer Editors, among others. To those joining the field, he says, “Work hard, be nice to those around you, and enjoy it.” Dr. Kohn’s own early experiences demonstrate that finding new connections not only in scientific data, but also in between scientists themselves, and the teams they form, can build novel outcomes.  

Beyond his research, Dr. Kohn’s leadership in the field has demonstrated a consistent passion for the science, and for giving back to the community. Working across the field, Dr. Kohn has mentored over 50 early-career professionals, many of whom now have become key opinion leaders in their own right. He has held an extensive set of volunteer roles in multiple scientific societies, including serving as past president of ASGCT, the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy, and serving on the ISCT Immuno & Gene Therapy Committee.

Collaboration and selflessness have long been at the heart of Dr. Kohn’s work, and the great influence of his career on our global community speaks for itself. His dedicated contributions to his patients, colleagues, and to the field at large upholds the scientific spirit of giving back to the world.

For his contributions to scientific innovation, groundbreaking research, dedicated volunteer service, and devoted mentorship, ISCT is proud to present Dr. Donald Kohn with the 2021 ISCT Career Achievement Award.

Malcolm Brenner with his award

2020 ISCT Career Achievement Award in Cell & Gene Therapy:
Flexibility and Resilience Leads to Excellence in Clinical Research and Mentorship. 

The International Society of Cell & Gene Therapy is proud to present the 2020 Career Achievement Award to Malcolm K. Brenner, MD, PhD, FRCP, FRCPath!

Dr. Brenner is a premier clinical scientist whose career has been marked by a passion for excellence in research which was displayed during his leadership in some of the most advanced institutions globally in cell and gene therapy. Parallel to his scientific ambitions, Dr. Brenner also has a distinguished history of mentorship, most recently recognized through an award from the American Society of Hematology, and which can be attested to through an ever-growing list of mentees leading advancements in cell and gene therapy. Dr. Brenner’s notable contributions also include effective leadership in his roles as former president of both ISCT and the American Society for Gene & Cell Therapy (ASGCT).

The road to this point hasn’t always been smooth for Dr. Brenner – he has overcome some major obstacles along the way. Learn about how his flexibility and resilience have helped him get to where he is now.

The stage is 1970s England, at the birth of cell therapy as a field. Bone marrow transplantation as a clinical process was being pioneered, resulting in an interest in using the immune system as a vehicle for treating diseases.

In this context, a young Malcolm Brenner set out to research acquired immunodeficiency, seeing in this specialization a chance to succeed in both science and medicine. Yet, when the focus of his peers and his field shifted towards other interests following the identification of AIDS, Dr. Brenner found himself on the search for a new research focus where he could leverage his training in immunology.

This led to a fateful pivot in his focus, towards research in bone marrow transplantation. Since he had been trained for another field, he met with initial skepticism from employers when he sought to work in transplantation. However, he successfully found his way to a position as a pediatric hematologist, and from there, to a successful role as a medical coordinator in the developing field. In this role Dr. Brenner with his team, conducted ground-breaking research on the transfer of bone marrow stem cells.

In these early days of transplantation therapy, Dr. Brenner found himself fascinated with the connections between transplanting bone marrow, and gene therapy – both processes which he saw as pathways to permanent cures for a range of disorders, rather than symptom-based treatments. Yet, striving to advance further, Dr. Brenner found a barrier in the regulatory gaps in the United Kingdom in the late 1980s.

"I have never enjoyed being subjected to excessive regulation, and the increasing sclerosis of many aspects of our professional lives is certainly a disservice to our patients, but clearly any new scientific and medical strategy as potentially controversial as gene therapy needed to be discussed and agreed upon by all stakeholders before it could begin." (Brenner 564)

To address this, Dr. Brenner found himself preparing for another pivot in his career. He would move to the United States, where regulatory forethought had set the stage for gene therapy’s advancement. Though initially meeting with further roadblocks, Brenner’s persistence and network eventually resulted in his leading the rebirth of the stem cell transplant program at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis,TN.

The pursuit of efficient and safe uses and vectors for gene therapy became a major focus of Dr. Brenner’s work. Notably, he and his colleagues published a breakthrough paper in 1993 on the use of gene-marking to track the outcomes of cells in order to further understand patient outcomes after the use of stem cell transplantation treatments. In doing so, they unlocked pathways to further research and safer practices around T-cell therapy and provided some of the much-needed groundwork for successful CAR-T treatments.

In 1998, Dr. Brenner and several colleagues were recruited to the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston TX. Since then, in his roles as Director, then Founding Director, of the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy at the College, Dr. Brenner has spearheaded significant breakthroughs in deploying CAR-T treatments to target solid tumours, as well as to treat pediatric malignancies. Most recently, he has focused specifically on addressing the toxicity of CAR-T treatments by focusing on the iC9 safety switch which has led to successful clinical trials and regulatory approval.

Malcolm Brenner's list of mentees with their stated academic positionDr. Brenner’s pioneering work on bone marrow stem cells in the early 1990s marked a promising development for cell therapy as a growing field, and his research today has followed up with significant advancements that will lead to safe and effective development of cell and gene therapy in the future.. Throughout his time working with research centers in the United Kingdom, and later the United States, Dr. Brenner combined his interest in the implications of immunotherapy approaches with his passion for mentoring a generation of clinical and research scientists in the implementation of this exciting new field of medical practice. His laboratory and clinical teams have produced numerous talented practitioners who have held leadership positions in the field and in this society. 

“I was very fortunate to experience a contrast of both outstanding and ineffective mentorship throughout my career and that of my wife. Seeing the difference that mentors made to our careers taught and inspired me throughout my own efforts to mentor newcomers to the field.”

Malcolm Brenner's list of mentees with their stated industry position or industry and academia positionDr. Brenner’s contributions to the field are manifold and lifelong – he has worked to advance the field from the position of leadership across multiple scientific societies. His mentorship of young professionals has earned him distinguished recognition, and he continues to conduct and lead hands-on investigations as Founding Director of the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy at Baylor College of Medicine.

ISCT is proud to honour this distinguished colleague for his contributions to the field and to those who work within it, and we offer our warmest congratulations to Dr. Malcolm K. Brenner.

Headshot of John Barrett

2019 ISCT Career Achievement Award in Cell & Gene Therapy

Growing up in London, England, a young John Barrett was fascinated by human evolution and dreamed about becoming a paleontologist travelling to Africa to dig up prehuman fossils. 

“But paleontology did not show up in any university curriculum and my mother said, ‘Why don’t you go into medicine instead? They always want doctors on expeditions,’” he recalls. “Reluctant at first, as I started seeing patients, I soon realized what a fantastic all-absorbing profession it is.”

He laughs softly.

“And I guess my dream did work out – my career has had its fair share of adventure – and I certainly travel a lot,” he adds.

Mr. Barrett is the recipient of the distinguished 2019 ISCT Career Achievement Award in Cell & Gene Therapy. This recognition is awarded to an individual who has made a significant impact during their career, advancing the field of cell and gene therapy through their longstanding service in one of the Society’s Three Pillars of Value: Academia, Regulatory/Quality Operations, and Commercialization.

The George Washington University Hospital professor is being recognized for his many years of dedication and passion to the Society, particularly as the respected Senior Editor of the Cytotherapy journal for 17 years (“It’s grown in size and importance.”) as well as the visionary co-founder of the ISCT-ASBMT Cell Therapy Training Course (“I’m so proud of what it has become.”) which has set the gold standard in mentorship and training opportunities for the next generation of cell and gene therapy professionals.

“This award is very special to me,” he says. “I have been with ISCT even before it was called ISCT. This organization is my favourite professional society and the one I feel closest to. So, it’s very gratifying and its a very good feeling that the Society has recognized me in this way. I really do appreciate that.”

Mr. Barrett says it has been an exciting experience watching cell and gene therapy evolve and grow since he entered the field in the late 60s when he went to medical school at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London.

“Most of the important events in cell and gene therapy have happened during my professional lifetime,” he says. “In 1970, I was involved with my first bone marrow transplant which was a highly experimental procedure at the time. It was the excitement of seeing the success of a transplant in a child with immune deficiency that really got me started, and I’ve been in the field ever since. A lot has happened since then.”

John Barrett on stage with fellow colleagues

Both professionally and personally, Mr. Barrett says that working with ISCT has enriched his life and career.

“It’s benefitted my life in many ways,” he reflects. “There is a practical nature to the goals of the ISCT – you’re doing the science, but at the same time developing ways to apply treatments to the patient. The whole structure of cell and gene therapies is very complicated and we need ISCT to help us navigate that structure. Personally, ISCT has been a place where I have made so many friendships and where I have met many inspiring, professional colleagues in the field from around the world.”

Headshot of Nancy Collins

Profile

2018 ISCT Career Achievement Award in Cell &Gene Therapy

The ISCT Career Achievement Award was created in 2016 to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of cellular therapy, including to ISCT itself. ISCT recognizes that the field of cellular therapy depends upon multiple contributing sources, including academia, regulatory affairs (including quality operations), and industry. Each source represents a pillar upon which the organization stands. Any member of ISCT may place a name in nomination for the award with supporting information outlining the rational for choosing the individual, their contributions to the field and the significance of those contributions. The nominees are reviewed and the most appropriate is selected by the ISCT Awards Sub-Committee. Final approval is by the ISCT Executive Committee. The award itself is presented at the ISCT Annual Meeting and includes a crystal award, $2,500 cash, travel, lodging, and registration for the meeting.

I am honored to have been asked to write an article describing the many reasons why Nancy H. Collins, PhD, was selected as the third recipient of the ISCT Career Achievement Award. She received this prestigious award on May 3, 2018 at the ISCT annual meeting in Montreal. Nancy is well-suited for this award as illustrated by her many contributions to the field of cellular therapy, from the early days of bone marrow transplantation where she literally defined the role of Laboratory Facility Director, through to the present. She played a pivotal role in the transplant program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), where she was the laboratory director from 1982 to 2007. She not only directed the laboratory, she taught BMT clinical and research fellows (including me), and attending physicians how to do the processing procedure, which was a lengthy and very complicated, multi-step process, while maintaining sterility. She worked side by side with her students every minute until (and often even after) they had mastered the process to ensure all went according to SOP. The patient research I was doing at the time on posttransplant immune reconstitution was performed around the clinical processing, which always had priority. The weariness of the long days and late nights on transplant days was offset by the strong and long-lasting friendships that developed between the program members sharing those hoods.

Indeed, it was largely the efforts of Nancy herself that brought me into the field of cellular therapy in 1984. I was finishing up my PhD in Microbiology and Immunology at Wake Forest University and was presenting my work defining the major histocompatibility complex of theCynomolgus monkey at a scientific meeting. There I was approached by the Histocompatibility Laboratory Director at MSKCC who wanted to put me in contact with Richard J. O’Reilly, the BMT program director. Richard was using the Cynomolgus monkey as a transplant model and wanted a way to determine when (or if) engraftment had occurred. While I spoke initially with Richard, it was Nancy Collins who set up the collaboration with me. From the time I mentioned that I might like to do my post doctorial fellowship in blood and marrow transplantation, rather than becoming a histocompatibility laboratory director as I had intended, she called me weekly to encourage me to come to New York. It was Nancy who convinced me how much better it would be to work in a new field where both histocompatibility and immunology were critically important. She taught me what translational research meant, and the satisfaction of being part of a team that was doing both research and saving patients’ lives.

That was the start of my relationship with Nancy Collins. She has been a trusted colleague and friend ever since. It was after I had moved on that Nancy became very concerned that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was planning to regulate the field. Having come from a transplant program that was all about research and making transplant better, she was particularly sensitive to the danger than if not done correctly, FDA oversight could impede progress. It was this concern that Nancy together with Adrian Gee (the recipient of last year’s award) started the process of creating a society that was focused on cellular therapy for clinical applications as well as clinical research. The focus would be to standardize practices using the expertise of those knew the most about it. This effort began in 1991 shortly after I started a new job as the Cellular Processing Laboratory Director at the Medical College of Wisconsin. I was very busy getting the lab in order there, as Nancy had taught me, but much like my initial recruitment as a post doc, she kept me informed and solicited my involvement in creating this new society. It was not just me she recruited into action, but many other colleagues as well. One of Nancy great strengths is her outgoing personality, and the effort she makes to establish personal relationships with her colleagues. She is always happy to help others and is willing to share her experience and expertise, which is why when Nancy calls to ask for help it is hard to say no.

Once ISCT (or then known as ISHAGE) was established, she in her role as the founding president helped initiate the writing of laboratory standards. So as with ISCT Itself, Nancy played a major role in the creation of the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT), which was jointly founded by ISCT and the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (ASBMT) to be an independent body that would complete development of laboratory and clinical standards. Here too she was founding member of the FACT board of directors. Nancy was instrumental in recruiting individuals from other cell processing laboratories to be actively involved in these efforts. The volunteer effort to peer regulate and standardize the cellular therapy field goes on today. Throughout the early 1990’s ISCT also made a concerted effort to inform FDA by participating in private meetings and attending CBER sponsored workshops to ask and answer questions. Although FDA did institute the CFR1271 GTP regulations for cellular therapy products, those regulations were not in conflict with the FACT standards that Nancy helped to create, indicating that the efforts at communication were effective.

Nancy Collins holding award while standing with fellow colleagues

Nancy has really done it all and has given so much of her time and effort to advancing our field. To clearly appreciate her effort it is worthwhile to show a selected list of her involvement that includes:

  • Director of the Allogeneic Stem Cell Facility/Cytotherapy Laboratory at MSKCC (1980-2007), 27 years
  • ISCT
    • Founding President (1993-1995)
    • Chair Board of Directors (1996-1997)
    • Regulatory Action Group (1995-2000)
    • Co-editor-in-chief of the society journals, J. Hematotherapy/Cytotherapy (1991-2002), editorial board (1991-present) 
    • Participation in the organizing committees of ISCT annual meetings (N=4), regional meetings (N=3) and Somatic Cell Therapy Symposium (N=1)
    • Outreach Committee for North American Legal and Regulatory Affairs (2014-present)
  • FACT (1995-2015)
    • Founding member of the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy
      (1995)
    • Board of directors (1996-2009), 14 years
    • Inspector (1996-2015), 19 years
      • Cellular Therapy Laboratory inspector, 19 years
      • FACT/NETCORD Cord Blood Bank Laboratory inspector, 16 years
      • More than minimal manipulation inspector, 3 years
    • Standards Development (2000-2011), 11 years
      • Cellular Therapy and Cord Blood standards committees, served as member or co-chair
      • Overall chair of the 4th edition of both Cellular Therapy and Cord Blood Standards
    • FACT Inspector and Facility Training Workshop presenter (multiple)
    • FACT Cellular Therapy Accreditation Committee (1995-2015)
    • FACT Cord Blood Accreditation Committee (2006-2015)
    • FACT Quality Management Committee and Quality Manual Committee (2008-present)
    • FACT representative to multi-institutional Circular of Information for the Use of Cellular Therapy Products Committee (2007-2014)
  • AABB Cellular Therapy Standards Committee (2007-2009)
  • National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP)
    • Standards Committee Chair (1999-2000)
    • Research and Publications Committee (2001-2005)
    • Awards Committee (2001-2005)
    • Multi-center study PI (2003-2005)
  • Professor, University of Toledo, Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology and Chair, Women’s Programs Initiative, University of Toledo Health Science Campus. Part time (2007-2011) 
    • Assisting creation of autologous transplant laboratory
    • BOD of the altruistic kidney donor organization
  • Professor, University of Toledo, Dept of Medicine, Community Volunteer Faculty (2011-present)
  • Leadership roles mentoring and development of women in science
  • United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) (2005-2010)
    • Cell and Gene Therapy Expert Committee
    • Representative to Cellular Devices Working Group of ISCT
  • National Institute of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) (1997-2008)
    • Data Safety and Monitoring Board, Cord Blood Transplant Program
    • Graft Characterization Subcommittee, NHLBI T Cell Depletion Trial
    • External Review Board, Production Assistance for Cellular Therapies (PACT Group)
    • BMT Clinical Trials Network Laboratory SOP Development Committee
  • FACT Consulting Service (2015-present)

In addition to this long list of service to the Cellular Therapy community, Nancy has also found time to devote to women’s issues, including the Association for Women in Science (AWIS). She has been involved in AWIS membership committees, the organizing of workshops for female high school students interested in becoming scientists, and as might be expected, served on the steering committee of her local AWIS chapter.

Given her central role in the MSKCC program, Nancy was integral to the scientific advances made while she was serving as the Laboratory Director. She is a co-author in 44 peer reviewed publications from that period. She has additionally authored 33 monographs or reviews, many of which are methods, or guidance for FACT standards.

Believe it or not, Nancy has also found the time to devote to her husband of 49 years, Gene, their two children, Tyler and Sarah, and 4 grandchildren. Nancy is always happy to show off the grandchildren, and forget tiny digital pictures on the phone, she brings a stack of prints. We have maintained a good friendship though the years, even though we live so far apart. That is the good thing about the cellular therapy community, we get to see each other at meetings and since she recruited me into so many of the same activities she helped to create, Nancy and I don’t go too long without being on the same conference call or in the same location. I was always impressed with how difficult it was to walk through a meeting with her, when you really needed to get to the next session. She was stopped every few feet by colleagues all of whom wanted to catch up and of course, needed to see the latest pictures of the grandchildren.

As you can see from the list of her activities and contributions, Nancy really did not slow down very much after retiring from MSKCC, indeed she then had even more time to devote to the organizations that she had helped to establish. Even now she continues to contribute to the field as a FACT consultant, and remains an active member of ISCT.

I am so pleased that Nancy was selected to receive the third ISCT Career Achievement Award. I know it meant a lot to her to be recognized by her peers for all that she accomplished. She has served as a positive role model for so many of us, both peers and for the younger members of our profession. Congratulations Nancy H. Collins, PhD, you have made us all proud.

Carolyn A. Keever-Taylor, PhD
Professor of Medicine (Retired)
Medical College of Wisconsin
United States

Headshot of Adrian Gee

Profile

2017 ISCT Career Achievement Award in Cell & Gene Therapy

The International Society for Cellular Therapy (ISCT), the global society of clinicians, researchers, regulatory specialists, technologists and industry partners in the cell therapy sector, today announces that Adrian Gee Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at the Baylor College of Medicine in Texas, US, and Director of the Clinical Applications Laboratory at the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy, is to be awarded the 2017 ‘ISCT Career Achievement Award in Cellular Therapy’. Mr. Gee will receive the award at the ISCT 2017 Annual Meeting in London, May 3-6, as part of the Society’s 25th anniversary celebrations.

The 2017 annual award was drawn from a shortlist of eight nominees proposed from the 1,300 international members of ISCT based in over 50 countries. The final decision was made by the ISCT Awards Committee, comprising eight international senior figures across the cell therapy sector.

Adrian Gee with his award and standing with his colleagues

“The work and achievements of Mr. Gee are ingrained in the fabric of the entire cell therapy industry. This includes founding the society that became ISCT. He authored what is considered today a definitive guide to the field – ‘Cell Therapy: cGMP Facilities and Manufacture’. His opinion is still sought by everyone in the sector, up to and including regulators such as the FDA,” said Catherine Bollard, President, ISCT. “The award selection panel recognized that Mr. Gee has had a tireless career of achievement in every aspect of the cell therapy sector, building and running one of the world’s largest academic cGMP facilities that has produced viral vectors and engineered cells for thousands of patients all over the world. At the same time he has published high impact papers on almost every aspect of cellular therapy. It has also been noted by the Awards Committee that he voluntarily mentored members of the cell therapy industry throughout his career. His contribution to the cell therapy industry has been vital, and ISCT, at its own landmark 25th anniversary, is thrilled to recognize his achievements as an educator, scientist and researcher with this award.”

Mr. Gee was one of three founding members of ISCT, originally named the International Society of Hematotherapy and Graft Engineering (ISHAGE) in 1991. He was instrumental in growing the Society in its first eight years.

Mr. Gee has authored or co-authored 157 articles in refereed journals and 43 books, in addition to contributing to 100 other papers. He has selflessly served on over 35 boards and committees for charities, publications, academic institutions, advisory groups and research organizations since 1984. Ten international societies owe a debt to Mr. Gee as he has either founded the organization or been invited to sit on their Board of Directors. He has received 13 international awards in nearly 45 years, served as a consultant for 15 organizations, advised numerous industry organizations, and presented at leading industry and academic conferences for over 30 years.

Headshot of Darwin Prockop

2016 ISCT Career Achievement Award in Cell & Gene Therapy

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 Dr. Darwin J. Prockop, M.D., Ph.D. will be awarded the inaugural ‘ISCT Career Achievement Award in Cellular Therapy’. Dr. Prockop will receive the award at the ISCT 2016 Annual Meeting in Singapore, May 25 - 28, where he will be presenting on “The Exciting Prospects of New Therapies with Mesenchymal  Stromal Cells” in the Presidential Plenary session.

The annual award is drawn from a shortlist of nominees from the over 1,300 international members of ISCT based in over 50 countries. The final decision is made by the ISCT Awards Committee, comprising 8 international senior figures across the cell therapy sector. Dr. Prockop was proposed by Daniel Weiss, M.D., Ph.D. Professor of Medicine, Pulmonary Medicine Department of Medicine, University of Vermont and Donald Phinney, Ph.D. Acting Chairman, Department of Molecular Therapeutics, Scripps Research Institute.

“Dr Prockop is the grandfather of cellular therapy research in particular on mesenchymal progenitors, such as MSC. The ISCT Awards Committee was in unanimous agreement that Dr. Prockop should receive this inaugural award before anyone else,” said Massimo Dominici, M.D. ISCT President. “He has contributed so much over such a long and active career to stem cell research that the cell therapy landscape would look completely different without his involvement. He has single handedly inspired a whole generation of young scientists, myself included. I am delighted that ISCT will recognize his achievements and career in the upcoming ISCT Annual Meeting in Singapore.”

Dr. Darwin Prockop has so far had a distinguished career of 63 years. Since receiving the Fulbright scholarship at Oxford University in 1953, he has most notably been inducted as a member of a member of the Academy of Finland in 1990, the National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine (USA) in 1991, the National Academy of Medicine (USA) in 1992 and the National Academy of Inventors (USA) in 2015. He has authored or co-authored over 600 papers, and been cited over 44,000 times.

Darwin Prockop is a Professor of Molecular and Cellular Medicine and the Stearman Chair in Genomic Medicine in the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, where he also serves as Director of the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at Scott & White Hospital in Temple, Texas. He received his A.B. in Philosophy from Haverford College in 1951 and a M.A. in Animal Physiology from Brasenose College at Oxford University in 1953. He was awarded his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1956. He has worked at the National Institutes of Health from 1956-1961 while earning a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from George Washington University. He rose to rank of professor at the School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania from 1961-72. He was Chair of Biochemistry at University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey from 1972-1986. He was also Chair of Biochemistry and Director of the Jefferson Institute for Molecular Medicine at Jefferson Medical College from 1986-1996, Director of the Center for Gene Therapy at Hahnemann/Allegheny/Drexel from 1996-2000 and Director of the Center for Gene Therapy at Tulane University Health Science Center from 2000-2008.

Dr. Prockop is one of a few select scientists that has achieved notoriety in two different disciplines - biochemistry and stem cell research.  He studied Collagen I and II mutations in humans, specifically relevantly adding discoveries in studying Collagen I in bone. He discovered a genetic mutation causing some cases of osteoarthritis. He was a pioneer in  recognizing the role of mesenchymal stromal/stem cells (MSC) as tissue progenitors and discovered possible uses of these cells to treat bone diseases in humans hypothesizing that these cells can restore damaged tissues also by producing ‘humoral factors’.

Dr. Prockop speaking on stage

Dr. Prockop’s work on collagen spans protein structure and function relationships to molecular genetics and has contributed to novel treatment options for collagen-related diseases. He developed sensitive methods to detect mutations in collagen genes, and established a genetic testing center within his laboratory that screened patients suspected of having rare connective tissue-related diseases including brittle bone disease (osteogenesis imperfecta) and Marfan syndrome.

Dr. Prockop established the first MSC-centric scientific meetings in 2001 through a partnership with the International Society of Cell Therapy (ISCT), believed to provide the spark that ignited the MSC field. Dr. Prockop’s pioneering work opened many new avenues of investigation in the field including use of MSCs for treating neurological diseases, spinal cord injury and lung diseases. Darwin continues to be a strong advocate for MSCs in the scientific community, continues to call for responsible conduct of human clinical trials, and continues to publish thought provoking and ground breaking studies in the field.

“Dr. Prockop, who has been conducting scientific research for over five decades, continues to exhibit amazing productivity and is an inspiration to all scientists.  His vibrant enthusiasm for scientific discovery remains infectious, and he possesses an unending desire to mentor young people.  Even in the face of a natural disaster – Hurricane Katrina destroyed his research labs in 2005 – he persevered by demonstrating unrivaled leadership skills,” said Donald G. Phinney, Acting Chairman, Department of Molecular Therapeutics, Scripps Research Institute.  Dr. Phinney, who nominated Dr. Prockop for the award, is a former faculty member at the Center for Gene Therapy in New Orleans, which Dr. Prockop directed from 2000-2008.