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ISCT ANZ 2022 Regional Meeting Wrap Up


ISCT ANZ 2022 Regional Meeting Wrap Up

Jessica Sue, MSc, MHSM (ISCT Global ESP Committee, ISCT ANZ ESP Committee Co-Chair)
Sydney Cord Blood Bank
Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network, Australia
Madison Paton, PhD (ISCT Global ESP Committee, ISCT ANZ ESP Committee Co-Chair)
Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Institute
The University of Sydney, Australia

The 2022 International Society for Cell & Gene Therapy, Australia and New Zealand (ISCT ANZ) Regional Meeting was held on the 4th-5th August at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. We thank all those who could attend, as it was a great opportunity to finally hear in-person updates from ISCT members and supporters.

Day 1 of the meeting brought us highlights from research and development, regulation, cell and gene therapies and manufacturing. This included an update on Asia’s role as an emerging market of regenerative medicine from Professor Bryan Choi, ISCT Asia Regional Vice President (VP) and past ISCT Global President Professor John Rasko’s deep-dive into all things gene technology regulation. The midday session brought the most tweeted part of the event, with ISCT Early Stage Professionals (ESPs) taking the stage. We heard from ISCT ANZ ESP Committee Chairs Jessica and Madison and were welcomed with supportive sentiment on the importance of supporting our up-and-coming members from ISCT Global President Professor Jacques Galipeau alongside ISCT ANZ Regional VP Dr. Zlatibor Velickovic and ANZ Regional VP-Elect Dr. Emily Blyth.

The afternoon was welcomed by updates in preclinical research and paths to translating regulatory T-cell, CAR-T and MSC-derived therapies. The final session brought insights from industry and academia in cell and gene therapy clinical trials for graft-versus-host disease and cancers. We highlight presentations from Dr. Cheryl Hutchins on her journey through a phase I clinical trial of CAR-T cells manufactured at bedside, and Dr Heather Main and her experience at the Karolinska Institute working in development of Sweden’s first hPSC-AMP. We also heard from research working towards successful translation of neural stem cells and cell candidates and process optimization.

Day 1 wrapped up with a successful Networking Event that provided an opportunity for members to join the ISCT ANZ ESP Committee and an important chance for ISCT members to reconnect in-person.

Day 2 focused on regulatory, quality, workforce and commercialization. To start, Associate Professor Ngaire Elwood and Dr Zlatibor Velickovic provided a comprehensive overview of FACT and what facilities can expect during FACT inspections (including some useful tips for a smooth and successful outcome), and Dr. Gabrielle O’Sullivan gave an update from the ISCT ANZ Legal and Regulatory Affairs committee. Other presentations in the session provided an overview of real-world navigation of regulatory requirements in the manufacturing and clinical cell therapy spaces. Following this, the workforce development session saw presenters representing both the private and public sectors cover topics such as workforce issues and training, with audience questions leading to robust discussions, including what role ISCT could play in the training and development of the cell and gene therapy workforce.

The afternoon session pivoted to a panel discussion format led by Dr. Janet Macpherson, where industry professionals from Brandon Capital, Carina Biotech, Rob McInnes IP Advisory, Biopharma Excellence, Pfizer Worldwide R&D and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute discussed commercialization pathways for cell and gene therapies. The final session of the conference gave attendees an overview of applying cell therapies in the clinical setting, with presenters discussing CAR-T therapy for B-cell malignancies and multiple myeloma, and Dr. Jason Butler giving a single centre experience of CD-19 CAR-T cell therapies.

We would like to especially thank the event organizers and sponsors (Networking event: QIMR Berghofer, Q-Gen Cell Therapeutics; Plenery: ThermoFisher Scientific; Emerging Technologies: bioMérieux; Commercialization: GenScript ProBio; Exhibitors: Miltenyi Biotec, Charles River, Rapid Micro Biosystems; Morning and afternoon tea: Gilead; Young Investigator Award: Miltenyi Biotec) for a successful 2022 Regional Meeting. For those who can make it, ISCT 2023 will be held in Paris, France, from May 31st to June 3rd, 2023!

And, congratulations to the best abstract awardees in the categories of oral and poster presentations:

Best ESP Presentation: Dr. Tessa Gargett, ‘Modelling CAR-T cell infiltration and tumour control/escape in glioblastoma’

Best Oral Presentation (tie 1st place): Dr. Clare Slaney, ‘Enhancing CAR-T cell therapy by enabling their interaction with antigen-presenting cells’

Best Oral Presentation (tie 1st place): Adaeze Precious Ekwe, ‘Clinical scale expansion of FACS-sorted Regulatory T Cells (Tregs) for phase 1 clinical trial’

Best Poster: Parul Saini, ‘WT-1 specific TCR cells for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia’

You can scroll through all the social media highlights by searching: @ISCTGlobal, #ISCTANZ2022, @ISCT_ESP, #ISCT_ESP

Creative credit for images: Robert Owe-Young