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Unlocking Complex Cell-based Gene Therapies: A Joint Workshop Hosted by PICI and FOCR

On Monday, May 6, PICI hosted “Unlocking Complex Cell-based Gene Therapies,” a joint workshop with Friends of Cancer Research, in Washington, DC. PICI extends its gratitude to the distinguished speakers, experts, panelists and attendees who drove a substantive dialogue during the event. The collaborative discussions unveiled critical perspectives into strategies for propelling cell-based gene therapies forward.

Highlights included:

  • Carl June, MD, Center Director for the PICI Center at the University of Pennsylvania, who presented data on over 1,500 CAR T patients showing very low rates of treatment-related secondary cancers, emphasizing CAR T’s favorable safety profile for patients with advanced cancer.
  • Insights from PICI Center Directors like Alex Marson, MD, PhD, Center Director for the PICI Center at the Gladstone Institutes, who walked through some of the spectacular technological advancements in the field and the benefits this progress could offer to patients if applied in a safe and effective manner. Additionally, Crystal Mackall, MD, Center Director for the PICI Center at Stanford and Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD, Center Director for the PICI Center at UCLA, brought clarity to key issues as moderators of discussions on accelerating progress with engineered T-cell therapies.
  • Presentations and discussions with world-leading experts like PICI Investigator Phil Greenberg, MD, of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, and PICI Collaborator Marcela Maus, MD, PhD, of Massachusetts General Hospital, who covered important topics including approaches to leveraging T cell heterogeneity.
  • Discussions on advancing novel cell and gene therapy approaches with FDA leaders, including: Peter Marks, MD, PhD, Director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) at the U.S. FDA; Namandjé Bumpus, PhD, Principal Deputy Commissioner, U.S. FDA; Nicole Verdun, MD, CBER, U.S. FDA; Iwen Wu, PhD, CBER, U.S. FDA; Asha Das, MD, CBER, U.S. FDA; and Anna Kwilas, PhD, CBER, U.S. FDA.
  • Perspectives from patient advocates Rick Bangs, Desiree Walker, Tom Whitehead of the Emily Whitehead Foundation and Chris White on the patient experience.
  • Key takeaways from the workshop, provided by PICI, emphasizing the importance of continuing to fiercely collaborate to improve outcomes for patients and achieve scientific advances. 

The event showcased the power of PICI’s commitment to breaking down barriers across the field in support of our mission to turn all cancers into curable diseases. Thank you to everyone who helped make the meeting a success. 

Missed the workshop? Watch it here.