Strategic Forum 2019 Conference Report
There were tremendous advances since our first forum in 2017. The Canadian experience and comfort with cell production have grown exponentially, and we are making remarkable progress every year to treat a growing number of diseases and develop safer and more efficient treatments. We cannot slow down! We must intensify our efforts because it is only a matter of time before Canadians have broad access to the most innovative and safe therapies available. This is one of the major conclusions of the second CellCAN pan-Canadian Strategic Forum, Cell & Gene Therapy Revolution: Time to Gown Up!
Organized in partnership with the C3i Center (formerly known as the Center for Commercialization of Cancer Immunotherapy) and the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM), the 2019 edition spoke to the practical experiences here and abroad. How can manufacturing, characterization and delivery of cell therapies be better optimized and made affordable? The 3-day conference revealed that things are definitely coming to fruition in Canada, and that through collaboration, we have the ability to mold the future.
The preconference, hosted by the C3i Center, covered the role of biomarkers in supporting GMP manufacturing, how to characterize the response to CAR-Ts and other cellular therapies, and the importance of companion testing and patient stratification in the era of personalized medicine.
The main program covered some fascinating innovations (off-the-shelf therapies, FailSafe™ kill switch, and others), the evolution of cancer immunotherapy and regenerative medicine clinical trials, addressed various strategies such as techniques to reduce the cost of goods, and demystified the agile framework behind our evolving regulations. It also identified ways to facilitate and accelerate access to cell and gene therapies for patients in Canada and abroad.
We know these innovative therapies are within our reach, as the first commercial therapies that have received approval in Canada. Check out the 2019 Conference Report for a summary of the plenary talks and panel discussions, and learned more about the key messages and key questions identified to move forward.