Feb 2017

Strategic Forum on cell therapies asks, ‘Where do we go from here?’

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What will it take to move regenerative medicine forward so that it can deliver more cures and treatments for age-old diseases?

That’s the subject of the First PanCanadian Strategic Forum on Cell and Gene Therapy to be held March 9 and 10 at the Westin Montreal.

“The cell and gene therapy ecosystem in Canada is coming to a level of maturity where we’re going to be ready to reap the fruit from it,” says Dr. Anne-Marie Alarco, former Chief Scientific Officer of CellCAN — Regenerative Medicine and Cell Therapy Network.  “But it’s not going to happen passively. We have to put action in place.”

CellCAN is organizing the Forum in partnership with the Centre for Commercialization of Cancer Immunotherapy (C3i) and BioCanRx.

There is a sense of urgency to begin harvesting the “low hanging fruit,” says Dr. Alarco.  Otherwise, she says, Canada could miss out.

Unlike the annual Till & McCulloch Meetings, which focus on the most recent scientific advances in cell therapies and regenerative medicine, the Strategic Forum will concentrate on what’s needed to move therapies into the clinic. Organizers expect to draw a range of academics, scientists, health agency representatives, government regulators, venture capitalists and business leaders from pharma and biotech.

“The idea is to bring together all the major stakeholders,” says Dr. Alarco, “to determine where we are in terms of cell therapies and gene therapies. We have all the elements for what we hope will be an interactive conversation.  Hopefully, we will come up with a number action items.”

Lectures and workshops will consider ways to overcome barriers to implementing cell and gene therapies in Canada; build on effective commercialization for the benefit of all Canadians; and identify reimbursement possibilities for developing novel therapies..

Keynote speaker Dr Janet Rossant, President & Scientific Director of the Gairdner Foundation and Chair of the steering committee of the Council of Canadian Academies Workshop on Regenerative Medicine. Their soon-to-be-released report was commissioned by the federal government.

As well, speakers from the United Kingdom, Japan and California will discuss steps taken in their jurisdictions to move the science from the researchers’ laboratories to the patients’ bedsides.

“It is the medicine of the future,” says Dr. Alarco. “We hope to have action items in for this to become a reality for Canadians.”



2 thoughts on “Strategic Forum on cell therapies asks, ‘Where do we go from here?’”

  1. Jon C. Hames says:

    Good day,
    I am Jon Hames residing in Atlanta Ga. USA.
    I have followed regenerative medicine for some time.
    My Wife Patricia Hames suffers with Neurothopy of the feet and hands. She is treated with Fentanyl transdermal system 50mcg/hr & nucynta100mg
    Masking the pain isn’t the answer. Her DR said in 20 years regenerative therapy will be common place. We would join in a Reserch program if one was offered close to our home, nothing seems to be available in the US. I did here of a DR when I called and got prices it sounded not on the
    up and up.

    1. Joe Sornberger says:

      Thanks for your comment, Jon. While progress is being made, there is still much work ahead.
      In the meantime, some clinics will offer unproven treatments. Our website has information on what to watch out for if you’re considering travelling somewhere for a stem cell treatment. You can find it here.

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