The International Society for Cell & Gene Therapy (ISCT) has a vision – to translate cell and gene research into safe and effective therapies to improve patients’ lives worldwide. Queenie Jang, CEO, explains….
Established in 1992, the ISCT is a global society of over 2300 clinicians, regulators, researchers, technologists and industry partners. Driven by volunteer leaders across the spectrum of clinical translation, ISCT has over 40 committees that build and propel expertise in the academic, regulatory, and commercial domains of the cell and gene therapy field. Regional executive committees examine key interest areas and advancements around the globe, and focus on building connections and partnerships with regionally based cell and gene therapy organisations.
Through its peer reviewed journal, Cytotherapy, and its suite of educational programs and its Annual and Regional Meetings, ISCT curates scientific expertise, awareness, knowledge and mentorship. Members benefit from webinars showcasing subject matter from expert leaders and have a history of leadership in cell and gene therapies. By fostering scientific and clinical expertise, ISCT helps to advance the translation of therapies from bench to bedside.
ISCT regulatory interests are driven by several groups, including its Presidential Task Force on the Use of Unproven/Unethical Cellular and Gene Therapies, which strives to build integrity in the sector by providing advisories and publications for public interest and expert advice for sector stakeholders. ISCT also spearheads the Cell Therapy Liaison Meeting, an annual gathering of stakeholder organisations that serve in an advisory capacity to the United States FDA and Health Canada on developments and concerns in the sector.
The ISCT Industry Community is comprised of leading biotech/pharma, supplier, and CDMO/CRO organisations. It drives the commercialisation strategy and addresses the challenges to the commercialisation of cell and gene therapy, bringing together opinion leaders from across the translational value chain to tackle these challenges.
Commercial benefits to members
ISCT has a history with labs and industry, reflected in its roles in co-founding theFoundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT), and the Joint Accreditation Committee of ISCT-Europe and EBMT (JACIE). Accreditation by either of these bodies indicates an organisation’s commitment to peer-developed standards at the height of cellular therapy and equips such organisations with the confidence of medical professionals, third-party payers and regulators.
Since its inception the society has had a strong contingent of laboratory professionals, who have shared expertise in the development of resources that include: the Laboratory Lifeline Forum, a dedicated presentation track at Annual and Regional meetings, a joint bootcamp held with FACT on quality and operations, and a member-exclusive database of templates and best practice reference guides called BEACON.
Through these initiatives, ISCT promotes workflow optimisation, quality assurance, and lab management and practices. The society considers workforce development for laboratory leaders and technologists as a key objective for the success of the field. As such, ISCT continually pushes for the recruitment and engagement of lab members.
Challenges and opportunities in the sector
ISCT has aligned its strategic vision to meet key demands in the sector, including the education and development of a trained workforce of laboratory leaders and technologists, as well as the development of effective communications pipelines that reach the CGT community, government and stakeholder groups, and the public.
Volume 21, Issue 4 – Fall 2020