Exploring the Future of Cell and Gene Therapy: Highlights from Momentum in Cell and Gene Therapy Symposium 2024

The inaugural Momentum in Cell and Gene Therapy Symposium, held on June 19, 2024, in Evry-Courcouronnes, France, brought together a distinguished assembly of leading researchers, clinicians, industry personnel, students and investors. Organized jointly by SK pharmteco and ART-TG, this symposium marked a significant milestone in advancing the future of cell and gene therapies.

Setting the Vision

Joerg Ahlgrimm, CEO of SK pharmteco, and Dr. Anne Galy, founder of ART-TG, opened the symposium with a shared vision of fostering robust ecosystems centered around patient needs. Ahlgrimm highlighted the crucial role of continuous investment in innovation in the cell and gene therapy space.

The morning session began with a keynote address by Dr. Bruce Levine, the Barbara and Edward Netter Professor in Cancer Gene Therapy at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Levine’s compelling insights into translating cutting-edge therapies into life-changing patient outcomes struck a chord with attendees. He shared inspiring cases of patients who have remained cancer-free for 12 to 14 years following their cell therapy treatments, underscoring the transformative potential of these advancements. His message emphasized the urgent need to expand and accelerate these successes in cell therapy.

Morning Session: Advancements in CAR-T Cell Therapies

Chaired by Dr. Bruce Levine and Dr. Jaime Fuentealba, the morning session focused on the latest developments in CAR-T cell therapies, highlighting critical advancements aimed at improving treatment outcomes across challenging conditions.

  • Jaime Fuentealba, Ph.D., CellAction: Addressed advancements in CAR-T cell therapy for Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma (PCNSL), a life-threatening condition with limited treatment options and poor prognosis. His presentation highlighted innovative approaches aimed at enhancing CAR-T cell potency, safety, and specificity tailored for PCNSL characteristics.

  • Emmanuel Donnadieu, Ph.D., Cochin Institut: Explored critical aspects of CAR-T cell therapy, including resistance mechanisms encountered during treatment and predictive toxicology using ex vivo human models. Novel methods such as organotypic tumor slices and newly developed preclinical assays were discussed to monitor T cell activity and assess CAR-T cell reactivity against healthy tissues, crucial for improving therapeutic outcomes.

  • Professor Ibrahim Yakoub-Agha, MD, Ph.D., Lille CHU: Discussed strategies and challenges in enhancing point-of-care production of CAR-T cells, essential for reducing cost of goods to improve therapy accessibility.

  • Anne Galy, Pharm.D., Ph.D., ART-TG: Highlighted innovative applications of CAR-T cells beyond oncology, focusing on reducing fibrosis and enhancing gene therapy efficacy. The development of novel CAR constructs, including mFAP-CAR T cells using third-generation CAR technology, showcased promising results in reducing fibrosis and enhancing gene transfer efficacy in muscle tissues.

  • John Lee, Ph.D., MBA, SK pharmteco: Gave an overview to the evolution of Cell Therapy from its origins, driven by foundational discoveries in cellular biology. The therapeutic landscape now includes sophisticated treatments tailored to individual patients, marking a paradigm shift towards personalized medicine.

Afternoon Session: Next-Generation Cell and Gene Therapies

Dr. Michael Hudecek, from Wurtzburg University, opened the afternoon session with a keynote presentation that delved into the latest advancements in engineered T-cell therapies, highlighting achievements within European networks. His presentation highlighted various collaborative initiatives propelling scientific advancements in the CAR-T field, particularly offering cutting-edge insights into the significance of vector design concerning the issue of unintended cryptic splicing.
The session, chaired by Dr. Philippe Ménasché and Dr. Els Verhoeyen, delved into cutting-edge advancements and challenges in next-generation cell and gene therapies.

  • Philippe Ménasché, MD, Cardiovascular Research Center: Explored the therapeutic potential of extracellular vesicles (EVs) for cardiac repair, highlighting achievements in GMP-compliant production and preliminary safety profiles observed in clinical trials. Despite technical complexities, EV-based therapies represent a versatile approach in regenerative medicine for tailored disease management.

  • Els Verhoeyen, Ph.D., INSERM Lyon: Addressed challenges in gene therapy vector design and the urgent need for new lentiviral vector pseudotypes. Innovations such as nanoblades for efficient gene editing in blood stem cells and organoids were discussed, emphasizing enhanced precision and versatility in gene therapy applications.

  • Jean-Luc Perfettini, Ph.D., INSERM Paris: Presented advancements in phagocytosis-guided myeloid cell therapy for cancer treatment, targeting innate immunity to convert “cold” tumors into responsive targets for immunotherapy. The strategy involves lentiviral gene therapy for engineering autologous monocytes, demonstrating potential across various cancer types.

  • Professor Annelise Bennaceur, MD, INSERM University Paris Saclay: Explored novel immunotherapies leveraging pluripotent stem cells to enhance cross-immunity against cancer stemness, showcasing promising avenues for personalized cancer treatment.

Industry Insights and Closing Remarks

Audrey Greenberg, Chief Marketing Officer at SK pharmteco, concluded the symposium 2024 by examining Philadelphia’s biotech ecosystem as a model for global collaboration in delivering cell and gene therapies. The symposium also featured presentations covering emerging applications and innovations:

  • Bernd Schmidt, Sensorion: Explored gene therapy applications in hearing disorders, showcasing advancements in addressing auditory health challenges.
  • David Sourdive, Ph.D., Cellectis: Discussed Cellectis’ innovations in allogeneic CAR-T products and advanced smart cells, highlighting transformative approaches in personalized medicine.

Conclusion

Despite its promise, cell therapy faces significant hurdles that must be addressed including scalability, manufacturing complexities, high costs, and regulatory considerations. Momentum 2024 facilitated discussions on these challenges, proposing collaborative solutions through academia-industry partnerships and regulatory advancements. As cell and gene therapies continue to redefine medical possibilities, events like Momentum play a crucial role in driving the future of cell and gene therapies.

Scroll to Top

Enter your details to access Marketing Materials