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Archive for the ‘Clinical Genomics’ Category

Emergence of a new SARS-CoV-2 variant from GR clade with a novel S glycoprotein mutation V1230L in West Bengal, India

Authors: Rakesh Sarkar, Ritubrita Saha, Pratik Mallick, Ranjana Sharma, Amandeep Kaur, Shanta Dutta, Mamta Chawla-Sarkar

Reporter and Original Article Co-Author: Amandeep Kaur, B.Sc. , M.Sc.

Abstract
Since its inception in late 2019, SARS-CoV-2 has evolved resulting in emergence of various variants in different countries. These variants have spread worldwide resulting in devastating second wave of COVID-19 pandemic in many countries including India since the beginning of 2021. To control this pandemic continuous mutational surveillance and genomic epidemiology of circulating strains is very important. In this study, we performed mutational analysis of the protein coding genes of SARS-CoV-2 strains (n=2000) collected during January 2021 to March 2021. Our data revealed the emergence of a new variant in West Bengal, India, which is characterized by the presence of 11 co-existing mutations including D614G, P681H and V1230L in S-glycoprotein. This new variant was identified in 70 out of 412 sequences submitted from West Bengal. Interestingly, among these 70 sequences, 16 sequences also harbored E484K in the S glycoprotein. Phylogenetic analysis revealed strains of this new variant emerged from GR clade (B.1.1) and formed a new cluster. We propose to name this variant as GRL or lineage B.1.1/S:V1230L due to the presence of V1230L in S glycoprotein along with GR clade specific mutations. Co-occurrence of P681H, previously observed in UK variant, and E484K, previously observed in South African variant and California variant, demonstrates the convergent evolution of SARS-CoV-2 mutation. V1230L, present within the transmembrane domain of S2 subunit of S glycoprotein, has not yet been reported from any country. Substitution of valine with more hydrophobic amino acid leucine at position 1230 of the transmembrane domain, having role in S protein binding to the viral envelope, could strengthen the interaction of S protein with the viral envelope and also increase the deposition of S protein to the viral envelope, and thus positively regulate virus infection. P618H and E484K mutation have already been demonstrated in favor of increased infectivity and immune invasion respectively. Therefore, the new variant having G614G, P618H, P1230L and E484K is expected to have better infectivity, transmissibility and immune invasion characteristics, which may pose additional threat along with B.1.617 in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in India.

Reference: Sarkar, R. et al. (2021) Emergence of a new SARS-CoV-2 variant from GR clade with a novel S glycoprotein mutation V1230L in West Bengal, India. medRxiv. https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.05.24.21257705https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.05.24.21257705v1

Other related articles were published in this Open Access Online Scientific Journal, including the following:

Fighting Chaos with Care, community trust, engagement must be cornerstones of pandemic response

Reporter: Amandeep Kaur

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2021/04/13/fighting-chaos-with-care/

T cells recognize recent SARS-CoV-2 variants

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2021/03/30/t-cells-recognize-recent-sars-cov-2-variants/

Need for Global Response to SARS-CoV-2 Viral Variants

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2021/02/12/need-for-global-response-to-sars-cov-2-viral-variants/

Identification of Novel genes in human that fight COVID-19 infection

Reporter: Amandeep Kaur, B.Sc., M.Sc.

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2021/04/19/identification-of-novel-genes-in-human-that-fight-covid-19-infection/

Mechanism of Thrombosis with AstraZeneca and J & J Vaccines: Expert Opinion by Kate Chander Chiang & Ajay Gupta, MD

Reporter & Curator: Dr. Ajay Gupta, MD

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2021/04/14/mechanism-of-thrombosis-with-astrazeneca-and-j-j-vaccines-expert-opinion-by-kate-chander-chiang-ajay-gupta-md/

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2021 Virtual World Medical Innovation Forum, Mass General Brigham, Gene and Cell Therapy, VIRTUAL May 19–21, 2021

The 2021 Virtual World Medical Innovation Forum will focus on the growing impact of gene and cell therapy. Senior healthcare leaders from all over look to shape and debate the area of gene and cell therapy. Our shared belief: no matter the magnitude of change, responsible healthcare is centered on a shared commitment to collaborative innovation–industry, academia, and practitioners working together to improve patients’ lives.

About the World Medical Innovation Forum

Mass General Brigham is pleased to present the World Medical Innovation Forum (WMIF) virtual event Wednesday, May 19 – Friday, May 21. This interactive web event features expert discussions of gene and cell therapy (GCT) and its potential to change the future of medicine through its disease-treating and potentially curative properties. The agenda features 150+ executive speakers from the healthcare industry, venture, startups, life sciences manufacturing, consumer health and the front lines of care, including many Harvard Medical School-affiliated researchers and clinicians. The annual in-person Forum will resume live in Boston in 2022. The World Medical Innovation Forum is presented by Mass General Brigham Innovation, the global business development unit supporting the research requirements of 7,200 Harvard Medical School faculty and research hospitals including Massachusetts General, Brigham and Women’s, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Spaulding Rehab and McLean Hospital. Follow us on Twitter: twitter.com/@MGBInnovation

Accelerating the Future of Medicine with Gene and Cell Therapy What Comes Next

https://worldmedicalinnovation.org/agenda/

Virtual | May 19–21, 2021

#WMIF2021

@MGBInnovation

Leaders in Pharmaceutical Business Intelligence (LPBI) Group

will cover the event in Real Time

Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

Founder LPBI 1.0 & LPBI 2.0

member_60221522 copy

will be in virtual attendance producing the e-Proceedings

and the Tweet Collection of this Global event expecting +15,000 attendees

@pharma_BI

@AVIVA1950

LPBI’s Eighteen Books in Medicine

https://lnkd.in/ekWGNqA

Among them, books on Gene and Cell Therapy include the following:

Topics for May 19 – 21 include:

Impact on Patient Care – Therapeutic and Potentially Curative GCT Developments

GCT Delivery, Manufacturing – What’s Next

GCT Platform Development

Oncolytic Viruses – Cancer applications, start-ups

Regenerative Medicine/Stem Cells

Future of CAR-T

M&A Shaping GCT’s Future

Market Priorities

Venture Investing in GCT

China’s GCT Juggernaut

Disease and Patient Focus: Benign blood disorders, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases

Click here for the current WMIF agenda  

Plus:

Fireside Chats: 1:1 interviews with industry CEOs/C-Suite leaders including Novartis Gene Therapies, ThermoFisher, Bayer AG, FDA

First Look: 18 briefings on emerging GCT research from Mass General Brigham scientists

Virtual Poster Session: 40 research posters and presenters on potential GCT discoveries from Mass General Brigham

Announcement of the Disruptive Dozen, 12 GCT technologies likely to break through in the next few years

AGENDA

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

8:00 AM – 8:10 AM

Opening Remarks

Welcome and the vision for Gene and Cell Therapy and why it is a top Mass General Brigham priority. Introducer: Scott Sperling

  • Co-President, Thomas H. Lee Partners
  • Chairman of the Board of Directors, PHS

Presenter: Anne Klibanski, MD

  • CEO, Mass General Brigham

3,000 people joined 5/19 morning

30 sessions: Lab to Clinic,  academia, industry, investment community

May 22,23,24, 2022 – in Boston, in-person 2022 WMIF on CGT 8:10 AM – 8:30 AM

The Grand Challenge of Widespread GCT Patient Benefits

Co-Chairs identify the key themes of the Forum –  set the stage for top GCT opportunities, challenges, and where the field might take medicine in the future. Moderator: Susan Hockfield, PhD

  • President Emerita and Professor of Neuroscience, MIT

GCT – poised to deliver therapies

Inflection point as Panel will present

Doctors and Patients – Promise for some patients 

Barriers for Cell & Gene

Access for patients to therapies like CGT Speakers: Nino Chiocca, MD, PhD

  • Neurosurgeon-in-Chief and Chairman, Neurosurgery, BWH
  • Harvey W. Cushing Professor of Neurosurgery, HMS

Oncolytic virus triple threat: Toxic, immunological, combine with anti cancer therapies

Polygenic therapy – multiple genes involved, plug-play, Susan Slaugenhaupt, PhD

  • Scientific Director and Elizabeth G. Riley and Daniel E. Smith Jr., Endowed Chair, Mass General Research Institute
  • Professor, Neurology, HMS

Ravi Thadhani, MD

  • CAO, Mass General Brigham
  • Professor, Medicine and Faculty Dean, HMS

Role of academia special to spear head the Polygenic therapy – multiple genes involved, plug-play, 

Access critical, relations with IndustryLuk Vandenberghe, PhD

  • Grousbeck Family Chair, Gene Therapy, MEE
  • Associate Professor, Ophthalmology, HMS

Pharmacology Gene-Drug, Interface academic centers and industry

many CGT drugs emerged in Academic center 8:35 AM – 8:50 AM FIRESIDE

Gene and Cell Therapy 2.0 – What’s Next as We Realize their Potential for Patients

Dave Lennon, PhD

  • President, Novartis Gene Therapies

Hope that CGT emerging, how the therapies work, neuro, muscular, ocular, genetic diseases of liver and of heart revolution for the industry 900 IND application 25 approvals Economic driver Skilled works, VC disease. Modality one time intervention, long duration of impart, reimbursement, ecosystem to be built around CGT

FDA works by indications and risks involved, Standards and expectations for streamlining manufacturing, understanding of process and products 

payments over time payers and Innovators relations Moderator: Julian Harris, MD

  • Partner, Deerfield

Promise of CGT realized, what part?

FDA role and interaction in CGT

Manufacturing aspects which is critical Speaker: Dave Lennon, PhD

  • President, Novartis Gene Therapies

Hope that CGT emerging, how the therapies work, neuro, muscular, ocular, genetic diseases of liver and of heart revolution for the industry 900 IND application 25 approvals Economic driver Skilled works, VC disease. Modality one time intervention, long duration of impart, reimbursement, ecosystem to be built around CGT

FDA works by indications and risks involved, Standards and expectations for streamlining manufacturing, understanding of process and products 

payments over time payers and Innovators relations

  • Q&A 8:55 AM – 9:10 AM  

8:55 AM – 9:20 AM

The Patient and GCT

GCT development for rare diseases is driven by patient and patient-advocate communities. Understanding their needs and perspectives enables biomarker research, the development of value-driving clinical trial endpoints and successful clinical trials. Industry works with patient communities that help identify unmet needs and collaborate with researchers to conduct disease natural history studies that inform the development of biomarkers and trial endpoints. This panel includes patients who have received cutting-edge GCT therapy as well as caregivers and patient advocates. Moderator: Patricia Musolino, MD, PhD

  • Co-Director Pediatric Stroke and Cerebrovascular Program, MGH
  • Assistant Professor of Neurology, HMS

What is the Power of One – the impact that a patient can have on their own destiny by participating in Clinical Trials Contacting other participants in same trial can be beneficial Speakers: Jack Hogan

  • Patient, MEE

Jeanette Hogan

  • Parent of Patient, MEE

Jim Holland

  • CEO, Backcountry.com

Parkinson patient Constraints by regulatory on participation in clinical trial advance stage is approved participation Patients to determine the level of risk they wish to take Information dissemination is critical Barbara Lavery

  • Chief Program Officer, ACGT Foundation

Advocacy agency beginning of work Global Genes educational content and out reach to access the information 

Patient has the knowledge of the symptoms and recording all input needed for diagnosis by multiple clinicians Early application for CGTDan Tesler

  • Clinical Trial Patient, BWH/DFCC

Experimental Drug clinical trial patient participation in clinical trial is very important to advance the state of scienceSarah Beth Thomas, RN

  • Professional Development Manager, BWH

Outcome is unknown, hope for good, support with resources all advocacy groups, 

  • Q&A 9:25 AM – 9:40 AM  

9:25 AM – 9:45 AM FIRESIDE

GCT Regulatory Framework | Why Different?

  Moderator: Vicki Sato, PhD

  • Chairman of the Board, Vir Biotechnology

Diversity of approaches

Process at FDA generalize from 1st entry to rules more generalizable  Speaker: Peter Marks, MD, PhD

  • Director, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, FDA

Last Spring it became clear that something will work a vaccine by June 2020 belief that enough candidates the challenge manufacture enough and scaling up FDA did not predicted the efficacy of mRNA vaccine vs other approaches expected to work

Recover Work load for the pandemic will wean & clear, Gene Therapies IND application remained flat in the face of the pandemic Rare diseases urgency remains Consensus with industry advisory to get input gene therapy Guidance  T-Cell therapy vs Regulation best thinking CGT evolve speedily flexible gained by Guidance

Immune modulators, Immunotherapy Genome editing can make use of viral vectors future technologies nanoparticles and liposome encapsulation 

  • Q&A 9:50 AM – 10:05 AM  

9:50 AM – 10:15 AM

Building a GCT Platform for Mainstream Success

This panel of GCT executives, innovators and investors explore how to best shape a successful GCT strategy. Among the questions to be addressed:

  • How are GCT approaches set around defining and building a platform?
  • Is AAV the leading modality and what are the remaining challenges?
  • What are the alternatives?
  • Is it just a matter of matching modalities to the right indications?

Moderator: Jean-François Formela, MD

  • Partner, Atlas Venture

Established core components of the Platform Speakers: Katherine High, MD

  • President, Therapeutics, AskBio

Three drugs approved in Europe in the Gene therapy space

Regulatory Infrastructure exists for CGT drug approval – as new class of therapeutics

Participants investigators, regulators, patients i. e., MDM 

Hemophilia in male most challenging

Human are natural hosts for AV safety signals Dave Lennon, PhD

  • President, Novartis Gene Therapies

big pharma has portfolios of therapeutics not one drug across Tx areas: cell, gene iodine therapy 

collective learning infrastructure features manufacturing at scale early in development Acquisitions strategy for growth # applications for scaling Rick Modi

  • CEO, Affinia Therapeutics

Copy, paste EDIT from product A to B novel vectors leverage knowledge varient of vector, coder optimization choice of indication is critical exploration on larger populations Speed to R&D and Speed to better gene construct get to clinic with better design vs ASAP 

Data sharing clinical experience with vectors strategies patients selection, vector selection, mitigation, patient type specific Louise Rodino-Klapac, PhD

  • EVP, Chief Scientific Officer, Sarepta Therapeutics

AAV based platform 15 years in development same disease indication vs more than one indication stereotype, analytics as hurdle 1st was 10 years 2nd was 3 years

Safety to clinic vs speed to clinic, difference of vectors to trust

  • Q&A 10:20 AM – 10:35 AM  

10:20 AM – 10:45 AM

AAV Success Studies | Retinal Dystrophy | Spinal Muscular Atrophy

Recent AAV gene therapy product approvals have catalyzed the field. This new class of therapies has shown the potential to bring transformative benefit to patients. With dozens of AAV treatments in clinical studies, all eyes are on the field to gauge its disruptive impact.

The panel assesses the largest challenges of the first two products, the lessons learned for the broader CGT field, and the extent to which they serve as a precedent to broaden the AAV modality.

  • Is AAV gene therapy restricted to genetically defined disorders, or will it be able to address common diseases in the near term?
  • Lessons learned from these first-in-class approvals.
  • Challenges to broaden this modality to similar indications.
  • Reflections on safety signals in the clinical studies?

Moderator: Joan Miller, MD

  • Chief, Ophthalmology, MEE
  • Cogan Professor & Chair of Ophthalmology, HMS

Retina specialist, Luxturna success FMA condition cell therapy as solution

Lessons learned

Safety Speakers: Ken Mills

  • CEO, RegenXBio

Tissue types additional administrations, tech and science, address additional diseases, more science for photoreceptors a different tissue type underlying pathology novelties in last 10 years 

Cell therapy vs transplant therapy no immunosuppressionEric Pierce, MD, PhD

  • Director, Ocular Genomics Institute, MEE
  • Professor of Ophthalmology, HMS

Laxterna success to be replicated platform, paradigms measurement visual improved

More science is needed to continue develop vectors reduce toxicity,

AAV can deliver different cargos reduce adverse events improve vectorsRon Philip

  • Chief Operating Officer, Spark Therapeutics

The first retinal gene therapy, voretigene neparvovec-rzyl (Luxturna, Spark Therapeutics), was approved by the FDA in 2017.Meredith Schultz, MD

  • Executive Medical Director, Lead TME, Novartis Gene Therapies

Impact of cell therapy beyond muscular dystrophy, translational medicine, each indication, each disease, each group of patients build platform unlock the promise

Monitoring for Safety signals real world evidence remote markers, home visits, clinical trial made safer, better communication of information

  • Q&A 10:50 AM – 11:05 AM  

10:45 AM – 10:55 AM

Break

  10:55 AM – 11:05 AM FIRST LOOK

Control of AAV pharmacology by Rational Capsid Design

Luk Vandenberghe, PhD

  • Grousbeck Family Chair, Gene Therapy, MEE
  • Associate Professor, Ophthalmology, HMS

AAV a complex driver in Pharmacology durable, vector of choice, administer in vitro, gene editing tissue specificity, pharmacokinetics side effects and adverse events manufacturability site variation diversify portfolios,

Pathway for rational AAV rational design, curated smart variant libraries, AAV  sequence screen multiparametric , data enable liver (de-) targeting unlock therapeutics areas: cochlea 

  • Q&A 11:05 AM – 11:25 AM  

11:05 AM – 11:15 AM FIRST LOOK

Enhanced gene delivery and immunoevasion of AAV vectors without capsid modification

Casey Maguire, PhD

  • Associate Professor of Neurology, MGH & HMS

Virus Biology: Enveloped (e) or not 

enveloped for gene therapy eAAV platform technology: tissue targets and Indications commercialization of eAAV 

  • Q&A 11:15 AM – 11:35 AM  

11:20 AM – 11:45 AM HOT TOPICS

AAV Delivery

This panel will address the advances in the area of AAV gene therapy delivery looking out the next five years. Questions that loom large are: How can biodistribution of AAV be improved? What solutions are in the wings to address immunogenicity of AAV? Will patients be able to receive systemic redosing of AAV-based gene therapies in the future? What technical advances are there for payload size? Will the cost of manufacturing ever become affordable for ultra-rare conditions? Will non-viral delivery completely supplant viral delivery within the next five years?What are the safety concerns and how will they be addressed? Moderators: Xandra Breakefield, PhD

  • Geneticist, MGH, MGH
  • Professor, Neurology, HMS

Florian Eichler, MD

  • Director, Center for Rare Neurological Diseases, MGH
  • Associate Professor, Neurology, HMS

Speakers: Jennifer Farmer

  • CEO, Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance

Ataxia requires therapy targeting multiple organ with one therapy, brain, spinal cord, heart several IND, clinical trials in 2022Mathew Pletcher, PhD

  • SVP, Head of Gene Therapy Research and Technical Operations, Astellas

Work with diseases poorly understood, collaborations needs example of existing: DMD is a great example explain dystrophin share placedo data 

Continue to explore large animal guinea pig not the mice, not primates (ethical issues) for understanding immunogenicity and immune response Manny Simons, PhD

  • CEO, Akouos

AAV Therapy for the fluid of the inner ear, CGT for the ear vector accessible to surgeons translational work on the inner ear for gene therapy right animal model 

Biology across species nerve ending in the cochlea

engineer out of the caspid, lowest dose possible, get desired effect by vector use, 2022 new milestones

  • Q&A 11:50 AM – 12:05 PM  

11:50 AM – 12:15 PM

M&A | Shaping GCT Innovation

The GCT M&A market is booming – many large pharmas have made at least one significant acquisition. How should we view the current GCT M&A market? What is its impact of the current M&A market on technology development? Are these M&A trends new are just another cycle? Has pharma strategy shifted and, if so, what does it mean for GCT companies? What does it mean for patients? What are the long-term prospects – can valuations hold up? Moderator: Adam Koppel, MD, PhD

  • Managing Director, Bain Capital Life Sciences

What acquirers are looking for??

What is the next generation vs what is real where is the industry going? Speakers:

Debby Baron,

  • Worldwide Business Development, Pfizer 

CGT is an important area Pfizer is active looking for innovators, advancing forward programs of innovation with the experience Pfizer has internally 

Scalability and manufacturing  regulatory conversations, clinical programs safety in parallel to planning getting drug to patients

Kenneth Custer, PhD

  • Vice President, Business Development and Lilly New Ventures, Eli Lilly and Company

Marianne De Backer, PhD

Head of Strategy, Business Development & Licensing, and Member of the Executive Committee, Bayer

Absolute Leadership in Gene editing, gene therapy, via acquisition and strategic alliance 

Operating model of the acquired company discussed , company continue independence

Sean Nolan

  • Board Chairman, Encoded Therapeutics & Affinia

Executive Chairman, Jaguar Gene Therapy & Istari Oncology

As acquiree multiple M&A: How the acquirer looks at integration and cultures of the two companies 

Traditional integration vs jump start by external acquisition 

AAV – epilepsy, next generation of vectors 

  • Q&A 12:20 PM – 12:35 PM  

12:15 PM – 12:25 PM FIRST LOOK

Gene Therapies for Neurological Disorders: Insights from Motor Neuron Disorders

Merit Cudkowicz, MD

  • Chief of Neurology, MGH

ALS – Man 1in 300, Women 1 in 400, next decade increase 7% 

10% ALS is heredity 160 pharma in ALS space, diagnosis is late 1/3 of people are not diagnosed, active community for clinical trials Challenges: disease heterogeneity cases of 10 years late in diagnosis. Clinical Trials for ALS in Gene Therapy targeting ASO1 protein therapies FUS gene struck youngsters 

Q&A

  • 12:25 PM – 12:45 PM  

12:25 PM – 12:35 PM FIRST LOOK

Gene Therapy for Neurologic Diseases

Patricia Musolino, MD, PhD

  • Co-Director Pediatric Stroke and Cerebrovascular Program, MGH
  • Assistant Professor of Neurology, HMS

Cerebral Vascular disease – ACTA2 179H gene smooth muscle cell proliferation disorder

no surgery or drug exist –

Cell therapy for ACTA2 Vasculopathy  in the brain and control the BP and stroke – smooth muscle intima proliferation. Viral vector deliver aiming to change platform to non-viral delivery rare disease , gene editing, other mutations of ACTA2 gene target other pathway for atherosclerosis 

  • Q&A 12:35 PM – 12:55 PM  

12:35 PM – 1:15 PM

Lunch

  1:15 PM – 1:40 PM

Oncolytic Viruses in Cancer | Curing Melanoma and Beyond

Oncolytic viruses represent a powerful new technology, but so far an FDA-approved oncolytic (Imlygic) has only occurred in one area – melanoma and that what is in 2015. This panel involves some of the protagonists of this early success story.  They will explore why and how Imlygic became approved and its path to commercialization.  Yet, no other cancer indications exist for Imlygic, unlike the expansion of FDA-approved indication for immune checkpoint inhibitors to multiple cancers.  Why? Is there a limitation to what and which cancers can target?  Is the mode of administration a problem?

No other oncolytic virus therapy has been approved since 2015. Where will the next success story come from and why?  Will these therapies only be beneficial for skin cancers or other easily accessible cancers based on intratumoral delivery?

The panel will examine whether the preclinical models that have been developed for other cancer treatment modalities will be useful for oncolytic viruses.  It will also assess the extent pre-clinical development challenges have slowed the development of OVs. Moderator: Nino Chiocca, MD, PhD

  • Neurosurgeon-in-Chief and Chairman, Neurosurgery, BWH
  • Harvey W. Cushing Professor of Neurosurgery, HMS

Challenges of manufacturing at Amgen what are they? Speakers: Robert Coffin, PhD

  • Chief Research & Development Officer, Replimune

2002 in UK promise in oncolytic therapy GNCSF

Phase III melanoma 2015 M&A with Amgen

oncolytic therapy remains non effecting on immune response 

data is key for commercialization 

do not belief in systemic therapy achieve maximum immune response possible from a tumor by localized injection Roger Perlmutter, MD, PhD

  • Chairman, Merck & Co.

response rates systemic therapy like PD1, Keytruda, OPTIVA well tolerated combination of Oncolytic with systemic 

GMP critical for manufacturing David Reese, MD

  • Executive Vice President, Research and Development, Amgen

Inter lesion injection of agent vs systemic therapeutics 

cold tumors immune resistant render them immune susceptible 

Oncolytic virus is a Mono therapy

addressing the unknown Ann Silk, MD

  • Physician, Dana Farber-Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center
  • Assistant Professor of Medicine, HMS

Which person gets oncolytics virus if patient has immune suppression due to other indications

Safety of oncolytic virus greater than Systemic treatment

series biopsies for injected and non injected tissue and compare Suspect of hot tumor and cold tumors likely to have sme response to agent unknown all potential 

  • Q&A 1:45 PM – 2:00 PM  

1:45 PM – 2:10 PM

Market Interest in Oncolytic Viruses | Calibrating

There are currently two oncolytic virus products on the market, one in the USA and one in China.  As of late 2020, there were 86 clinical trials 60 of which were in phase I with just 2 in Phase III the rest in Phase I/II or Phase II.   Although global sales of OVs are still in the ramp-up phase, some projections forecast OVs will be a $700 million market by 2026. This panel will address some of the major questions in this area:

What regulatory challenges will keep OVs from realizing their potential? Despite the promise of OVs for treating cancer only one has been approved in the US. Why has this been the case? Reasons such have viral tropism, viral species selection and delivery challenges have all been cited. However, these are also true of other modalities. Why then have oncolytic virus approaches not advanced faster and what are the primary challenges to be overcome?

  • Will these need to be combined with other agents to realize their full efficacy and how will that impact the market?
  • Why are these companies pursuing OVs while several others are taking a pass?

Moderators: Martine Lamfers, PhD

  • Visiting Scientist, BWH

Challenged in development of strategies 

Demonstrate efficacyRobert Martuza, MD

  • Consultant in Neurosurgery, MGH
  • William and Elizabeth Sweet Distinguished Professor of Neurosurgery, HMS

Modulation mechanism Speakers: Anlong Li, MD, PhD

  • Clinical Director, Oncology Clinical Development, Merck Research Laboratories

IV delivery preferred – delivery alternative are less aggereable Jeffrey Infante, MD

  • Early development Oncolytic viruses, Oncology, Janssen Research & Development

oncologic virus if it will generate systemic effects the adoption will accelerate

What areas are the best efficacious 

Direct effect with intra-tumor single injection with right payload 

Platform approach  Prime with 1 and Boost with 2 – not yet experimented with 

Do not have the data at trial design for stratification of patients 

Turn off strategy not existing yetLoic Vincent, PhD

  • Head of Oncology Drug Discovery Unit, Takeda

R&D in collaboration with Academic

Vaccine platform to explore different payload

IV administration may not bring sufficient concentration to the tumor is administer  in the blood stream

Classification of Patients by prospective response type id UNKNOWN yet, population of patients require stratification

  • Q&A 2:15 PM – 2:30 PM  

2:10 PM – 2:20 PM FIRST LOOK

Oncolytic viruses: turning pathogens into anticancer agents

Nino Chiocca, MD, PhD

  • Neurosurgeon-in-Chief and Chairman, Neurosurgery, BWH
  • Harvey W. Cushing Professor of Neurosurgery, HMS

Oncolytic therapy DID NOT WORK Pancreatic Cancer and Glioblastoma 

Intra- tumoral heterogeniety hinders success 

Solution: Oncolytic VIRUSES – Immunological “coldness”

GADD-34 20,000 GBM 40,000 pancreatic cancer

  • Q&A 2:25 PM – 2:40 PM  

2:20 PM – 2:45 PM

Entrepreneurial Growth | Oncolytic Virus

In 2020 there were a total of 60 phase I trials for Oncolytic Viruses. There are now dozens of companies pursuing some aspect of OV technology. This panel will address:

  •  How are small companies equipped to address the challenges of developing OV therapies better than large pharma or biotech?
  • Will the success of COVID vaccines based on Adenovirus help the regulatory environment for small companies developing OV products in Europe and the USA?
  • Is there a place for non-viral delivery and other immunotherapy companies to engage in the OV space?  Would they bring any real advantages?

Moderator: Reid Huber, PhD

  • Partner, Third Rock Ventures

Critical milestones to observe Speakers: Caroline Breitbach, PhD

  • VP, R&D Programs and Strategy, Turnstone Biologics

Trying Intra-tumor delivery and IV infusion delivery oncolytic vaccine pushing dose 

translation biomarkers program 

transformation tumor microenvironment Brett Ewald, PhD

  • SVP, Development & Corporate Strategy, DNAtrix

Studies gets larger, kicking off Phase III multiple tumors Paul Hallenbeck, PhD

  • President and Chief Scientific Officer, Seneca Therapeutics

Translation: Stephen Russell, MD, PhD

  • CEO, Vyriad

Systemic delivery Oncolytic Virus IV delivery woman in remission

Collaboration with Regeneron

Data collection: Imageable reporter secretable reporter, gene expression

Field is intense systemic oncolytic delivery is exciting in mice and in human, response rates are encouraging combination immune stimulant, check inhibitors 

  • Q&A 2:50 PM – 3:05 PM  

2:45 PM – 3:00 PM

Break

  3:00 PM – 3:25 PM

CAR-T | Lessons Learned | What’s Next

Few areas of potential cancer therapy have had the attention and excitement of CAR-T. This panel of leading executives, developers, and clinician-scientists will explore the current state of CAR-T and its future prospects. Among the questions to be addressed are:

  • Is CAR-T still an industry priority – i.e. are new investments being made by large companies? Are new companies being financed? What are the trends?
  • What have we learned from first-generation products, what can we expect from CAR-T going forward in novel targets, combinations, armored CAR’s and allogeneic treatment adoption?
  • Early trials showed remarkable overall survival and progression-free survival. What has been observed regarding how enduring these responses are?
  • Most of the approvals to date have targeted CD19, and most recently BCMA. What are the most common forms of relapses that have been observed?
  • Is there a consensus about what comes after these CD19 and BCMA trials as to additional targets in liquid tumors? How have dual-targeted approaches fared?
  • Moderator:
  • Marcela Maus, MD, PhD
    • Director, Cellular Immunotherapy Program, Cancer Center, MGH
    • Associate Professor, Medicine, HMSIs CAR-T Industry priority
  • Speakers:
  • Head of R&D, Atara BioTherapeutics
  • Phyno-type of the cells for hematologic cancers 
  • solid tumor 
  • inventory of Therapeutics for treating patients in the future 
  • Progressive MS program
  • EBBT platform B-Cells and T-Cells
    • Stefan Hendriks
      • Gobal Head, Cell & Gene, Novartis
      • yes, CGT is a strategy in the present and future
      • Journey started years ago 
      • Confirmation the effectiveness of CAR-T therapies, 1 year response prolonged to 5 years 26 months
      • Patient not responding – a lot to learn
      • Patient after 8 months of chemo can be helped by CAR-T
    • Christi Shaw
      • CEO, Kite
      • CAR-T is priority 120 companies in the space
      • Manufacturing consistency 
      • Patients respond with better quality of life
      • Blood cancer – more work to be done

Q&A

  • 3:30 PM – 3:45 PM  

3:30 PM – 3:55 PM HOT TOPICS

CAR-T | Solid Tumors Success | When?

The potential application of CAR-T in solid tumors will be a game-changer if it occurs. The panel explores the prospects of solid tumor success and what the barriers have been. Questions include:

  •  How would industry and investor strategy for CAR-T and solid tumors be characterized? Has it changed in the last couple of years?
  •  Does the lack of tumor antigen specificity in solid tumors mean that lessons from liquid tumor CAR-T constructs will not translate well and we have to start over?
  •  Whether due to antigen heterogeneity, a hostile tumor micro-environment, or other factors are some specific solid tumors more attractive opportunities than others for CAR-T therapy development?
  •  Given the many challenges that CAR-T faces in solid tumors, does the use of combination therapies from the start, for example, to mitigate TME effects, offer a more compelling opportunity.

Moderator: Oladapo Yeku, MD, PhD

  • Clinical Assistant in Medicine, MGH

window of opportunities studies  Speakers: Jennifer Brogdon

  • Executive Director, Head of Cell Therapy Research, Exploratory Immuno-Oncology, NIBR

2017 CAR-T first approval

M&A and research collaborations

TCR tumor specific antigens avoid tissue toxicity Knut Niss, PhD

  • CTO, Mustang Bio

tumor hot start in 12 month clinical trial solid tumors , theraties not ready yet. Combination therapy will be an experimental treatment long journey checkpoint inhibitors to be used in combination maintenance Lipid tumor Barbra Sasu, PhD

  • CSO, Allogene

T cell response at prostate cancer 

tumor specific 

cytokine tumor specific signals move from solid to metastatic cell type for easier infiltration

Where we might go: safety autologous and allogeneic Jay Short, PhD

  • Chairman, CEO, Cofounder, BioAlta, Inc.

Tumor type is not enough for development of therapeutics other organs are involved in the periphery

difficult to penetrate solid tumors biologics activated in the tumor only, positive changes surrounding all charges, water molecules inside the tissue acidic environment target the cells inside the tumor and not outside 

Combination staggered key is try combination

  • Q&A 4:00 PM – 4:15 PM  

4:00 PM – 4:25 PM

GCT Manufacturing | Vector Production | Autologous and Allogeneic | Stem Cells | Supply Chain | Scalability & Management

The modes of GCT manufacturing have the potential of fundamentally reordering long-established roles and pathways. While complexity goes up the distance from discovery to deployment shrinks. With the likelihood of a total market for cell therapies to be over $48 billion by 2027,  groups of products are emerging.  Stem cell therapies are projected to be $28 billion by 2027 and non-stem cell therapies such as CAR-T are projected be $20 billion by 2027. The manufacturing challenges for these two large buckets are very different. Within the CAR-T realm there are diverging trends of autologous and allogeneic therapies and the demands on manufacturing infrastructure are very different. Questions for the panelists are:

  • Help us all understand the different manufacturing challenges for cell therapies. What are the trade-offs among storage cost, batch size, line changes in terms of production cost and what is the current state of scaling naïve and stem cell therapy treatment vs engineered cell therapies?
  • For cell and gene therapy what is the cost of Quality Assurance/Quality Control vs. production and how do you think this will trend over time based on your perspective on learning curves today?
  • Will point of care production become a reality? How will that change product development strategy for pharma and venture investors? What would be the regulatory implications for such products?
  • How close are allogeneic CAR-T cell therapies? If successful what are the market implications of allogenic CAR-T? What are the cost implications and rewards for developing allogeneic cell therapy treatments?

Moderator: Michael Paglia

  • VP, ElevateBio

Speakers:

  • Dannielle Appelhans
    • SVP TechOps and Chief Technical Officer, Novartis Gene Therapies
  • Thomas Page, PhD
    • VP, Engineering and Asset Development, FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies
  • Rahul Singhvi, ScD
    • CEO and Co-Founder, National Resilience, Inc.
  • Thomas VanCott, PhD
    • Global Head of Product Development, Gene & Cell Therapy, Catalent
    • 2/3 autologous 1/3 allogeneic  CAR-T high doses and high populations scale up is not done today quality maintain required the timing logistics issues centralized vs decentralized  allogeneic are health donors innovations in cell types in use improvements in manufacturing

Ropa Pike, Director,  Enterprise Science & Partnerships, Thermo Fisher Scientific 

Centralized biopharma industry is moving  to decentralized models site specific license 

  • Q&A 4:30 PM – 4:45 PM  

4:30 PM – 4:40 PM FIRST LOOK

CAR-T

Marcela Maus, MD, PhD

  • Director, Cellular Immunotherapy Program, Cancer Center, MGH
  • Assistant Professor, Medicine, HMS 

Fit-to-purpose CAR-T cells: 3 lead programs

Tr-fill 

CAR-T induce response myeloma and multiple myeloma GBM

27 patents on CAR-T

+400 patients treaded 40 Clinical Trials 

  • Q&A 4:40 PM – 5:00 PM  

4:40 PM – 4:50 PM FIRST LOOK

Repurposed Tumor Cells as Killers and Immunomodulators for Cancer Therapy

Khalid Shah, PhD

  • Vice Chair, Neurosurgery Research, BWH
  • Director, Center for Stem Cell Therapeutics and Imaging, HMS

Solid tumors are the hardest to treat because: immunosuppressive, hypoxic, Acidic Use of autologous tumor cells self homing ThTC self targeting therapeutic cells Therapeutic tumor cells efficacy pre-clinical models GBM 95% metastesis ThTC translation to patient settings

  • Q&A 4:50 PM – 5:10 PM  

4:50 PM – 5:00 PM FIRST LOOK

Other Cell Therapies for Cancer

David Scadden, MD

  • Director, Center for Regenerative Medicine; Co-Director, Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Director, Hematologic Malignancies & Experimental Hematology, MGH
  • Jordan Professor of Medicine, HMS

T-cell are made in bone marrow create cryogel  can be an off-the-shelf product repertoire on T Receptor CCL19+ mesenchymal cells mimic Tymus cells –

inter-tymic injection. Non human primate validation

Q&A

 

5:00 PM – 5:20 PM   5:00 PM – 5:20 PM FIRESIDE

Fireside with Mikael Dolsten, MD, PhD

  Introducer: Jonathan Kraft Moderator: Daniel Haber, MD, PhD

  • Chair, Cancer Center, MGH
  • Isselbacher Professor of Oncology, HMS

Vaccine Status Mikael Dolsten, MD, PhD

  • Chief Scientific Officer and President, Worldwide Research, Development and Medical, Pfizer

Deliver vaccine around the Globe, Israel, US, Europe.

3BIL vaccine in 2022 for all Global vaccination 

Bio Ntech in Germany

Experience with Biologics immuneoncology & allogeneic antibody cells – new field for drug discovery 

mRNA curative effort and cancer vaccine 

Access to drugs developed by Pfizer to underdeveloped countries 

  • Q&A 5:25 PM – 5:40 AM  

5:20 PM – 5:30 PM

Closing Remarks

Thursday, May 20, 2021

8:00 AM – 8:25 AM

GCT | The China Juggernaut

China embraced gene and cell therapies early. The first China gene therapy clinical trial was in 1991. China approved the world’s first gene therapy product in 2003—Gendicine—an oncolytic adenovirus for the treatment of advanced head and neck cancer.  Driven by broad national strategy, China has become a hotbed of GCT development, ranking second in the world with more than 1,000 clinical trials either conducted or underway and thousands of related patents.  It has a booming GCT biotech sector, led by more than 45 local companies with growing IND pipelines.

In late 1990, a T cell-based immunotherapy, cytokine-induced killer (CIK) therapy became a popular modality in the clinic in China for tumor treatment.  In early 2010, Chinese researchers started to carry out domestic CAR T trials inspired by several important reports suggested the great antitumor function of CAR T cells. Now, China became the country with the most registered CAR T trials, CAR T therapy is flourishing in China.

The Chinese GCT ecosystem has increasingly rich local innovation and growing complement of development and investment partnerships – and also many subtleties.

This panel, consisting of leaders from the China GCT corporate, investor, research and entrepreneurial communities, will consider strategic questions on the growth of the gene and cell therapy industry in China, areas of greatest strength, evolving regulatory framework, early successes and products expected to reach the US and world market. Moderator: Min Wu, PhD

  • Managing Director, Fosun Health Fund

What are the area of CGT in China, regulatory similar to the US Speakers: Alvin Luk, PhD

  • CEO, Neuropath Therapeutics

Monogenic rare disease with clear genomic target

Increase of 30% in patient enrollment 

Regulatory reform approval is 60 days no delayPin Wang, PhD

  • CSO, Jiangsu Simcere Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

Similar starting point in CGT as the rest of the World unlike a later starting point in other biologicalRichard Wang, PhD

  • CEO, Fosun Kite Biotechnology Co., Ltd

Possibilities to be creative and capitalize the new technologies for innovating drug

Support of the ecosystem by funding new companie allowing the industry to be developed in China

Autologous in patients differences cost challengeTian Xu, PhD

  • Vice President, Westlake University

ICH committee and Chinese FDA -r regulation similar to the US

Difference is the population recruitment, in China patients are active participants in skin disease 

Active in development of transposome 

Development of non-viral methods, CRISPR still in D and transposome

In China price of drugs regulatory are sensitive Shunfei Yan, PhD

  • Investment Manager, InnoStar Capital

Indication driven: Hymophilia, 

Allogogenic efficiency therapies

Licensing opportunities 

  • Q&A 8:30 AM – 8:45 AM  

8:30 AM – 8:55 AM

Impact of mRNA Vaccines | Global Success Lessons

The COVID vaccine race has propelled mRNA to the forefront of biomedicine. Long considered as a compelling modality for therapeutic gene transfer, the technology may have found its most impactful application as a vaccine platform. Given the transformative industrialization, the massive human experience, and the fast development that has taken place in this industry, where is the horizon? Does the success of the vaccine application, benefit or limit its use as a therapeutic for CGT?

  • How will the COVID success impact the rest of the industry both in therapeutic and prophylactic vaccines and broader mRNA lessons?
  • How will the COVID success impact the rest of the industry both on therapeutic and prophylactic vaccines and broader mRNA lessons?
  • Beyond from speed of development, what aspects make mRNA so well suited as a vaccine platform?
  • Will cost-of-goods be reduced as the industry matures?
  • How does mRNA technology seek to compete with AAV and other gene therapy approaches?

Moderator: Lindsey Baden, MD

  • Director, Clinical Research, Division of Infectious Diseases, BWH
  • Associate Professor, HMS

In vivo delivery process regulatory cooperation new opportunities for same platform for new indication Speakers:

Many years of mRNA pivoting for new diseases, DARPA, nucleic Acids global deployment of a manufacturing unit on site where the need arise Elan Musk funds new directions at Moderna

How many mRNA can be put in one vaccine: Dose and tolerance to achieve efficacy 

45 days for Personalized cancer vaccine one per patient

1.6 Billion doses produced rare disease monogenic correct mRNA like CF multiple mutation infection disease and oncology applications

Platform allowing to swap cargo reusing same nanoparticles address disease beyond Big Pharma options for biotech

WHat strain of Flu vaccine will come back in the future when people do not use masks 

  • Kate Bingham, UK Vaccine Taskforce

July 2020, AAV vs mRNA delivery across UK local centers administered both types supply and delivery uplift 

  • Q&A 9:00 AM – 9:15 AM  

9:00 AM – 9:25 AM HOT TOPICS

Benign Blood Disorders

Hemophilia has been and remains a hallmark indication for the CGT. Given its well-defined biology, larger market, and limited need for gene transfer to provide therapeutic benefit, it has been at the forefront of clinical development for years, however, product approval remains elusive. What are the main hurdles to this success? Contrary to many indications that CGT pursues no therapeutic options are available to patients, hemophiliacs have an increasing number of highly efficacious treatment options. How does the competitive landscape impact this field differently than other CGT fields? With many different players pursuing a gene therapy option for hemophilia, what are the main differentiators? Gene therapy for hemophilia seems compelling for low and middle-income countries, given the cost of currently available treatments; does your company see opportunities in this market? Moderator: Nancy Berliner, MD

  • Chief, Division of Hematology, BWH
  • H. Franklin Bunn Professor of Medicine, HMS

Speakers: Theresa Heggie

  • CEO, Freeline Therapeutics

Safety concerns, high burden of treatment CGT has record of safety and risk/benefit adoption of Tx functional cure CGT is potent Tx relative small quantity of protein needs be delivered 

Potency and quality less quantity drug and greater potency

risk of delivery unwanted DNA, capsules are critical 

analytics is critical regulator involvement in potency definition

Close of collaboration is excitingGallia Levy, MD, PhD

  • Chief Medical Officer, Spark Therapeutics

Hemophilia CGT is the highest potential for Global access logistics in underdeveloped countries working with NGOs practicality of the Tx

Roche reached 120 Counties great to be part of the Roche GroupAmir Nashat, PhD

  • Managing Partner, Polaris Ventures

Suneet Varma

  • Global President of Rare Disease, Pfizer

Gene therapy at Pfizer small molecule, large molecule and CGT – spectrum of choice allowing Hemophilia patients to marry 

1/3 internal 1/3 partnership 1/3 acquisitions 

Learning from COVID-19 is applied for other vaccine development

review of protocols and CGT for Hemophelia

You can’t buy Time

With MIT Pfizer is developing a model for Hemopilia CGT treatment

  • Q&A 9:30 AM – 9:45 AM  

9:25 AM – 9:35 AM FIRST LOOK

Treating Rett Syndrome through X-reactivation

Jeannie Lee, MD, PhD

  • Molecular Biologist, MGH
  • Professor of Genetics, HMS

200 disease X chromosome unlock for neurological genetic diseases: Rett Syndromeand other autism spectrum disorders female model vs male mice model

deliver protein to the brain 

restore own missing or dysfunctional protein

Epigenetic not CGT – no exogent intervention Xist ASO drug

Female model

  • Q&A 9:35 AM – 9:55 AM  

9:35 AM – 9:45 AM FIRST LOOK

Rare but mighty: scaling up success in single gene disorders

Florian Eichler, MD

  • Director, Center for Rare Neurological Diseases, MGH
  • Associate Professor, Neurology, HMS

Single gene disorder NGS enable diagnosis, DIagnosis to Treatment How to know whar cell to target, make it available and scale up Address gap: missing components Biomarkers to cell types lipid chemistry cell animal biology 

crosswalk from bone marrow matter 

New gene discovered that causes neurodevelopment of stagnant genes Examining new Biology cell type specific biomarkers 

  • Q&A 9:45 AM – 10:05 AM  

9:50 AM – 10:15 AM HOT TOPICS

Diabetes | Grand Challenge

The American Diabetes Association estimates 30 million Americans have diabetes and 1.5 million are diagnosed annually. GCT offers the prospect of long-sought treatment for this enormous cohort and their chronic requirements. The complexity of the disease and its management constitute a grand challenge and highlight both the potential of GCT and its current limitations.

  •  Islet transplantation for type 1 diabetes has been attempted for decades. Problems like loss of transplanted islet cells due to autoimmunity and graft site factors have been difficult to address. Is there anything different on the horizon for gene and cell therapies to help this be successful?
  • How is the durability of response for gene or cell therapies for diabetes being addressed? For example, what would the profile of an acceptable (vs. optimal) cell therapy look like?

Moderator: Marie McDonnell, MD

  • Chief, Diabetes Section and Director, Diabetes Program, BWH
  • Lecturer on Medicine, HMS

Type 1 Diabetes cost of insulin for continuous delivery of drug

alternative treatments: 

The Future: neuropotent stem cells 

What keeps you up at night  Speakers: Tom Bollenbach, PhD

  • Chief Technology Officer, Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute

Data managment sterility sensors, cell survival after implantation, stem cells manufacturing, process development in manufacturing of complex cells

Data and instrumentation the Process is the Product

Manufacturing tight schedules Manasi Jaiman, MD

  • Vice President, Clinical Development, ViaCyte
  • Pediatric Endocrinologist

continous glucose monitoring Bastiano Sanna, PhD

  • EVP, Chief of Cell & Gene Therapies and VCGT Site Head, Vertex Pharmaceuticals

100 years from discovering Insulin, Insulin is not a cure in 2021 – asking patients to partner more 

Produce large quantities of the Islet cells encapsulation technology been developed 

Scaling up is a challengeRogerio Vivaldi, MD

  • CEO, Sigilon Therapeutics

Advanced made, Patient of Type 1 Outer and Inner compartments of spheres (not capsule) no immune suppression continuous secretion of enzyme Insulin independence without immune suppression 

Volume to have of-the-shelf inventory oxegenation in location lymphatic and vascularization conrol the whole process modular platform learning from others

  • Q&A 10:20 AM – 10:35 AM  

10:20 AM – 10:40 AM FIRESIDE

Building A Unified GCT Strategy

  Introducer: John Fish

  • CEO, Suffolk
  • Chairman of Board Trustees, Brigham Health

Moderator: Meg Tirrell

  • Senior Health and Science Reporter, CNBC

Last year, what was it at Novartis Speaker: Jay Bradner, MD

  • President, NIBR

Keep eyes open, waiting the Pandemic to end and enable working back on all the indications 

Portfolio of MET, Mimi Emerging Therapies 

Learning from the Pandemic – operationalize the practice science, R&D leaders, new collaboratives at NIH, FDA, Novartis

Pursue programs that will yield growth, tropic diseases with Gates Foundation, Rising Tide pods for access CGT within Novartis Partnership with UPenn in Cell Therapy 

Cost to access to IP from Academia to a Biotech CRISPR accessing few translations to Clinic

Protein degradation organization constraint valuation by parties in a partnership 

Novartis: nuclear protein lipid nuclear particles, tamplate for Biotech to collaborate

Game changing: 10% of the Portfolio, New frontiers human genetics in Ophthalmology, CAR-T, CRISPR, Gene Therapy Neurological and payloads of different matter

  • Q&A 10:45 AM – 11:00 AM  

10:40 AM – 10:50 AM

Break

  10:50 AM – 11:00 AM FIRST LOOK

Getting to the Heart of the Matter: Curing Genetic Cardiomyopathy

Christine Seidman, MD

  • Director, Cardiovascular Genetics Center, BWH
  • Smith Professor of Medicine & Genetics, HMS

The Voice of Dr. Seidman – Her abstract is cited below

The ultimate opportunity presented by discovering the genetic basis of human disease is accurate prediction and disease prevention. To enable this achievement, genetic insights must enable the identification of at-risk

individuals prior to end-stage disease manifestations and strategies that delay or prevent clinical expression. Genetic cardiomyopathies provide a paradigm for fulfilling these opportunities. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is characterized by left ventricular hypertrophy, diastolic dysfunction with normal or enhanced systolic performance and a unique histopathology: myocyte hypertrophy, disarray and fibrosis. Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) exhibits enlarged ventricular volumes with depressed systolic performance and nonspecific histopathology. Both HCM and DCM are prevalent clinical conditions that increase risk for arrhythmias, sudden death, and heart failure. Today treatments for HCM and DCM focus on symptoms, but none prevent disease progression. Human molecular genetic studies demonstrated that these pathologies often result from dominant mutations in genes that encode protein components of the sarcomere, the contractile unit in striated muscles. These data combined with the emergence of molecular strategies to specifically modulate gene expression provide unparalleled opportunities to silence or correct mutant genes and to boost healthy gene expression in patients with genetic HCM and DCM. Many challenges remain, but the active and vital efforts of physicians, researchers, and patients are poised to ensure success.

Hypertrophic and Dilated Cardiomyopaies ‘

10% receive heart transplant 12 years survival 

Mutation puterb function

TTN: contribute 20% of dilated cardiomyopaty

Silence gene 

pleuripotential cells deliver therapies 

  • Q&A 11:00 AM – 11:20 AM  

11:00 AM – 11:10 AM FIRST LOOK

Unlocking the secret lives of proteins in health and disease

Anna Greka, MD, PhD

  • Medicine, BWH
  • Associate Professor, Medicine, HMS

Cyprus Island, kidney disease by mutation causing MUC1 accumulation and death BRD4780 molecule that will clear the misfolding proteins from the kidney organoids: pleuripotent stem cells small molecule developed for applications in the other cell types in brain, eye, gene mutation build mechnism for therapy clinical models transition from Academia to biotech 

Q&A

  • 11:10 AM – 11:30 AM  

11:10 AM – 11:35 AM

Rare and Ultra Rare Diseases | GCT Breaks Through

One of the most innovative segments in all of healthcare is the development of GCT driven therapies for rare and ultra-rare diseases. Driven by a series of insights and tools and funded in part by disease focused foundations, philanthropists and abundant venture funding disease after disease is yielding to new GCT technology. These often become platforms to address more prevalent diseases. The goal of making these breakthroughs routine and affordable is challenged by a range of issues including clinical trial design and pricing.

  • What is driving the interest in rare diseases?
  • What are the biggest barriers to making breakthroughs ‘routine and affordable?’
  • What is the role of retrospective and prospective natural history studies in rare disease?  When does the expected value of retrospective disease history studies justify the cost?
  • Related to the first question, what is the FDA expecting as far as controls in clinical trials for rare diseases?  How does this impact the collection of natural history data?

Moderator: Susan Slaugenhaupt, PhD

  • Scientific Director and Elizabeth G. Riley and Daniel E. Smith Jr., Endowed Chair, Mass General Research Institute
  • Professor, Neurology, HMS

Speakers: Leah Bloom, PhD

  • SVP, External Innovation and Strategic Alliances, Novartis Gene Therapies

Ultra rare (less than 100) vs rare difficulty to recruit patients and to follow up after treatment Bobby Gaspar, MD, PhD

  • CEO, Orchard Therapeutics

Study of rare condition have transfer to other larger diseases – delivery of therapeutics genes, like immune disorders 

Patient testimonials just to hear what a treatment can make Emil Kakkis, MD, PhD

  • CEO, Ultragenyx

Do 100 patient study then have information on natural history to develop a clinical trial Stuart Peltz, PhD

  • CEO, PTC Therapeutics

Rare disease, challenge for FDA approval and after market commercialization follow ups

Justification of cost for Rare disease – demonstration of Change is IP in value patients advocacy is helpful

  • Q&A 11:40 AM – 11:55 AM  

11:40 AM – 12:00 PM FIRESIDE

Partnering Across the GCT Spectrum

  Moderator: Erin Harris

  • Chief Editor, Cell & Gene

Perspective & professional tenure

Partnership in manufacturing what are the recommendations?

Hospital systems: Partnership Challenges  Speaker: Marc Casper

  • CEO, ThermoFisher

25 years in Diagnostics last 20 years at ThermoFisher 

products used in the Lab for CAR-T research and manufacture 

CGT Innovations: FDA will have a high level of approval each year

How move from research to clinical trials to manufacturing Quicker process

Best practices in Partnerships: the root cause if acceleration to market service providers to deliver highest standards

Building capacity by acquisition to avoid the waiting time

Accelerate new products been manufactured 

Collaborations with Academic Medical center i.e., UCSF in CGT joint funding to accelerate CGT to clinics’

Customers are extremely knowledgable, scale the capital investment made investment

150MIL a year to improve the Workflow 

  • Q&A 12:05 PM – 12:20 PM  

12:05 PM – 12:30 PM

  • 12:05 PM – 12:20 PM  

12:05 PM – 12:30 PM

CEO Panel | Anticipating Disruption | Planning for Widespread GCT

The power of GCT to cure disease has the prospect of profoundly improving the lives of patients who respond. Planning for a disruption of this magnitude is complex and challenging as it will change care across the spectrum. Leading chief executives shares perspectives on how the industry will change and how this change should be anticipated. Moderator: Meg Tirrell

  • Senior Health and Science Reporter, CNBC

CGT becoming staple therapy what are the disruptors emerging Speakers: Lisa Dechamps

  • SVP & Chief Business Officer, Novartis Gene Therapies

Reimagine medicine with collaboration at MGH, MDM condition in children 

The Science is there, sustainable processes and systems impact is transformational

Value based pricing, risk sharing Payers and Pharma for one time therapy with life span effect

Collaboration with FDAKieran Murphy

  • CEO, GE Healthcare

Diagnosis of disease to be used in CGT

2021 investment in CAR-T platform 

Investment in several CGT frontier

Investment in AI, ML in system design new technologies 

GE: Scale and Global distributions, sponsor companies in software 

Waste in Industry – Healthcare % of GDP, work with MGH to smooth the workflow faster entry into hospital and out of Hospital

Telemedicine during is Pandemic: Radiologist needs to read remotely 

Supply chain disruptions slow down all ecosystem 

Production of ventilators by collaboration with GM – ingenuity 

Scan patients outside of hospital a scanner in a Box Christian Rommel, PhD

  • Head, Pharmaceuticals Research & Development, Bayer AG

CGT – 2016 and in 2020 new leadership and capability 

Disease Biology and therapeutics

Regenerative Medicine: CGT vs repair building pipeline in ophthalmology and cardiovascular 

During Pandemic: Deliver Medicines like Moderna, Pfizer – collaborations between competitors with Government Bayer entered into Vaccines in 5 days, all processes had to change access innovations developed over decades for medical solutions 

  • Q&A 12:35 PM – 12:50 PM  

12:35 PM – 12:55 PM FIRESIDE

Building a GCT Portfolio

GCT represents a large and growing market for novel therapeutics that has several segments. These include Cardiovascular Disease, Cancer, Neurological Diseases, Infectious Disease, Ophthalmology, Benign Blood Disorders, and many others; Manufacturing and Supply Chain including CDMO’s and CMO’s; Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine; Tools and Platforms (viral vectors, nano delivery, gene editing, etc.). Bayer’s pharma business participates in virtually all of these segments. How does a Company like Bayer approach the development of a portfolio in a space as large and as diverse as this one? How does Bayer approach the support of the production infrastructure with unique demands and significant differences from its historical requirements? Moderator:

Shinichiro Fuse, PhD

  • Managing Partner, MPM Capital

Speaker: Wolfram Carius, PhD

  • EVP, Pharmaceuticals, Head of Cell & Gene Therapy, Bayer AG

CGT will bring treatment to cure, delivery of therapies 

Be a Leader repair, regenerate, cure

Technology and Science for CGT – building a portfolio vs single asset decision criteria development of IP market access patients access acceleration of new products

Bayer strategy: build platform for use by four domains  

Gener augmentation

Autologeneic therapy, analytics

Gene editing

Oncology Cell therapy tumor treatment: What kind of cells – the jury is out

Of 23 product launch at Bayer no prediction is possible some high some lows 

  • Q&A 1:00 PM – 1:15 PM  

12:55 PM – 1:35 PM

Lunch

  1:40 PM – 2:05 PM

GCT Delivery | Perfecting the Technology

Gene delivery uses physical, chemical, or viral means to introduce genetic material into cells. As more genetically modified therapies move closer to the market, challenges involving safety, efficacy, and manufacturing have emerged. Optimizing lipidic and polymer nanoparticles and exosomal delivery is a short-term priority. This panel will examine how the short-term and long-term challenges are being tackled particularly for non-viral delivery modalities. Moderator: Natalie Artzi, PhD

  • Assistant Professor, BWH

Speakers: Geoff McDonough, MD

  • CEO, Generation Bio

Sonya Montgomery

  • CMO, Evox Therapeutics

Laura Sepp-Lorenzino, PhD

  • Chief Scientific Officer, Executive Vice President, Intellia Therapeutics

Doug Williams, PhD

  • CEO, Codiak BioSciences
  • Q&A 2:10 PM – 2:25 PM  

2:05 PM – 2:10 PM

Invention Discovery Grant Announcement

  2:10 PM – 2:20 PM FIRST LOOK

Enhancing vesicles for therapeutic delivery of bioproducts

Xandra Breakefield, PhD

  • Geneticist, MGH, MGH
  • Professor, Neurology, HMS
  • Q&A 2:20 PM – 2:35 PM  

2:20 PM – 2:30 PM FIRST LOOK

Versatile polymer-based nanocarriers for targeted therapy and immunomodulation

Natalie Artzi, PhD

  • Assistant Professor, BWH
  • Q&A 2:30 PM – 2:45 PM  

2:55 PM – 3:20 PM HOT TOPICS

Gene Editing | Achieving Therapeutic Mainstream

Gene editing was recognized by the Nobel Committee as “one of gene technology’s sharpest tools, having a revolutionary impact on life sciences.” Introduced in 2011, gene editing is used to modify DNA. It has applications across almost all categories of disease and is also being used in agriculture and public health.

Today’s panel is made up of pioneers who represent foundational aspects of gene editing.  They will discuss the movement of the technology into the therapeutic mainstream.

  • Successes in gene editing – lessons learned from late-stage assets (sickle cell, ophthalmology)
  • When to use what editing tool – pros and cons of traditional gene-editing v. base editing.  Is prime editing the future? Specific use cases for epigenetic editing.
  • When we reach widespread clinical use – role of off-target editing – is the risk real?  How will we mitigate? How practical is patient-specific off-target evaluation?

Moderator: J. Keith Joung, MD, PhD

  • Robert B. Colvin, M.D. Endowed Chair in Pathology & Pathologist, MGH
  • Professor of Pathology, HMS

Speakers: John Evans

  • CEO, Beam Therapeutics

Lisa Michaels

  • EVP & CMO, Editas Medicine
  • Q&A 3:25 PM – 3:50 PM  

3:25 PM – 3:50 PM HOT TOPICS

Common Blood Disorders | Gene Therapy

There are several dozen companies working to develop gene or cell therapies for Sickle Cell Disease, Beta Thalassemia, and  Fanconi Anemia. In some cases, there are enzyme replacement therapies that are deemed effective and safe. In other cases, the disease is only managed at best. This panel will address a number of questions that are particular to this class of genetic diseases:

  • What are the pros and cons of various strategies for treatment? There are AAV-based editing, non-viral delivery even oligonucleotide recruitment of endogenous editing/repair mechanisms. Which approaches are most appropriate for which disease?
  • How can companies increase the speed of recruitment for clinical trials when other treatments are available? What is the best approach to educate patients on a novel therapeutic?
  • How do we best address ethnic and socio-economic diversity to be more representative of the target patient population?
  • How long do we have to follow up with the patients from the scientific, patient’s community, and payer points of view? What are the current FDA and EMA guidelines for long-term follow-up?
  • Where are we with regards to surrogate endpoints and their application to clinically meaningful endpoints?
  • What are the emerging ethical dilemmas in pediatric gene therapy research? Are there challenges with informed consent and pediatric assent for trial participation?
  • Are there differences in reimbursement policies for these different blood disorders? Clearly durability of response is a big factor. Are there other considerations?

Moderator: David Scadden, MD

  • Director, Center for Regenerative Medicine; Co-Director, Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Director, Hematologic Malignancies & Experimental Hematology, MGH
  • Jordan Professor of Medicine, HMS

Speakers: Samarth Kukarni, PhDNick Leschly

  • Chief Bluebird, Bluebird Bio

Mike McCune, MD, PhD

  • Head, HIV Frontiers, Global Health Innovative Technology Solutions, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Q&A 3:55 PM – 4:15 PM  

3:50 PM – 4:00 PM FIRST LOOK

Gene Editing

J. Keith Joung, MD, PhD

  • Robert B. Colvin, M.D. Endowed Chair in Pathology & Pathologist, MGH
  • Professor of Pathology, HMS
  • Q&A 4:00 PM – 4:20 PM  

4:20 PM – 4:45 PM HOT TOPICS

Gene Expression | Modulating with Oligonucleotide-Based Therapies

Oligonucleotide drugs have recently come into their own with approvals from companies such as Biogen, Alnylam, Novartis and others. This panel will address several questions:

How important is the delivery challenge for oligonucleotides? Are technological advancements emerging that will improve the delivery of oligonucleotides to the CNS or skeletal muscle after systemic administration?

  • Will oligonucleotides improve as a class that will make them even more effective?   Are further advancements in backbone chemistry anticipated, for example.
  • Will oligonucleotide based therapies blaze trails for follow-on gene therapy products?
  • Are small molecules a threat to oligonucleotide-based therapies?
  • Beyond exon skipping and knock-down mechanisms, what other roles will oligonucleotide-based therapies take mechanistically — can genes be activating oligonucleotides?  Is there a place for multiple mechanism oligonucleotide medicines?
  • Are there any advantages of RNAi-based oligonucleotides over ASOs, and if so for what use?

Moderator: Jeannie Lee, MD, PhD

  • Molecular Biologist, MGH
  • Professor of Genetics, HMS

Speakers: Bob Brown, PhD

  • CSO, EVP of R&D, Dicerna

Brett Monia, PhD

  • CEO, Ionis

Alfred Sandrock, MD, PhD

  • EVP, R&D and CMO, Biogen
  • Q&A 4:50 PM – 5:05 PM  

4:45 PM – 4:55 PM FIRST LOOK

RNA therapy for brain cancer

Pierpaolo Peruzzi, MD, PhD

  • Nuerosurgery, BWH
  • Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery, HMS
  • Q&A 4:55 PM – 5:15 PM  

Friday, May 21, 2021

8:30 AM – 8:55 AM

Venture Investing | Shaping GCT Translation

What is occurring in the GCT venture capital segment? Which elements are seeing the most activity? Which areas have cooled? How is the investment market segmented between gene therapy, cell therapy and gene editing? What makes a hot GCT company? How long will the market stay frothy? Some review of demographics — # of investments, sizes, etc. Why is the market hot and how long do we expect it to stay that way? Rank the top 5 geographic markets for GCT company creation and investing? Are there academic centers that have been especially adept at accelerating GCT outcomes? Do the business models for the rapid development of coronavirus vaccine have any lessons for how GCT technology can be brought to market more quickly? Moderator: Meredith Fisher, PhD

  • Partner, Mass General Brigham Innovation Fund

Speakers: David Berry, MD, PhD

  • CEO, Valo Health
  • General Partner, Flagship Pioneering

Robert Nelsen

  • Managing Director, Co-founder, ARCH Venture Partners

Kush Parmar, MD, PhD

  • Managing Partner, 5AM Ventures
  • Q&A 9:00 AM – 9:15 AM  

9:00 AM – 9:25 AM

Regenerative Medicine | Stem Cells

The promise of stem cells has been a highlight in the realm of regenerative medicine. Unfortunately, that promise remains largely in the future. Recent breakthroughs have accelerated these potential interventions in particular for treating neurological disease. Among the topics the panel will consider are:

  • Stem cell sourcing
  • Therapeutic indication growth
  • Genetic and other modification in cell production
  • Cell production to final product optimization and challenges
  • How to optimize the final product

Moderator: Ole Isacson, MD, PhD

  • Director, Neuroregeneration Research Institute, McLean
  • Professor, Neurology and Neuroscience, HMS

Speakers: Kapil Bharti, PhD

  • Senior Investigator, Ocular and Stem Cell Translational Research Section, NIH

Joe Burns, PhD

  • VP, Head of Biology, Decibel Therapeutics

Erin Kimbrel, PhD

  • Executive Director, Regenerative Medicine, Astellas

Nabiha Saklayen, PhD

  • CEO and Co-Founder, Cellino
  • Q&A 9:30 AM – 9:45 AM  

9:25 AM – 9:35 AM FIRST LOOK

Stem Cells

Bob Carter, MD, PhD

  • Chairman, Department of Neurosurgery, MGH
  • William and Elizabeth Sweet, Professor of Neurosurgery, HMS
  • Q&A 9:35 AM – 9:55 AM  

9:35 AM – 10:00 AM

Capital Formation ’21-30 | Investing Modes Driving GCT Technology and Timing

The dynamics of venture/PE investing and IPOs are fast evolving. What are the drivers – will the number of investors grow will the size of early rounds continue to grow? How is this reflected in GCT target areas, company design, and biotech overall? Do patients benefit from these trends? Is crossover investing a distinct class or a little of both? Why did it emerge and what are the characteristics of the players?  Will SPACs play a role in the growth of the gene and cell therapy industry. What is the role of corporate investment arms eg NVS, Bayer, GV, etc. – has a category killer emerged?  Are we nearing the limit of what the GCT market can absorb or will investment capital continue to grow unabated? Moderator: Roger Kitterman

  • VP, Venture, Mass General Brigham

Speakers: Ellen Hukkelhoven, PhD

  • Managing Director, Perceptive Advisors

Peter Kolchinsky, PhD

  • Founder and Managing Partner, RA Capital Management

Deep Nishar

  • Senior Managing Partner, SoftBank Investment Advisors

Oleg Nodelman

  • Founder & Managing Partner, EcoR1 Capital
  • Q&A 10:05 AM – 10:20 AM  

10:00 AM – 10:10 AM FIRST LOOK

New scientific and clinical developments for autologous stem cell therapy for Parkinson’s disease patients

Penelope Hallett, PhD

  • NRL, McLean
  • Assistant Professor Psychiatry, HMS
  • Q&A 10:10 AM – 10:30 AM  

10:10 AM – 10:35 AM HOT TOPICS

Neurodegenerative Clinical Outcomes | Achieving GCT Success

Can stem cell-based platforms become successful treatments for neurodegenerative diseases?

  •  What are the commonalities driving GCT success in neurodegenerative disease and non-neurologic disease, what are the key differences?
  • Overcoming treatment administration challenges
  • GCT impact on degenerative stage of disease
  • How difficult will it be to titrate the size of the cell therapy effect in different neurological disorders and for different patients?
  • Demonstrating clinical value to patients and payers
  • Revised clinical trial models to address issues and concerns specific to GCT

Moderator: Bob Carter, MD, PhD

  • Chairman, Department of Neurosurgery, MGH
  • William and Elizabeth Sweet, Professor of Neurosurgery, HMS

Speakers: Erwan Bezard, PhD

  • INSERM Research Director, Institute of Neurodegenerative Diseases

Nikola Kojic, PhD

  • CEO and Co-Founder, Oryon Cell Therapies

Geoff MacKay

  • President & CEO, AVROBIO

Viviane Tabar, MD

  • Founding Investigator, BlueRock Therapeutics
  • Chair of Neurosurgery, Memorial Sloan Kettering
  • Q&A 10:40 AM – 10:55 AM  

10:35 AM – 11:35 AM

Disruptive Dozen: 12 Technologies that Will Reinvent GCT

Nearly one hundred senior Mass General Brigham Harvard faculty contributed to the creation of this group of twelve GCT technologies that they believe will breakthrough in the next two years. The Disruptive Dozen identifies and ranks the GCT technologies that will be available on at least an experimental basis to have the chance of significantly improving health care. 11:35 AM – 11:45 AM

Concluding Remarks

Friday, May 21, 2021

Computer connection to the iCloud of WordPress.com FROZE completely at 10:30AM EST and no file update was possible. COVERAGE OF MAY 21, 2021 IS RECORDED BELOW FOLLOWING THE AGENDA BY COPY AN DPASTE OF ALL THE TWEETS I PRODUCED ON MAY 21, 2021 8:30 AM – 8:55 AM

Venture Investing | Shaping GCT Translation

What is occurring in the GCT venture capital segment? Which elements are seeing the most activity? Which areas have cooled? How is the investment market segmented between gene therapy, cell therapy and gene editing? What makes a hot GCT company? How long will the market stay frothy? Some review of demographics — # of investments, sizes, etc. Why is the market hot and how long do we expect it to stay that way? Rank the top 5 geographic markets for GCT company creation and investing? Are there academic centers that have been especially adept at accelerating GCT outcomes? Do the business models for the rapid development of coronavirus vaccine have any lessons for how GCT technology can be brought to market more quickly? Moderator: Meredith Fisher, PhD

  • Partner, Mass General Brigham Innovation Fund

Speakers: David Berry, MD, PhD

  • CEO, Valo Health
  • General Partner, Flagship Pioneering

Robert Nelsen

  • Managing Director, Co-founder, ARCH Venture Partners

Kush Parmar, MD, PhD

  • Managing Partner, 5AM Ventures
  • Q&A 9:00 AM – 9:15 AM  

9:00 AM – 9:25 AM

Regenerative Medicine | Stem Cells

The promise of stem cells has been a highlight in the realm of regenerative medicine. Unfortunately, that promise remains largely in the future. Recent breakthroughs have accelerated these potential interventions in particular for treating neurological disease. Among the topics the panel will consider are:

  • Stem cell sourcing
  • Therapeutic indication growth
  • Genetic and other modification in cell production
  • Cell production to final product optimization and challenges
  • How to optimize the final product

Moderator: Ole Isacson, MD, PhD

  • Director, Neuroregeneration Research Institute, McLean
  • Professor, Neurology and Neuroscience, HMS

Speakers: Kapil Bharti, PhD

  • Senior Investigator, Ocular and Stem Cell Translational Research Section, NIH

Joe Burns, PhD

  • VP, Head of Biology, Decibel Therapeutics

Erin Kimbrel, PhD

  • Executive Director, Regenerative Medicine, Astellas

Nabiha Saklayen, PhD

  • CEO and Co-Founder, Cellino
  • Q&A 9:30 AM – 9:45 AM  

9:25 AM – 9:35 AM FIRST LOOK

Stem Cells

Bob Carter, MD, PhD

  • Chairman, Department of Neurosurgery, MGH
  • William and Elizabeth Sweet, Professor of Neurosurgery, HMS
  • Q&A 9:35 AM – 9:55 AM  

9:35 AM – 10:00 AM

Capital Formation ’21-30 | Investing Modes Driving GCT Technology and Timing

The dynamics of venture/PE investing and IPOs are fast evolving. What are the drivers – will the number of investors grow will the size of early rounds continue to grow? How is this reflected in GCT target areas, company design, and biotech overall? Do patients benefit from these trends? Is crossover investing a distinct class or a little of both? Why did it emerge and what are the characteristics of the players?  Will SPACs play a role in the growth of the gene and cell therapy industry. What is the role of corporate investment arms eg NVS, Bayer, GV, etc. – has a category killer emerged?  Are we nearing the limit of what the GCT market can absorb or will investment capital continue to grow unabated? Moderator: Roger Kitterman

  • VP, Venture, Mass General Brigham

Speakers: Ellen Hukkelhoven, PhD

  • Managing Director, Perceptive Advisors

Peter Kolchinsky, PhD

  • Founder and Managing Partner, RA Capital Management

Deep Nishar

  • Senior Managing Partner, SoftBank Investment Advisors

Oleg Nodelman

  • Founder & Managing Partner, EcoR1 Capital
  • Q&A 10:05 AM – 10:20 AM  

10:00 AM – 10:10 AM FIRST LOOK

New scientific and clinical developments for autologous stem cell therapy for Parkinson’s disease patients

Penelope Hallett, PhD

  • NRL, McLean
  • Assistant Professor Psychiatry, HMS
  • Q&A 10:10 AM – 10:30 AM  

10:10 AM – 10:35 AM HOT TOPICS

Neurodegenerative Clinical Outcomes | Achieving GCT Success

Can stem cell-based platforms become successful treatments for neurodegenerative diseases?

  •  What are the commonalities driving GCT success in neurodegenerative disease and non-neurologic disease, what are the key differences?
  • Overcoming treatment administration challenges
  • GCT impact on degenerative stage of disease
  • How difficult will it be to titrate the size of the cell therapy effect in different neurological disorders and for different patients?
  • Demonstrating clinical value to patients and payers
  • Revised clinical trial models to address issues and concerns specific to GCT

Moderator: Bob Carter, MD, PhD

  • Chairman, Department of Neurosurgery, MGH
  • William and Elizabeth Sweet, Professor of Neurosurgery, HMS

Speakers: Erwan Bezard, PhD

  • INSERM Research Director, Institute of Neurodegenerative Diseases

Nikola Kojic, PhD

  • CEO and Co-Founder, Oryon Cell Therapies

Geoff MacKay

  • President & CEO, AVROBIO

Viviane Tabar, MD

  • Founding Investigator, BlueRock Therapeutics
  • Chair of Neurosurgery, Memorial Sloan Kettering
  • Q&A 10:40 AM – 10:55 AM  

10:35 AM – 11:35 AM

Disruptive Dozen: 12 Technologies that Will Reinvent GCT

Nearly one hundred senior Mass General Brigham Harvard faculty contributed to the creation of this group of twelve GCT technologies that they believe will breakthrough in the next two years. The Disruptive Dozen identifies and ranks the GCT technologies that will be available on at least an experimental basis to have the chance of significantly improving health care. 11:35 AM – 11:45 AM

Concluding Remarks

The co-chairs convene to reflect on the insights shared over the three days. They will discuss what to expect at the in-person GCT focused May 2-4, 2022 World Medical Innovation Forum.

 

The co-chairs convene to reflect on the insights shared over the three days. They will discuss what to expect at the in-person GCT focused May 2-4, 2022 World Medical Innovation Forum.Christine Seidman, MD

Hypertrophic and Dilated Cardiomyopaies ‘

10% receive heart transplant 12 years survival 

Mutation puterb function

TTN: contribute 20% of dilated cardiomyopaty

Silence gene 

pleuripotential cells deliver therapies 

  • Q&A 11:00 AM – 11:20 AM  

11:00 AM – 11:10 AM FIRST LOOK

Unlocking the secret lives of proteins in health and disease

Anna Greka, MD, PhD

  • Medicine, BWH
  • Associate Professor, Medicine, HMS

Cyprus Island, kidney disease by mutation causing MUC1 accumulation and death BRD4780 molecule that will clear the misfolding proteins from the kidney organoids: pleuripotent stem cells small molecule developed for applications in the other cell types in brain, eye, gene mutation build mechnism for therapy clinical models transition from Academia to biotech 

Q&A

  • 11:10 AM – 11:30 AM  

11:10 AM – 11:35 AM

Rare and Ultra Rare Diseases | GCT Breaks Through

One of the most innovative segments in all of healthcare is the development of GCT driven therapies for rare and ultra-rare diseases. Driven by a series of insights and tools and funded in part by disease focused foundations, philanthropists and abundant venture funding disease after disease is yielding to new GCT technology. These often become platforms to address more prevalent diseases. The goal of making these breakthroughs routine and affordable is challenged by a range of issues including clinical trial design and pricing.

  • What is driving the interest in rare diseases?
  • What are the biggest barriers to making breakthroughs ‘routine and affordable?’
  • What is the role of retrospective and prospective natural history studies in rare disease?  When does the expected value of retrospective disease history studies justify the cost?
  • Related to the first question, what is the FDA expecting as far as controls in clinical trials for rare diseases?  How does this impact the collection of natural history data?

Moderator: Susan Slaugenhaupt, PhD

  • Scientific Director and Elizabeth G. Riley and Daniel E. Smith Jr., Endowed Chair, Mass General Research Institute
  • Professor, Neurology, HMS

Speakers: Leah Bloom, PhD

  • SVP, External Innovation and Strategic Alliances, Novartis Gene Therapies

Ultra rare (less than 100) vs rare difficulty to recruit patients and to follow up after treatment Bobby Gaspar, MD, PhD

  • CEO, Orchard Therapeutics

Study of rare condition have transfer to other larger diseases – delivery of therapeutics genes, like immune disorders 

Patient testimonials just to hear what a treatment can make Emil Kakkis, MD, PhD

  • CEO, Ultragenyx

Do 100 patient study then have information on natural history to develop a clinical trial Stuart Peltz, PhD

  • CEO, PTC Therapeutics

Rare disease, challenge for FDA approval and after market commercialization follow ups

Justification of cost for Rare disease – demonstration of Change is IP in value patients advocacy is helpful

  • Q&A 11:40 AM – 11:55 AM  

11:40 AM – 12:00 PM FIRESIDE

Partnering Across the GCT Spectrum

  Moderator: Erin Harris

  • Chief Editor, Cell & Gene

Perspective & professional tenure

Partnership in manufacturing what are the recommendations?

Hospital systems: Partnership Challenges  Speaker: Marc Casper

  • CEO, ThermoFisher

25 years in Diagnostics last 20 years at ThermoFisher 

products used in the Lab for CAR-T research and manufacture 

CGT Innovations: FDA will have a high level of approval each year

How move from research to clinical trials to manufacturing Quicker process

Best practices in Partnerships: the root cause if acceleration to market service providers to deliver highest standards

Building capacity by acquisition to avoid the waiting time

Accelerate new products been manufactured 

Collaborations with Academic Medical center i.e., UCSF in CGT joint funding to accelerate CGT to clinics’

Customers are extremely knowledgable, scale the capital investment made investment

150MIL a year to improve the Workflow 

  • Q&A 12:05 PM – 12:20 PM  

12:05 PM – 12:30 PM

CEO Panel | Anticipating Disruption | Planning for Widespread GCT

The power of GCT to cure disease has the prospect of profoundly improving the lives of patients who respond. Planning for a disruption of this magnitude is complex and challenging as it will change care across the spectrum. Leading chief executives shares perspectives on how the industry will change and how this change should be anticipated. Moderator: Meg Tirrell

  • Senior Health and Science Reporter, CNBC

CGT becoming staple therapy what are the disruptors emerging Speakers: Lisa Dechamps

  • SVP & Chief Business Officer, Novartis Gene Therapies

Reimagine medicine with collaboration at MGH, MDM condition in children 

The Science is there, sustainable processes and systems impact is transformational

Value based pricing, risk sharing Payers and Pharma for one time therapy with life span effect

Collaboration with FDAKieran Murphy

  • CEO, GE Healthcare

Diagnosis of disease to be used in CGT

2021 investment in CAR-T platform 

Investment in several CGT frontier

Investment in AI, ML in system design new technologies 

GE: Scale and Global distributions, sponsor companies in software 

Waste in Industry – Healthcare % of GDP, work with MGH to smooth the workflow faster entry into hospital and out of Hospital

Telemedicine during is Pandemic: Radiologist needs to read remotely 

Supply chain disruptions slow down all ecosystem 

Production of ventilators by collaboration with GM – ingenuity 

Scan patients outside of hospital a scanner in a Box Christian Rommel, PhD

  • Head, Pharmaceuticals Research & Development, Bayer AG

CGT – 2016 and in 2020 new leadership and capability 

Disease Biology and therapeutics

Regenerative Medicine: CGT vs repair building pipeline in ophthalmology and cardiovascular 

During Pandemic: Deliver Medicines like Moderna, Pfizer – collaborations between competitors with Government Bayer entered into Vaccines in 5 days, all processes had to change access innovations developed over decades for medical solutions 

  • Q&A 12:35 PM – 12:50 PM  

12:35 PM – 12:55 PM FIRESIDE

Building a GCT Portfolio

GCT represents a large and growing market for novel therapeutics that has several segments. These include Cardiovascular Disease, Cancer, Neurological Diseases, Infectious Disease, Ophthalmology, Benign Blood Disorders, and many others; Manufacturing and Supply Chain including CDMO’s and CMO’s; Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine; Tools and Platforms (viral vectors, nano delivery, gene editing, etc.). Bayer’s pharma business participates in virtually all of these segments. How does a Company like Bayer approach the development of a portfolio in a space as large and as diverse as this one? How does Bayer approach the support of the production infrastructure with unique demands and significant differences from its historical requirements? Moderator:

Shinichiro Fuse, PhD

  • Managing Partner, MPM Capital

Speaker: Wolfram Carius, PhD

  • EVP, Pharmaceuticals, Head of Cell & Gene Therapy, Bayer AG

CGT will bring treatment to cure, delivery of therapies 

Be a Leader repair, regenerate, cure

Technology and Science for CGT – building a portfolio vs single asset decision criteria development of IP market access patients access acceleration of new products

Bayer strategy: build platform for use by four domains  

Gener augmentation

Autologeneic therapy, analytics

Gene editing

Oncology Cell therapy tumor treatment: What kind of cells – the jury is out

Of 23 product launch at Bayer no prediction is possible some high some lows 

  • Q&A 1:00 PM – 1:15 PM  

12:55 PM – 1:35 PM

Lunch

  1:40 PM – 2:05 PM

GCT Delivery | Perfecting the Technology

Gene delivery uses physical, chemical, or viral means to introduce genetic material into cells. As more genetically modified therapies move closer to the market, challenges involving safety, efficacy, and manufacturing have emerged. Optimizing lipidic and polymer nanoparticles and exosomal delivery is a short-term priority. This panel will examine how the short-term and long-term challenges are being tackled particularly for non-viral delivery modalities. Moderator: Natalie Artzi, PhD

  • Assistant Professor, BWH

Speakers: Geoff McDonough, MD

  • CEO, Generation Bio

Sonya Montgomery

  • CMO, Evox Therapeutics

Laura Sepp-Lorenzino, PhD

  • Chief Scientific Officer, Executive Vice President, Intellia Therapeutics

Doug Williams, PhD

  • CEO, Codiak BioSciences
  • Q&A 2:10 PM – 2:25 PM  

2:05 PM – 2:10 PM

Invention Discovery Grant Announcement

  2:10 PM – 2:20 PM FIRST LOOK

Enhancing vesicles for therapeutic delivery of bioproducts

Xandra Breakefield, PhD

  • Geneticist, MGH, MGH
  • Professor, Neurology, HMS
  • Q&A 2:20 PM – 2:35 PM  

2:20 PM – 2:30 PM FIRST LOOK

Versatile polymer-based nanocarriers for targeted therapy and immunomodulation

Natalie Artzi, PhD

  • Assistant Professor, BWH
  • Q&A 2:30 PM – 2:45 PM  

2:55 PM – 3:20 PM HOT TOPICS

Gene Editing | Achieving Therapeutic Mainstream

Gene editing was recognized by the Nobel Committee as “one of gene technology’s sharpest tools, having a revolutionary impact on life sciences.” Introduced in 2011, gene editing is used to modify DNA. It has applications across almost all categories of disease and is also being used in agriculture and public health.

Today’s panel is made up of pioneers who represent foundational aspects of gene editing.  They will discuss the movement of the technology into the therapeutic mainstream.

  • Successes in gene editing – lessons learned from late-stage assets (sickle cell, ophthalmology)
  • When to use what editing tool – pros and cons of traditional gene-editing v. base editing.  Is prime editing the future? Specific use cases for epigenetic editing.
  • When we reach widespread clinical use – role of off-target editing – is the risk real?  How will we mitigate? How practical is patient-specific off-target evaluation?

Moderator: J. Keith Joung, MD, PhD

  • Robert B. Colvin, M.D. Endowed Chair in Pathology & Pathologist, MGH
  • Professor of Pathology, HMS

Speakers: John Evans

  • CEO, Beam Therapeutics

Lisa Michaels

  • EVP & CMO, Editas Medicine
  • Q&A 3:25 PM – 3:50 PM  

3:25 PM – 3:50 PM HOT TOPICS

Common Blood Disorders | Gene Therapy

There are several dozen companies working to develop gene or cell therapies for Sickle Cell Disease, Beta Thalassemia, and  Fanconi Anemia. In some cases, there are enzyme replacement therapies that are deemed effective and safe. In other cases, the disease is only managed at best. This panel will address a number of questions that are particular to this class of genetic diseases:

  • What are the pros and cons of various strategies for treatment? There are AAV-based editing, non-viral delivery even oligonucleotide recruitment of endogenous editing/repair mechanisms. Which approaches are most appropriate for which disease?
  • How can companies increase the speed of recruitment for clinical trials when other treatments are available? What is the best approach to educate patients on a novel therapeutic?
  • How do we best address ethnic and socio-economic diversity to be more representative of the target patient population?
  • How long do we have to follow up with the patients from the scientific, patient’s community, and payer points of view? What are the current FDA and EMA guidelines for long-term follow-up?
  • Where are we with regards to surrogate endpoints and their application to clinically meaningful endpoints?
  • What are the emerging ethical dilemmas in pediatric gene therapy research? Are there challenges with informed consent and pediatric assent for trial participation?
  • Are there differences in reimbursement policies for these different blood disorders? Clearly durability of response is a big factor. Are there other considerations?

Moderator: David Scadden, MD

  • Director, Center for Regenerative Medicine; Co-Director, Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Director, Hematologic Malignancies & Experimental Hematology, MGH
  • Jordan Professor of Medicine, HMS

Speakers: Samarth Kukarni, PhDNick Leschly

  • Chief Bluebird, Bluebird Bio

Mike McCune, MD, PhD

  • Head, HIV Frontiers, Global Health Innovative Technology Solutions, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Q&A 3:55 PM – 4:15 PM  

3:50 PM – 4:00 PM FIRST LOOK

Gene Editing

J. Keith Joung, MD, PhD

  • Robert B. Colvin, M.D. Endowed Chair in Pathology & Pathologist, MGH
  • Professor of Pathology, HMS
  • Q&A 4:00 PM – 4:20 PM  

4:20 PM – 4:45 PM HOT TOPICS

Gene Expression | Modulating with Oligonucleotide-Based Therapies

Oligonucleotide drugs have recently come into their own with approvals from companies such as Biogen, Alnylam, Novartis and others. This panel will address several questions:

How important is the delivery challenge for oligonucleotides? Are technological advancements emerging that will improve the delivery of oligonucleotides to the CNS or skeletal muscle after systemic administration?

  • Will oligonucleotides improve as a class that will make them even more effective?   Are further advancements in backbone chemistry anticipated, for example.
  • Will oligonucleotide based therapies blaze trails for follow-on gene therapy products?
  • Are small molecules a threat to oligonucleotide-based therapies?
  • Beyond exon skipping and knock-down mechanisms, what other roles will oligonucleotide-based therapies take mechanistically — can genes be activating oligonucleotides?  Is there a place for multiple mechanism oligonucleotide medicines?
  • Are there any advantages of RNAi-based oligonucleotides over ASOs, and if so for what use?

Moderator: Jeannie Lee, MD, PhD

  • Molecular Biologist, MGH
  • Professor of Genetics, HMS

Speakers: Bob Brown, PhD

  • CSO, EVP of R&D, Dicerna

Brett Monia, PhD

  • CEO, Ionis

Alfred Sandrock, MD, PhD

  • EVP, R&D and CMO, Biogen
  • Q&A 4:50 PM – 5:05 PM  

4:45 PM – 4:55 PM FIRST LOOK

RNA therapy for brain cancer

Pierpaolo Peruzzi, MD, PhD

  • Nuerosurgery, BWH
  • Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery, HMS
  • Q&A 4:55 PM – 5:15 PM  

Friday, May 21, 2021

Computer connection to the iCloud of WordPress.com FROZE completely at 10:30AM EST and no file update was possible. COVERAGE OF MAY 21, 2021 IS RECORDED BELOW FOLLOWING THE AGENDA BY COPY AN DPASTE OF ALL THE TWEETS I PRODUCED ON MAY 21, 2021

8:30 AM – 8:55 AM

Venture Investing | Shaping GCT Translation

What is occurring in the GCT venture capital segment? Which elements are seeing the most activity? Which areas have cooled? How is the investment market segmented between gene therapy, cell therapy and gene editing? What makes a hot GCT company? How long will the market stay frothy? Some review of demographics — # of investments, sizes, etc. Why is the market hot and how long do we expect it to stay that way? Rank the top 5 geographic markets for GCT company creation and investing? Are there academic centers that have been especially adept at accelerating GCT outcomes? Do the business models for the rapid development of coronavirus vaccine have any lessons for how GCT technology can be brought to market more quickly? Moderator:   Meredith Fisher, PhD

  • Partner, Mass General Brigham Innovation Fund

Strategies, success what changes are needed in the drug discovery process   Speakers:  

Bring disruptive frontier as a platform with reliable delivery CGT double knock out disease cure all change efficiency and scope human centric vs mice centered right scale of data converted into therapeutics acceleratetion 

Innovation in drugs 60% fails in trial because of Toxicology system of the future deal with big diseases

Moderna is an example in unlocking what is inside us Microbiome and beyond discover new drugs epigenetics  

  • Robert Nelsen
    • Managing Director, Co-founder, ARCH Venture Partners

Manufacturing change is not a new clinical trial FDA need to be presented with new rethinking for big innovations Drug pricing cheaper requires systematization How to systematically scaling up systematize the discovery and the production regulatory innovations

Responsibility mismatch should be and what is “are”

Long term diseases Stack holders and modalities risk benefir for populations 

  • Q&A 9:00 AM – 9:15 AM  

9:00 AM – 9:25 AM

Regenerative Medicine | Stem Cells

The promise of stem cells has been a highlight in the realm of regenerative medicine. Unfortunately, that promise remains largely in the future. Recent breakthroughs have accelerated these potential interventions in particular for treating neurological disease. Among the topics the panel will consider are:

  • Stem cell sourcing
  • Therapeutic indication growth
  • Genetic and other modification in cell production
  • Cell production to final product optimization and challenges
  • How to optimize the final product
  • Moderator:
    • Ole Isacson, MD, PhD
      • Director, Neuroregeneration Research Institute, McLean
      • Professor, Neurology and Neuroscience, MGH, HMS

Opportunities in the next generation of the tactical level Welcome the oprimism and energy level of all Translational medicine funding stem cells enormous opportunities 

  • Speakers:
  • Kapil Bharti, PhD
    • Senior Investigator, Ocular and Stem Cell Translational Research Section, NIH
    • first drug required to establish the process for that innovations design of animal studies not done before
    • Off-th-shelf one time treatment becoming cure 
    •  Intact tissue in a dish is fragile to maintain metabolism
    Joe Burns, PhD
    • VP, Head of Biology, Decibel Therapeutics
    • Ear inside the scall compartments and receptors responsible for hearing highly differentiated tall ask to identify cell for anticipated differentiation
    • multiple cell types and tissue to follow
    Erin Kimbrel, PhD
    • Executive Director, Regenerative Medicine, Astellas
    • In the ocular space immunogenecity
    • regulatory communication
    • use gene editing for immunogenecity Cas1 and Cas2 autologous cells
    • gene editing and programming big opportunities 
    Nabiha Saklayen, PhD
    • CEO and Co-Founder, Cellino
    • scale production of autologous cells foundry using semiconductor process in building cassettes
    • solution for autologous cells
  • Q&A 9:30 AM – 9:45 AM  

9:25 AM – 9:35 AM FIRST LOOK

Stem Cells

Bob Carter, MD, PhD

  • Chairman, Department of Neurosurgery, MGH
  • William and Elizabeth Sweet, Professor of Neurosurgery, HMS
  • Cell therapy for Parkinson to replace dopamine producing cells lost ability to produce dopamin
  • skin cell to become autologous cells reprograms to become cells producing dopamine
  • transplantation fibroblast cells metabolic driven process lower mutation burden 
  • Quercetin inhibition elimination undifferentiated cells graft survival oxygenation increased 
  • Q&A 9:35 AM – 9:55 AM  

9:35 AM – 10:00 AM

Capital Formation ’21-30 | Investing Modes Driving GCT Technology and Timing

The dynamics of venture/PE investing and IPOs are fast evolving. What are the drivers – will the number of investors grow will the size of early rounds continue to grow? How is this reflected in GCT target areas, company design, and biotech overall? Do patients benefit from these trends? Is crossover investing a distinct class or a little of both? Why did it emerge and what are the characteristics of the players?  Will SPACs play a role in the growth of the gene and cell therapy industry. What is the role of corporate investment arms eg NVS, Bayer, GV, etc. – has a category killer emerged?  Are we nearing the limit of what the GCT market can absorb or will investment capital continue to grow unabated? Moderator: Roger Kitterman

  • VP, Venture, Mass General Brigham
  • Saturation reached or more investment is coming in CGT 

Speakers: Ellen Hukkelhoven, PhD

  • Managing Director, Perceptive Advisors
  • Cardiac area transduct cells
  • matching tools
  • 10% success of phase 1 in drug development next phase matters more 

Peter Kolchinsky, PhD

  • Founder and Managing Partner, RA Capital Management
  • Future proof for new comers disruptors 
  • Ex Vivo gene therapy to improve funding products what tool kit belongs to 
  • company insulation from next instability vs comapny stabilizing themselves along few years
  • Company interested in SPAC 
  • cross over investment vs SPAC
  • Multi Omics in cancer early screening metastatic diseas will be wiped out 

Deep Nishar

  • Senior Managing Partner, SoftBank Investment Advisors
  • Young field vs CGT started in the 80s 
  • high payloads is a challenge
  • cost effective fast delivery to large populations
  • Mission oriented by the team and management  
  • Multi Omics disease modality 

Oleg Nodelman

  • Founder & Managing Partner, EcoR1 Capital
  • Invest in company next round of investment will be IPO
  • Help company raise money cross over investment vs SPAC
  • Innovating ideas from academia in need for funding 
  • Q&A 10:05 AM – 10:20 AM  

10:00 AM – 10:10 AM FIRST LOOK

New scientific and clinical developments for autologous stem cell therapy for Parkinson’s disease patients

Penelope Hallett, PhD

  • NRL, McLean
  • Assistant Professor Psychiatry, HMS
  • Pharmacologic agent in existing cause another disorders locomo-movement related 
  • efficacy Autologous cell therapy transplantation approach program T cells into dopamine generating neurons greater than Allogeneic cell transplantation 
  • Q&A 10:10 AM – 10:30 AM  

10:10 AM – 10:35 AM HOT TOPICS

Neurodegenerative Clinical Outcomes | Achieving GCT Success

Can stem cell-based platforms become successful treatments for neurodegenerative diseases?

  •  What are the commonalities driving GCT success in neurodegenerative disease and non-neurologic disease, what are the key differences?
  • Overcoming treatment administration challenges
  • GCT impact on degenerative stage of disease
  • How difficult will it be to titrate the size of the cell therapy effect in different neurological disorders and for different patients?
  • Demonstrating clinical value to patients and payers
  • Revised clinical trial models to address issues and concerns specific to GCT

Moderator: Bob Carter, MD, PhD

  • Chairman, Department of Neurosurgery, MGH
  • William and Elizabeth Sweet, Professor of Neurosurgery, HMS
  • Neurogeneration REVERSAL or slowing down 

Speakers: Erwan Bezard, PhD

  • INSERM Research Director, Institute of Neurodegenerative Diseases
  • Cautious on reversal 
  • Early intervantion versus late

Nikola Kojic, PhD

  • CEO and Co-Founder, Oryon Cell Therapies
  • Autologus cell therapy placed focal replacing missing synapses reestablishment of neural circuitary

Geoff MacKay

  • President & CEO, AVROBIO
  • Prevent condition to be manifested in the first place 
  • clinical effect durable single infusion preventions of symptoms to manifest 
  • Cerebral edema – stabilization
  • Gene therapy know which is the abnormal gene grafting the corrected one 
  • More than biomarker as end point functional benefit not yet established  

Viviane Tabar, MD

  • Founding Investigator, BlueRock Therapeutics
  • Chair of Neurosurgery, Memorial Sloan Kettering
  • Current market does not have delivery mechanism that a drug-delivery is the solution Trials would fail on DELIVERY
  • Immune suppressed patients during one year to avoid graft rejection Autologous approach of Parkinson patient genetically mutated reprogramed as dopamine generating neuron – unknowns are present
  • Circuitry restoration
  • Microenvironment disease ameliorate symptoms – education of patients on the treatment 
  • Q&A 10:40 AM – 10:55 AM  

10:35 AM – 11:35 AM

Disruptive Dozen: 12 Technologies that Will Reinvent GCT

Nearly one hundred senior Mass General Brigham Harvard faculty contributed to the creation of this group of twelve GCT technologies that they believe will breakthrough in the next two years. The Disruptive Dozen identifies and ranks the GCT technologies that will be available on at least an experimental basis to have the chance of significantly improving health care. 11:35 AM – 11:45 AM

Concluding Remarks

The co-chairs convene to reflect on the insights shared over the three days. They will discuss what to expect at the in-person GCT focused May 2-4, 2022 World Medical Innovation Forum.

ALL THE TWEETS PRODUCED ON MAY 21, 2021 INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:

Aviva Lev-Ari

@AVIVA1950

  • @AVIVA1950_PIcs

4h

#WMIF2021

@MGBInnovation

Erwan Bezard, PhD INSERM Research Director, Institute of Neurodegenerative Diseases Cautious on reversal

@pharma_BI

@AVIVA1950

Aviva Lev-Ari

@AVIVA1950

  • @AVIVA1950_PIcs

4h

#WMIF2021

@MGBInnovation

Nikola Kojic, PhD CEO and Co-Founder, Oryon Cell Therapies Autologus cell therapy placed focal replacing missing synapses reestablishment of neural circutary

@pharma_BI

@AVIVA1950

@AVIVA1950_PIcs

Aviva Lev-Ari

@AVIVA1950

4h

#WMIF2021

@MGBInnovation

Bob Carter, MD, PhD Chairman, Department of Neurosurgery, MGH William and Elizabeth Sweet, Professor of Neurosurgery, HMS Neurogeneration REVERSAL or slowing down? 

@pharma_BI

@AVIVA1950

@AVIVA1950_PIcs

Aviva Lev-Ari

@AVIVA1950

4h

#WMIF2021

@MGBInnovation

Penelope Hallett, PhD NRL, McLean Assistant Professor Psychiatry, HMS efficacy Autologous cell therapy transplantation approach program T cells into dopamine genetating cells greater than Allogeneic cell transplantation 

@pharma_BI

@AVIVA1950

@AVIVA1950_PIcs

Aviva Lev-Ari

@AVIVA1950

4h

#WMIF2021

@MGBInnovation

Penelope Hallett, PhD NRL, McLean Assistant Professor Psychiatry, HMS Pharmacologic agent in existing cause another disorders locomo-movement related 

@pharma_BI

@AVIVA1950

@AVIVA1950_PIcs

Aviva Lev-Ari

@AVIVA1950

@AVIVA1950_PIcs

4h

#WMIF2021

@MGBInnovation

Roger Kitterman VP, Venture, Mass General Brigham Saturation reached or more investment is coming in CGT Multi OMICS and academia originated innovations are the most attractive areas

@pharma_BI

@AVIVA1950

1

3

@AVIVA1950_PIcs

Aviva Lev-Ari

@AVIVA1950

@AVIVA1950_PIcs

4h

#WMIF2021

@MGBInnovation

Roger Kitterman VP, Venture, Mass General Brigham Saturation reached or more investment is coming in CGT 

@pharma_BI

@AVIVA1950

1

@AVIVA1950_PIcs

Aviva Lev-Ari

@AVIVA1950

4h

#WMIF2021

@MGBInnovation

Oleg Nodelman Founder & Managing Partner, EcoR1 Capital Invest in company next round of investment will be IPO 20% discount

@pharma_BI

@AVIVA1950

@AVIVA1950_PIcs

Aviva Lev-Ari

@AVIVA1950

@AVIVA1950_PIcs

4h

#WMIF2021

@MGBInnovation

Peter Kolchinsky, PhD Founder and Managing Partner, RA Capital Management Future proof for new comers disruptors  Ex Vivo gene therapy to improve funding products what tool kit belongs to 

@pharma_BI

@AVIVA1950

@AVIVA1950_PIcs

Aviva Lev-Ari

@AVIVA1950

4h

#WMIF2021

@MGBInnovation

Deep Nishar Senior Managing Partner, SoftBank Investment Advisors Young field vs CGT started in the 80s  high payloads is a challenge 

@pharma_BI

@AVIVA1950

@AVIVA1950_PIcs

Aviva Lev-Ari

@AVIVA1950

5h

#WMIF2021

@MGBInnovation

Bob Carter, MD, PhD MGH, HMS cells producing dopamine transplantation fibroblast cells metabolic driven process lower mutation burden  Quercetin inhibition elimination undifferentiated cells graft survival oxygenation increased 

@pharma_BI

@AVIVA1950

@AVIVA1950_PIcs

Aviva Lev-Ari

@AVIVA1950

5h

#WMIF2021

@MGBInnovation

Chairman, Department of Neurosurgery, MGH, Professor of Neurosurgery, HMS Cell therapy for Parkinson to replace dopamine producing cells lost ability to produce dopamine skin cell to become autologous cells reprogramed  

@pharma_BI

@AVIVA1950

#WMIF2021

@MGBInnovation

Kapil Bharti, PhD Senior Investigator, Ocular and Stem Cell Translational Research Section, NIH Off-th-shelf one time treatment becoming cure  Intact tissue in a dish is fragile to maintain metabolism to become like semiconductors

@pharma_BI

@AVIVA1950

@AVIVA1950_PIcs

Aviva Lev-Ari

@AVIVA1950

@AVIVA1950_PIcs

5h

#WMIF2021

@MGBInnovation

Ole Isacson, MD, PhD Director, Neuroregeneration Research Institute, McLean Professor, Neurology and Neuroscience, MGH, HMS Opportunities in the next generation of the tactical level Welcome the oprimism and energy level of all

@pharma_BI

@AVIVA1950

@AVIVA1950_PIcs

Aviva Lev-Ari

@AVIVA1950

5h

#WMIF2021

@MGBInnovation

Erin Kimbrel, PhD Executive Director, Regenerative Medicine, Astellas In the ocular space immunogenecity regulatory communication use gene editing for immunogenecity Cas1 and Cas2 autologous cells

@pharma_BI

@AVIVA1950

@AVIVA1950_PIcs

Aviva Lev-Ari

@AVIVA1950

5h

#WMIF2021

@MGBInnovation

Nabiha Saklayen, PhD CEO and Co-Founder, Cellino scale production of autologous cells foundry using semiconductor process in building cassettes by optic physicists

@pharma_BI

@AVIVA1950

@AVIVA1950_PIcs

Aviva Lev-Ari

@AVIVA1950

5h

#WMIF2021

@MGBInnovation

Joe Burns, PhD VP, Head of Biology, Decibel Therapeutics Ear inside the scall compartments and receptors responsible for hearing highly differentiated tall ask to identify cell for anticipated differentiation control by genomics

@pharma_BI

@AVIVA1950

Aviva Lev-Ari

@AVIVA1950

5h

#WMIF2021

@MGBInnovation

Kapil Bharti, PhD Senior Investigator, Ocular and Stem Cell Translational Research Section, NIH first drug required to establish the process for that innovations design of animal studies not done before 

@pharma_BI

@AVIVA1950

@AVIVA1950_PIcs

Aviva Lev-Ari

@AVIVA1950

5h

#WMIF2021

@MGBInnovation

Meredith Fisher, PhD Partner, Mass General Brigham Innovation Fund Strategies, success what changes are needed in the drug discovery process@pharma_BI

@AVIVA1950

@AVIVA1950_PIcs

Aviva Lev-Ari

@AVIVA1950

5h

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@MGBInnovation

Robert Nelsen Managing Director, Co-founder, ARCH Venture Partners Manufacturing change is not a new clinical trial FDA need to be presented with new rethinking for big innovations Drug pricing cheaper requires systematization

@pharma_BI

@AVIVA1950

1

@AVIVA1950_PIcs

Aviva Lev-Ari

@AVIVA1950

5h

#WMIF2021

@MGBInnovation

Kush Parmar, MD, PhD Managing Partner, 5AM Ventures Responsibility mismatch should be and what is “are”

@pharma_BI

@AVIVA1950

@AVIVA1950_PIcs

Aviva Lev-Ari

@AVIVA1950

5h

#WMIF2021

@MGBInnovation

David Berry, MD, PhD CEO, Valo Health GP, Flagship Pioneering Bring disruptive frontier platform reliable delivery CGT double knockout disease cure all change efficiency scope human centric vs mice centered right scale acceleration

@pharma_BI

@AVIVA1950

@AVIVA1950_PIcs

Aviva Lev-Ari

@AVIVA1950

6h

#WMIF2021

@MGBInnovation

Kush Parmar, MD, PhD Managing Partner, 5AM Ventures build it yourself, benefit for patients FIrst Look at MGB shows MEE innovation on inner ear worthy investment  

@pharma_BI

@AVIVA1950

@AVIVA1950_PIcs

Aviva Lev-Ari

@AVIVA1950

6h

#WMIF2021

@MGBInnovation

Robert Nelsen Managing Director, Co-founder, ARCH Venture Partners Frustration with supply chain during the Pandemic, GMC anticipation in advance CGT rapidly prototype rethink and invest proactive investor .edu and Pharma

@pharma_BI

@AVIVA1950

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Machine Learning (ML) in cancer prognosis prediction helps the researcher to identify multiple known as well as candidate cancer diver genes

Curator and Reporter: Dr. Premalata Pati, Ph.D., Postdoc

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is morethanthes.jpg
Seeing “through” the cancer with the power of data analysis — possible with the help of artificial intelligence. Credit: MPI f. Molecular Genetics/ Ella Maru Studio
Image Source: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-04-sum-mutations-cancer-genes-machine.html

Cancer has been characterized as a heterogeneous disease consisting of many different subtypes. The early diagnosis and prognosis of a cancer type have become a necessity in cancer research, as it can facilitate the subsequent clinical management of patients. The importance of classifying cancer patients into high or low-risk groups has led many research teams, from the biomedical and the bioinformatics field, to study the application of machine learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) methods. Therefore, these techniques have been utilized as an aim to model the progression and treatment of cancerous conditions by predicting new algorithms.

In the majority of human cancers, heritable loss of gene function through cell division may be mediated as often by epigenetic as by genetic abnormalities. Epigenetic modification occurs through a process of interrelated changes in CpG island methylation and histone modifications. Candidate gene approaches of cell cycle, growth regulatory and apoptotic genes have shown epigenetic modification associated with loss of cognate proteins in sporadic pituitary tumors.

On 11th November 2020, researchers from the University of California, Irvine, has established the understanding of epigenetic mechanisms in tumorigenesis and publicized a previously undetected repertoire of cancer driver genes. The study was published in “Science Advances

Researchers were able to identify novel tumor suppressor genes (TSGs) and oncogenes (OGs), particularly those with rare mutations by using a new prediction algorithm, called DORGE (Discovery of Oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes using Genetic and Epigenetic features) by integrating the most comprehensive collection of genetic and epigenetic data.

The senior author Wei Li, Ph.D., the Grace B. Bell chair and professor of bioinformatics in the Department of Biological Chemistry at the UCI School of Medicine said

Existing bioinformatics algorithms do not sufficiently leverage epigenetic features to predict cancer driver genes, even though epigenetic alterations are known to be associated with cancer driver genes.

The Study

This study demonstrated how cancer driver genes, predicted by DORGE, included both known cancer driver genes and novel driver genes not reported in current literature. In addition, researchers found that the novel dual-functional genes, which DORGE predicted as both TSGs and OGs, are highly enriched at hubs in protein-protein interaction (PPI) and drug/compound-gene networks.

Prof. Li explained that the DORGE algorithm, successfully leveraged public data to discover the genetic and epigenetic alterations that play significant roles in cancer driver gene dysregulation and could be instrumental in improving cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment efforts in the future.

Another new algorithmic prediction for the identification of cancer genes by Machine Learning has been carried out by a team of researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics (MPIMG) in Berlin and the Institute of Computational Biology of Helmholtz Zentrum München combining a wide variety of data analyzed it with “Artificial Intelligence” and identified numerous cancer genes. They termed the algorithm as EMOGI (Explainable Multi-Omics Graph Integration). EMOGI can predict which genes cause cancer, even if their DNA sequence is not changed. This opens up new perspectives for targeted cancer therapy in personalized medicine and the development of biomarkers. The research was published in Nature Machine Intelligence on 12th April 2021.

In cancer, cells get out of control. They proliferate and push their way into tissues, destroying organs and thereby impairing essential vital functions. This unrestricted growth is usually induced by an accumulation of DNA changes in cancer genes—i.e. mutations in these genes that govern the development of the cell. But some cancers have only very few mutated genes, which means that other causes lead to the disease in these cases.

The Study

Overlap of EMOGI’s positive predictions with known cancer genes (KCGs) and candidate cancer genes
Image Source: https://static-content.springer.com/esm/art%3A10.1038%2Fs42256-021-00325-y/MediaObjects/42256_2021_325_MOESM1_ESM.pdf

The aim of the study has been represented in 4 main headings

  • Additional targets for personalized medicine
  • Better results by combination
  • In search of hints for further studies
  • Suitable for other types of diseases as well

The team was headed by Annalisa Marsico. The team used the algorithm to identify 165 previously unknown cancer genes. The sequences of these genes are not necessarily altered-apparently, already a dysregulation of these genes can lead to cancer. All of the newly identified genes interact closely with well-known cancer genes and be essential for the survival of tumor cells in cell culture experiments. The EMOGI can also explain the relationships in the cell’s machinery that make a gene a cancer gene. The software integrates tens of thousands of data sets generated from patient samples. These contain information about DNA methylations, the activity of individual genes and the interactions of proteins within cellular pathways in addition to sequence data with mutations. In these data, a deep-learning algorithm detects the patterns and molecular principles that lead to the development of cancer.

Marsico says

Ideally, we obtain a complete picture of all cancer genes at some point, which can have a different impact on cancer progression for different patients

Unlike traditional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, personalized treatments are tailored to the exact type of tumor. “The goal is to choose the best treatment for each patient, the most effective treatment with the fewest side effects. In addition, molecular properties can be used to identify cancers that are already in the early stages.

Roman Schulte-Sasse, a doctoral student on Marsico’s team and the first author of the publication says

To date, most studies have focused on pathogenic changes in sequence, or cell blueprints, at the same time, it has recently become clear that epigenetic perturbation or dysregulation gene activity can also lead to cancer.

This is the reason, researchers merged sequence data that reflects blueprint failures with information that represents events in cells. Initially, scientists confirmed that mutations, or proliferation of genomic segments, were the leading cause of cancer. Then, in the second step, they identified gene candidates that are not very directly related to the genes that cause cancer.

Clues for future directions

The researcher’s new program adds a considerable number of new entries to the list of suspected cancer genes, which has grown to between 700 and 1,000 in recent years. It was only through a combination of bioinformatics analysis and the newest Artificial Intelligence (AI) methods that the researchers were able to track down the hidden genes.

Schulte-Sasse says “The interactions of proteins and genes can be mapped as a mathematical network, known as a graph.” He explained by giving an example of a railroad network; each station corresponds to a protein or gene, and each interaction among them is the train connection. With the help of deep learning—the very algorithms that have helped artificial intelligence make a breakthrough in recent years – the researchers were able to discover even those train connections that had previously gone unnoticed. Schulte-Sasse had the computer analyze tens of thousands of different network maps from 16 different cancer types, each containing between 12,000 and 19,000 data points.

Many more interesting details are hidden in the data. Patterns that are dependent on particular cancer and tissue were seen. The researchers were also observed this as evidence that tumors are triggered by different molecular mechanisms in different organs.

Marsico explains

The EMOGI program is not limited to cancer, the researchers emphasize. In theory, it can be used to integrate diverse sets of biological data and find patterns there. It could be useful to apply our algorithm for similarly complex diseases for which multifaceted data are collected and where genes play an important role. An example might be complex metabolic diseases such as diabetes.

Main Source

New prediction algorithm identifies previously undetected cancer driver genes

https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/46/eaba6784  

Integration of multiomics data with graph convolutional networks to identify new cancer genes and their associated molecular mechanisms

https://www.nature.com/articles/s42256-021-00325-y#citeas

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AI System Used to Detect Lung Cancer

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https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2019/06/28/ai-system-used-to-detect-lung-cancer/

Deep Learning extracts Histopathological Patterns and accurately discriminates 28 Cancer and 14 Normal Tissue Types: Pan-cancer Computational Histopathology Analysis

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Evolution of the Human Cell Genome Biology Field of Gene Expression, Gene Regulation, Gene Regulatory Networks and Application of Machine Learning Algorithms in Large-Scale Biological Data Analysis

Curator & Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2019/12/08/evolution-of-the-human-cell-genome-biology-field-of-gene-expression-gene-regulation-gene-regulatory-networks-and-application-of-machine-learning-algorithms-in-large-scale-biological-data-analysis/

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https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2016/05/02/cancer-detection-and-therapeutics/

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Two brothers with MEPAN Syndrome: A Rare Genetic Disorder

Reporter: Amandeep Kaur

In the early 40s, a married couple named Danny and Nikki, had normal pregnancy and delivered their first child in October 2011.  The couple was elated after the birth of Carson because they were uncertain about even conceiving a baby. Soon after birth, the parents started facing difficulty in feeding the newborn and had some wakeful nights, which they used to called “witching hours”. For initial six months, they were clueless that something was not correct with their infant. Shortly, they found issues in moving ability, sitting, and crawling with Carson. Their next half year went in visiting several behavioral specialists and pediatricians with no conclusion other than a suggestion that there is nothing to panic as children grow at different rates.

Later in early 2013, Caron was detected with cerebral palsy in a local regional center. The diagnosis was based on his disability to talk and delay in motor development. At the same time, Carson had his first MRI which showed no negative results. The parents convinced themselves that their child condition would be solved by therapies and thus started physical and occupational therapies. After two years, the couple gave birth to another boy child named Chase in 2013. Initially, there was nothing wrong with Chase as well. But after nine months, Chase was found to possess the same symptoms of delaying in motor development as his elder brother. It was expected that Chase may also be suffering from cerebral palsy. For around one year both boys went through enormous diagnostic tests starting from karyotyping, metabolic screen tests to diagnostic tests for Fragile X syndrome, lysosomal storage disorders, Friedreich ataxia and spinocerebellar ataxia. Gene panel tests for mitochondrial DNA and Oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) deficiencies were also performed. No conclusion was drawn because each diagnostic test showed the negative results.

Over the years, the condition of boys was deteriorating as their movements became stiffer and ataxic, they were not able to crawl anymore. By the end of 2015, the boys had an MRI which showed some symmetric anomalies in their basal ganglia indicating a metabolic condition. The symptoms of Carson and Chase was not even explained by whole exome sequencing due to the absence of any positive result. The grievous journey of visits to neurologist, diagnostic tests and inconclusive results led the parents to rethink about anything happened erroneous due to them such as due to their lifestyle, insufficient intake of vitamins during pregnancy or exposure to toxic agents which left their sons in that situation.

During the diagnostic odyssey, Danny spent many restless and sleepless nights in searching PubMed for any recent cases with symptoms similar to his sons and eventually came across the NIH’s Undiagnosed Diseases Network (UDN), which gave a light of hope to the demoralized family. As soon as Danny discovered about the NIH’s Diseases Network, he gathered all the medical documents of both his sons and submitted the application. The submitted application in late 2015 got accepted a year later in December 2016 and they got their first appointment in early 2017 at the UDN site at Stanford. At Stanford, the boys had gone through whole-genome sequencing and some series of examinations which came back with inconclusive results. Finally, in February 2018, the family received some conclusive results which explained that the two boys suffer from MEPAN syndrome with pathogenic mutations in MECR gene.

  • MEPAN means Mitochondrial Enoyl CoA reductase Protein-Associated Neurodegeneration
  • MEPAN syndrome is a rare genetic neurological disorder
  • MEPAN syndrome is associated with symptoms of ataxia, optic atrophy and dystonia
  • The wild-type MECR gene encodes a mitochondrial protein which is involved in metabolic processes
  • The prevalence rate of MEPAN syndrome is 1 in 1 million
  • Currently, there are 17 patients of MEPAN syndrome worldwide

The symptoms of Carson and Chase of an early onset of motor development with no appropriate biomarkers and T-2 hyperintensity in the basal ganglia were matching with the seven known MEPAN patient at that time. The agonizing journey of five years concluded with diagnosis of rare genetic disorder.

Despite the advances in genetic testing and their low-cost, there are many families which still suffer and left undiagnostic for long years. To shorten the diagnostic journey of undiagnosed patients, the whole-exome and whole-genome sequencing can be used as a primary tool. There is need of more research to find appropriate treatments of genetic disorders and therapies to reduce the suffering of the patients and families. It is necessary to fill the gap between the researchers and clinicians to stimulate the development in diagnosis, treatment and drug development for rare genetic disorders.

The family started a foundation named “MEPAN Foundation” (https://www.mepan. org) to reach out to the world to educate people about the mutation in MECR gene. By creating awareness among the communities, clinicians, and researchers worldwide, the patients having rare genetic disorder can come closer and share their information to improve their condition and quality of life.

Reference: Danny Miller, The diagnostic odyssey: our family’s story, The American Journal of Human Genetics, Volume 108, Issue 2, 2021, Pages 217-218, ISSN 0002-9297, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2021.01.003 (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002929721000033)

Sources:

https://www.variantyx.com/2020/02/26/in-silico-panel-expansion/

https://www.orpha.net/consor/cgi-bin/OC_Exp.php?lng=EN&Expert=508093

https://www.mepan. org

Other related articles were published in this Open Access Online Scientific Journal, including the following:

Effect of mitochondrial stress on epigenetic modifiers

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https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2016/05/07/effect-of-mitochondrial-stress-on-epigenetic-modifiers/

The Three Parent Technique to Avoid Mitochondrial Disease in Embryo

Reporter and Curator: Dr. Sudipta Saha, Ph.D.

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2016/10/07/the-three-parent-technique-to-avoid-mitochondrial-disease-in-embryo/

New Insights into mtDNA, mitochondrial proteins, aging, and metabolic control

Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP, Curator, LPBI

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2016/04/20/new-insights-into-mtdna-mitochondrial-proteins-aging-and-metabolic-control/

Mitochondrial Isocitrate Dehydrogenase and Variants

Writer and Curator: Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2015/04/02/mitochondrial-isocitrate-dehydrogenase-and-variants/

Update on mitochondrial function, respiration, and associated disorders

Larry H. Benstein, MD, FCAP, Gurator and writer

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2014/07/08/update-on-mitochondrial-function-respiration-and-associated-disorders/

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Systems Biology analysis of Transcription Networks, Artificial Intelligence, and High-End Computing Coming to Fruition in Personalized Oncology

Curator: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D.

In the June 2020 issue of the journal Science, writer Roxanne Khamsi has an interesting article “Computing Cancer’s Weak Spots; An algorithm to unmask tumors’ molecular linchpins is tested in patients”[1], describing some early successes in the incorporation of cancer genome sequencing in conjunction with artificial intelligence algorithms toward a personalized clinical treatment decision for various tumor types.  In 2016, oncologists Amy Tiersten collaborated with systems biologist Andrea Califano and cell biologist Jose Silva at Mount Sinai Hospital to develop a systems biology approach to determine that the drug ruxolitinib, a STAT3 inhibitor, would be effective for one of her patient’s aggressively recurring, Herceptin-resistant breast tumor.  Dr. Califano, instead of defining networks of driver mutations, focused on identifying a few transcription factors that act as ‘linchpins’ or master controllers of transcriptional networks withing tumor cells, and in doing so hoping to, in essence, ‘bottleneck’ the transcriptional machinery of potential oncogenic products. As Dr. Castilano states

“targeting those master regulators and you will stop cancer in its tracks, no matter what mutation initially caused it.”

It is important to note that this approach also relies on the ability to sequence tumors  by RNA-seq to determine the underlying mutations which alter which master regulators are pertinent in any one tumor.  And given the wide tumor heterogeneity in tumor samples, this sequencing effort may have to involve multiple biopsies (as discussed in earlier posts on tumor heterogeneity in renal cancer).

As stated in the article, Califano co-founded a company called Darwin-Health in 2015 to guide doctors by identifying the key transcription factors in a patient’s tumor and suggesting personalized therapeutics to those identified molecular targets (OncoTarget™).  He had collaborated with the Jackson Laboratory and most recently Columbia University to conduct a $15 million 3000 patient clinical trial.  This was a bit of a stretch from his initial training as a physicist and, in 1986, IBM hired him for some artificial intelligence projects.  He then landed in 2003 at Columbia and has been working on identifying these transcriptional nodes that govern cancer survival and tumorigenicity.  Dr. Califano had figured that the number of genetic mutations which potentially could be drivers were too vast:

A 2018 study which analyzed more than 9000 tumor samples reported over 1.5 million mutations[2]

and impossible to develop therapeutics against.  He reasoned that you would just have to identify the common connections between these pathways or transcriptional nodes and termed them master regulators.

A Pan-Cancer Analysis of Enhancer Expression in Nearly 9000 Patient Samples

Chen H, Li C, Peng X, et al. Cell. 2018;173(2):386-399.e12.

Abstract

The role of enhancers, a key class of non-coding regulatory DNA elements, in cancer development has increasingly been appreciated. Here, we present the detection and characterization of a large number of expressed enhancers in a genome-wide analysis of 8928 tumor samples across 33 cancer types using TCGA RNA-seq data. Compared with matched normal tissues, global enhancer activation was observed in most cancers. Across cancer types, global enhancer activity was positively associated with aneuploidy, but not mutation load, suggesting a hypothesis centered on “chromatin-state” to explain their interplay. Integrating eQTL, mRNA co-expression, and Hi-C data analysis, we developed a computational method to infer causal enhancer-gene interactions, revealing enhancers of clinically actionable genes. Having identified an enhancer ∼140 kb downstream of PD-L1, a major immunotherapy target, we validated it experimentally. This study provides a systematic view of enhancer activity in diverse tumor contexts and suggests the clinical implications of enhancers.

 

A diagram of how concentrating on these transcriptional linchpins or nodes may be more therapeutically advantageous as only one pharmacologic agent is needed versus multiple agents to inhibit the various upstream pathways:

 

 

From: Khamsi R: Computing cancer’s weak spots. Science 2020, 368(6496):1174-1177.

 

VIPER Algorithm (Virtual Inference of Protein activity by Enriched Regulon Analysis)

The algorithm that Califano and DarwinHealth developed is a systems biology approach using a tumor’s RNASeq data to determine controlling nodes of transcription.  They have recently used the VIPER algorithm to look at RNA-Seq data from more than 10,000 tumor samples from TCGA and identified 407 transcription factor genes that acted as these linchpins across all tumor types.  Only 20 to 25 of  them were implicated in just one tumor type so these potential nodes are common in many forms of cancer.

Other institutions like the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories have been using VIPER in their patient tumor analysis.  Linchpins for other tumor types have been found.  For instance, VIPER identified transcription factors IKZF1 and IKF3 as linchpins in multiple myeloma.  But currently approved therapeutics are hard to come by for targets with are transcription factors, as most pharma has concentrated on inhibiting an easier target like kinases and their associated activity.  In general, developing transcription factor inhibitors in more difficult an undertaking for multiple reasons.

Network-based inference of protein activity helps functionalize the genetic landscape of cancer. Alvarez MJ, Shen Y, Giorgi FM, Lachmann A, Ding BB, Ye BH, Califano A:. Nature genetics 2016, 48(8):838-847 [3]

Abstract

Identifying the multiple dysregulated oncoproteins that contribute to tumorigenesis in a given patient is crucial for developing personalized treatment plans. However, accurate inference of aberrant protein activity in biological samples is still challenging as genetic alterations are only partially predictive and direct measurements of protein activity are generally not feasible. To address this problem we introduce and experimentally validate a new algorithm, VIPER (Virtual Inference of Protein-activity by Enriched Regulon analysis), for the accurate assessment of protein activity from gene expression data. We use VIPER to evaluate the functional relevance of genetic alterations in regulatory proteins across all TCGA samples. In addition to accurately inferring aberrant protein activity induced by established mutations, we also identify a significant fraction of tumors with aberrant activity of druggable oncoproteins—despite a lack of mutations, and vice-versa. In vitro assays confirmed that VIPER-inferred protein activity outperforms mutational analysis in predicting sensitivity to targeted inhibitors.

 

 

 

 

Figure 1 

Schematic overview of the VIPER algorithm From: Alvarez MJ, Shen Y, Giorgi FM, Lachmann A, Ding BB, Ye BH, Califano A: Functional characterization of somatic mutations in cancer using network-based inference of protein activity. Nature genetics 2016, 48(8):838-847.

(a) Molecular layers profiled by different technologies. Transcriptomics measures steady-state mRNA levels; Proteomics quantifies protein levels, including some defined post-translational isoforms; VIPER infers protein activity based on the protein’s regulon, reflecting the abundance of the active protein isoform, including post-translational modifications, proper subcellular localization and interaction with co-factors. (b) Representation of VIPER workflow. A regulatory model is generated from ARACNe-inferred context-specific interactome and Mode of Regulation computed from the correlation between regulator and target genes. Single-sample gene expression signatures are computed from genome-wide expression data, and transformed into regulatory protein activity profiles by the aREA algorithm. (c) Three possible scenarios for the aREA analysis, including increased, decreased or no change in protein activity. The gene expression signature and its absolute value (|GES|) are indicated by color scale bars, induced and repressed target genes according to the regulatory model are indicated by blue and red vertical lines. (d) Pleiotropy Correction is performed by evaluating whether the enrichment of a given regulon (R4) is driven by genes co-regulated by a second regulator (R4∩R1). (e) Benchmark results for VIPER analysis based on multiple-samples gene expression signatures (msVIPER) and single-sample gene expression signatures (VIPER). Boxplots show the accuracy (relative rank for the silenced protein), and the specificity (fraction of proteins inferred as differentially active at p < 0.05) for the 6 benchmark experiments (see Table 2). Different colors indicate different implementations of the aREA algorithm, including 2-tail (2T) and 3-tail (3T), Interaction Confidence (IC) and Pleiotropy Correction (PC).

 Other articles from Andrea Califano on VIPER algorithm in cancer include:

Resistance to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in triple-negative breast cancer mediated by a reversible drug-tolerant state.

Echeverria GV, Ge Z, Seth S, Zhang X, Jeter-Jones S, Zhou X, Cai S, Tu Y, McCoy A, Peoples M, Sun Y, Qiu H, Chang Q, Bristow C, Carugo A, Shao J, Ma X, Harris A, Mundi P, Lau R, Ramamoorthy V, Wu Y, Alvarez MJ, Califano A, Moulder SL, Symmans WF, Marszalek JR, Heffernan TP, Chang JT, Piwnica-Worms H.Sci Transl Med. 2019 Apr 17;11(488):eaav0936. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aav0936.PMID: 30996079

An Integrated Systems Biology Approach Identifies TRIM25 as a Key Determinant of Breast Cancer Metastasis.

Walsh LA, Alvarez MJ, Sabio EY, Reyngold M, Makarov V, Mukherjee S, Lee KW, Desrichard A, Turcan Ş, Dalin MG, Rajasekhar VK, Chen S, Vahdat LT, Califano A, Chan TA.Cell Rep. 2017 Aug 15;20(7):1623-1640. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2017.07.052.PMID: 28813674

Inhibition of the autocrine IL-6-JAK2-STAT3-calprotectin axis as targeted therapy for HR-/HER2+ breast cancers.

Rodriguez-Barrueco R, Yu J, Saucedo-Cuevas LP, Olivan M, Llobet-Navas D, Putcha P, Castro V, Murga-Penas EM, Collazo-Lorduy A, Castillo-Martin M, Alvarez M, Cordon-Cardo C, Kalinsky K, Maurer M, Califano A, Silva JM.Genes Dev. 2015 Aug 1;29(15):1631-48. doi: 10.1101/gad.262642.115. Epub 2015 Jul 30.PMID: 26227964

Master regulators used as breast cancer metastasis classifier.

Lim WK, Lyashenko E, Califano A.Pac Symp Biocomput. 2009:504-15.PMID: 19209726 Free

 

Additional References

 

  1. Khamsi R: Computing cancer’s weak spots. Science 2020, 368(6496):1174-1177.
  2. Chen H, Li C, Peng X, Zhou Z, Weinstein JN, Liang H: A Pan-Cancer Analysis of Enhancer Expression in Nearly 9000 Patient Samples. Cell 2018, 173(2):386-399 e312.
  3. Alvarez MJ, Shen Y, Giorgi FM, Lachmann A, Ding BB, Ye BH, Califano A: Functional characterization of somatic mutations in cancer using network-based inference of protein activity. Nature genetics 2016, 48(8):838-847.

 

Other articles of Note on this Open Access Online Journal Include:

Issues in Personalized Medicine in Cancer: Intratumor Heterogeneity and Branched Evolution Revealed by Multiregion Sequencing

 

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Updated listing of COVID-19 vaccine and therapeutic trials from NIH Clinical Trials.gov

Curator: Stephen J. Williams, PhD

 

The following file contains an updated list (search on 4/15/2020) of COVID-19 related clinical trials from https://clinicaltrials.gov/

 

The Excel file can be uploaded here: Current Covid-19 Trials

 

Each sheet in the workbook is separated by current COVID-19 vaccine trials, currents COVID-19 trials with the IL6R (interleukin 6 receptor) antagonist tocilizumab, and all COVID related trials.  The Excel spreadsheet also contains links to more information about the trials.

 

As of April 15, 2020 the number of listed trials are as follows:

 

clinicaltrials.gov search terms Number of results Number of completed  trials Number of trials currently recruiting
COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2 410 5 completed

5 withdrawn  

192
1st row terms + vaccine 28 0 15
1st row terms + tocilizumab 16 0 10
1st row terms + hydroxychloroquine 61 1 22

 

A few highlights of the COVID related trials on clinicaltrials.gov

 

Withdrawn trials

 

Recombinant Human Angiotensin-converting Enzyme 2 (rhACE2) as a Treatment for Patients With COVID-19 (NCT04287686)

Study Description

Go to 

Brief Summary:

This is an open label, randomized, controlled, pilot clinical study in patients with COVID-19, to obtain preliminary biologic, physiologic, and clinical data in patients with COVID-19 treated with rhACE2 or control patients, to help determine whether a subsequent Phase 2B trial is warranted.

 

Condition or disease  Intervention/treatment  Phase 
COVID-19 Drug: Recombinant human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (rhACE2) Not Applicable

 

Detailed Description:

This is a small pilot study investigating whether there is any efficacy signal that warrants a larger Phase 2B trial, or any harm that suggests that such a trial should not be done. It is not expected to produce statistically significant results in the major endpoints. The investigators will examine all of the biologic, physiological, and clinical data to determine whether a Phase 2B trial is warranted.

Primary efficacy analysis will be carried only on patients receiving at least 4 doses of active drug. Safety analysis will be carried out on all patients receiving at least one dose of active drug.

It is planned to enroll more than or equal to 24 subjects with COVID-19. It is expected to have at least 12 evaluable patients in each group.

Experimental group: 0.4 mg/kg rhACE2 IV BID and standard of care Control group: standard of care

Intervention duration: up to 7 days of therapy

No planned interim analysis.

Study was withdrawn before participants were enrolled.

Washed Microbiota Transplantation for Patients With 2019-nCoV Infection (NCT04251767)

Study Description

Go to 

Brief Summary:

Gut dysbiosis co-exists in patients with coronavirus pneumonia. Some of these patients would develop secondary bacterial infections and antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD). The recent study on using washed microbiota transplantation (WMT) as rescue therapy in critically ill patients with AAD demonstrated the important clinical benefits and safety of WMT. This clinical trial aims to evaluate the outcome of WMT combining with standard therapy for patients with 2019-novel coronavirus pneumonia, especially for those patients with dysbiosis-related conditions.

 

Detailed Description:

An ongoing outbreak of 2019 novel coronavirus was reported in Wuhan, China. 2019-nCoV has caused a cluster of pneumonia cases, and posed continuing epidemic threat to China and even global health. Unfortunately, there is currently no specific effective treatment for the viral infection and the related serious complications. It is in urgent need to find a new specific effective treatment for the 2019-nCoV infection. According to Declaration of Helsinki and International Ethical Guidelines for Health-related Research Involving Humans, the desperately ill patients with 2019-nCov infection during disease outbreaks have a moral right to try unvalidated medical interventions (UMIs) and that it is therefore unethical to restrict access to UMIs to the clinical trial context.

There is a vital link between the intestinal tract and respiratory tract, which was exemplified by intestinal complications during respiratory disease and vice versa. Some of these patients can develop secondary bacterial infections and antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD). The recent study on using washed microbiota transplantation (WMT) as rescue therapy in critically ill patients with AAD demonstrated the important clinical benefits and safety of WMT. Additionally, the recent animal study provided direct evidence supporting that antibiotics could decrease gut microbiota and the lung stromal interferon signature and facilitate early influenza virus replication in lung epithelia. Importantly, the above antibiotics caused negative effects can be reversed by fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) which suggested that FMT might be able to induce a significant improvement in the respiratory virus infection. Another evidence is that the microbiota could confer protection against certain virus infection such as influenza virus and respiratory syncytial virus by priming the immune response to viral evasion. The above results suggested that FMT might be a new therapeutic option for the treatment of virus-related pneumonia. The methodology of FMT recently was coined as WMT, which is dependent on the automatic facilities and washing process in a laboratory room. Patients underwent WMT with the decreased rate of adverse events and unchanged clinical efficacy in ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. This clinical trial aims to evaluate the outcome of WMT combining with standard therapy for patients with novel coronavirus pneumonia, especially for those patients with dysbiosis-related conditions.

 

Responsible Party: Faming Zhang, Director of Medical Center for Digestive Diseases, The Second Hospital of Nanjing Medical University
Identifier NCT04251767     History of Changes

Study was withdrawn before participants were enrolled.

 

Therapy for Pneumonia Patients iInfected by 2019 Novel Coronavirus (NCT04293692)

Study Description

Go to 

Brief Summary:

The 2019 novel coronavirus pneumonia outbroken in Wuhan, China, which spread quickly to 26 countries worldwide and presented a serious threat to public health. It is mainly characterized by fever, dry cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Some patients may develop into rapid and deadly respiratory system injury with overwhelming inflammation in the lung. Currently, there is no effective treatment in clinical practice. The present clinical trial is to explore the safety and efficacy of Human Umbilical Cord Mesenchymal Stem Cells (UC-MSCs) therapy for novel coronavirus pneumonia patients.

Detailed Description:

Since late December 2019, human pneumonia cases infected by a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) were firstly identified in Wuhan, China. As the virus is contagious and of great epidemic, more and more cases have found in other areas of China and abroad. Up to February 24, a total of 77, 779 confirmed cases were reported in China. At present, there is no effective treatment for patients identified with novel coronavirus pneumonia. Therefore, it’s urgent to explore more active therapeutic methods to cure the patients.

Recently, some clinical researches about the 2019 novel coronavirus pneumonia published in The Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine suggested that massive inflammatory cell infiltration and inflammatory cytokines secretion were found in patients’ lungs, alveolar epithelial cells and capillary endothelial cells were damaged, causing acute lung injury. It seems that the key to cure the pneumonia is to inhibit the inflammatory response, resulting to reduce the damage of alveolar epithelial cells and endothelial cells and repair the function of the lung.

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are widely used in basic research and clinical application. They are proved to migrate to damaged tissues, exert anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory functions, promote the regeneration of damaged tissues and inhibit tissue fibrosis. Studies have shown that MSCs can significantly reduce acute lung injury in mice caused by H9N2 and H5N1 viruses by reducing the levels of proinflammatory cytokines and the recruitment of inflammatory cells into the lungs. Compared with MSCs from other sources, human umbilical cord-derived MSCs (UC-MSCs) have been widely applied to various diseases due to their convenient collection, no ethical controversy, low immunogenicity, and rapid proliferation rate. In our recent research, we confirmed that UC-MSCs can significantly reduce inflammatory cell infiltration and inflammatory factors expression in lung tissue, and significantly protect lung tissue from endotoxin (LPS) -induced acute lung injury in mice.

The purpose of this clinical study is to investigate safety and efficiency of UC-MSCs in treating pneumonia patients infected by 2019-nCoV. The investigators planned to recruit 48 patients aged from 18 to 75 years old and had no severe underlying diseases. In the cell treatment group, 24 patients received 0.5*10E6 UC-MSCs /kg body weight intravenously treatment 4 times every other day besides conventional treatment. In the control group, other 24 patients received conventional treatment plus 4 times of placebo intravenously. The lung CT, blood biochemical examination, lymphocyte subsets, inflammatory factors, 28-days mortality, etc will be evaluated within 24h and 1, 2, 4, 8 weeks after UC-MSCs treatment.

Sponsor:

Puren Hospital Affiliated to Wuhan University of Science and Technology

Collaborator:

Wuhan Hamilton Bio-technology Co., Ltd

Study was withdrawn before participants were enrolled.

 

Prognositc Factors in COVID-19 Patients Complicated With Hypertension (NCT04272710)

Study Description

Brief Summary:

There are currently no clinical studies reporting clinical characteristics difference between the hypertension patients with and without ACEI treatment when suffered with novel coronavirus infection in China

Detailed Description:

At present, the outbreak of the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infection in Wuhan and Hubei provinces has attracted great attention from the medical community across the country. Both 2019-nCoV and SARS viruses are coronaviruses, and they have a large homology.

Published laboratory studies have suggested that SARS virus infection and its lung injury are related to angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) in lung tissue. And ACE and ACE2 in the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) are vital central links to maintain hemodynamic stability and normal heart and kidney function in vivo.

A large amount of evidence-based medical evidence shows that ACE inhibitors are the basic therapeutic drugs for maintaining hypertension, reducing the risk of cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and renal adverse events, improving quality of life, and prolonging life in patients with hypertension. Recent experimental studies suggest that treatment with ACE inhibitors can significantly reduce pulmonary inflammation and cytokine release caused by coronavirus infection.

 

ACEI treatment

hypertension patients with ACEI treatment when suffered with novel coronavirus infection in China

Control

hypertension patients without ACEI treatment when suffered with novel coronavirus infection in China

 

Locations

China
The First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University Chongqing, China

Sponsors and Collaborators Chongqing Medical University

 

Responsible PI: Dongying Zhang, Associate Professor, Chongqing Medical University

Withdrawn (Similar projects have been registered, and it needs to be withdrawn.)

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scPopCorn: A New Computational Method for Subpopulation Detection and their Comparative Analysis Across Single-Cell Experiments

Reporter and Curator: Dr. Sudipta Saha, Ph.D.

4.2.5

4.2.5   scPopCorn: A New Computational Method for Subpopulation Detection and their Comparative Analysis Across Single-Cell Experiments, Volume 2 (Volume Two: Latest in Genomics Methodologies for Therapeutics: Gene Editing, NGS and BioInformatics, Simulations and the Genome Ontology), Part 4: Single Cell Genomics

Present day technological advances have facilitated unprecedented opportunities for studying biological systems at single-cell level resolution. For example, single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) enables the measurement of transcriptomic information of thousands of individual cells in one experiment. Analyses of such data provide information that was not accessible using bulk sequencing, which can only assess average properties of cell populations. Single-cell measurements, however, can capture the heterogeneity of a population of cells. In particular, single-cell studies allow for the identification of novel cell types, states, and dynamics.

One of the most prominent uses of the scRNA-seq technology is the identification of subpopulations of cells present in a sample and comparing such subpopulations across samples. Such information is crucial for understanding the heterogeneity of cells in a sample and for comparative analysis of samples from different conditions, tissues, and species. A frequently used approach is to cluster every dataset separately, inspect marker genes for each cluster, and compare these clusters in an attempt to determine which cell types were shared between samples. This approach, however, relies on the existence of predefined or clearly identifiable marker genes and their consistent measurement across subpopulations.

Although the aligned data can then be clustered to reveal subpopulations and their correspondence, solving the subpopulation-mapping problem by performing global alignment first and clustering second overlooks the original information about subpopulations existing in each experiment. In contrast, an approach addressing this problem directly might represent a more suitable solution. So, keeping this in mind the researchers developed a computational method, single-cell subpopulations comparison (scPopCorn), that allows for comparative analysis of two or more single-cell populations.

The performance of scPopCorn was tested in three distinct settings. First, its potential was demonstrated in identifying and aligning subpopulations from single-cell data from human and mouse pancreatic single-cell data. Next, scPopCorn was applied to the task of aligning biological replicates of mouse kidney single-cell data. scPopCorn achieved the best performance over the previously published tools. Finally, it was applied to compare populations of cells from cancer and healthy brain tissues, revealing the relation of neoplastic cells to neural cells and astrocytes. Consequently, as a result of this integrative approach, scPopCorn provides a powerful tool for comparative analysis of single-cell populations.

This scPopCorn is basically a computational method for the identification of subpopulations of cells present within individual single-cell experiments and mapping of these subpopulations across these experiments. Different from other approaches, scPopCorn performs the tasks of population identification and mapping simultaneously by optimizing a function that combines both objectives. When applied to complex biological data, scPopCorn outperforms previous methods. However, it should be kept in mind that scPopCorn assumes the input single-cell data to consist of separable subpopulations and it is not designed to perform a comparative analysis of single cell trajectories datasets that do not fulfill this constraint.

Several innovations developed in this work contributed to the performance of scPopCorn. First, unifying the above-mentioned tasks into a single problem statement allowed for integrating the signal from different experiments while identifying subpopulations within each experiment. Such an incorporation aids the reduction of biological and experimental noise. The researchers believe that the ideas introduced in scPopCorn not only enabled the design of a highly accurate identification of subpopulations and mapping approach, but can also provide a stepping stone for other tools to interrogate the relationships between single cell experiments.

References:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2405471219301887

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/23307706.2017.1397554

https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/4031383

https://genomebiology.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13059-016-0927-y

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2405471216302666

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Extracellular RNA and their carriers in disease diagnosis and therapy, Volume 2 (Volume Two: Latest in Genomics Methodologies for Therapeutics: Gene Editing, NGS and BioInformatics, Simulations and the Genome Ontology), Part 1: Next Generation Sequencing (NGS)

Reporter and Curator: Dr. Sudipta Saha, Ph.D.

 

RNA plays various roles in determining how the information in our genes drives cell behavior. One of its roles is to carry information encoded by our genes from the cell nucleus to the rest of the cell where it can be acted on by other cell components. Rresearchers have now defined how RNA also participates in transmitting information outside cells, known as extracellular RNA or exRNA. This new role of RNA in cell-to-cell communication has led to new discoveries of potential disease biomarkers and therapeutic targets. Cells using RNA to talk to each other is a significant shift in the general thought process about RNA biology.

 

Researchers explored basic exRNA biology, including how exRNA molecules and their transport packages (or carriers) were made, how they were expelled by producer cells and taken up by target cells, and what the exRNA molecules did when they got to their destination. They encountered surprising complexity both in the types of carriers that transport exRNA molecules between cells and in the different types of exRNA molecules associated with the carriers. The researchers had to be exceptionally creative in developing molecular and data-centric tools to begin making sense of the complexity, and found that the type of carrier affected how exRNA messages were sent and received.

 

As couriers of information between cells, exRNA molecules and their carriers give researchers an opportunity to intercept exRNA messages to see if they are associated with disease. If scientists could change or engineer designer exRNA messages, it may be a new way to treat disease. The researchers identified potential exRNA biomarkers for nearly 30 diseases including cardiovascular disease, diseases of the brain and central nervous system, pregnancy complications, glaucoma, diabetes, autoimmune diseases and multiple types of cancer.

 

As for example some researchers found that exRNA in urine showed promise as a biomarker of muscular dystrophy where current studies rely on markers obtained through painful muscle biopsies. Some other researchers laid the groundwork for exRNA as therapeutics with preliminary studies demonstrating how researchers might load exRNA molecules into suitable carriers and target carriers to intended recipient cells, and determining whether engineered carriers could have adverse side effects. Scientists engineered carriers with designer RNA messages to target lab-grown breast cancer cells displaying a certain protein on their surface. In an animal model of breast cancer with the cell surface protein, the researchers showed a reduction in tumor growth after engineered carriers deposited their RNA cargo.

 

Other than the above research work the scientists also created a catalog of exRNA molecules found in human biofluids like plasma, saliva and urine. They analyzed over 50,000 samples from over 2000 donors, generating exRNA profiles for 13 biofluids. This included over 1000 exRNA profiles from healthy volunteers. The researchers found that exRNA profiles varied greatly among healthy individuals depending on characteristics like age and environmental factors like exercise. This means that exRNA profiles can give important and detailed information about health and disease, but careful comparisons need to be made with exRNA data generated from people with similar characteristics.

 

Next the researchers will develop tools to efficiently and reproducibly isolate, identify and analyze different carrier types and their exRNA cargos and allow analysis of one carrier and its cargo at a time. These tools will be shared with the research community to fill gaps in knowledge generated till now and to continue to move this field forward.

 

References:

 

https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/scientists-explore-new-roles-rna

 

https://www.cell.com/consortium/exRNA

 

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160606120230.htm

 

https://www.pasteur.fr/en/multiple-roles-rnas

 

https://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/rna-functions-352

 

https://www.umassmed.edu/rti/biology/role-of-rna-in-biology/

 

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THE 3RD STAT4ONC ANNUAL SYMPOSIUM APRIL 25-27, 2019, HILTON, HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT, 315 Trumbull St, Hartford, CT 06103

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D.

3.3.8

3.3.8   The 3rd STATONC Annual Symposium, April 25-27, 2019, Hilton Hartford, CT, 315 Trumbull St., Hartford, CT 06103, Volume 2 (Volume Two: Latest in Genomics Methodologies for Therapeutics: Gene Editing, NGS and BioInformatics, Simulations and the Genome Ontology), Part 2: CRISPR for Gene Editing and DNA Repair

SYMPOSIUM OBJECTIVES

The three-day symposium aims to bring oncologists and statisticians together to share new research, discuss novel ideas, ask questions and provide solutions for cancer clinical trials. In the era of big data, precision medicine, and genomics and immune-based oncology, it is crucial to provide a platform for interdisciplinary dialogues among clinical and quantitative scientists. The Stat4Onc Annual Symposium serves as a venue for oncologists and statisticians to communicate their views on trial design and conduct, drug development, and translations to patient care. To be discussed includes big data and genomics for oncology clinical trials, novel dose-finding designs, drug combinations, immune oncology clinical trials, and umbrella/basket oncology trials. An important aspect of Stat4Onc is the participation of researchers across academia, industry, and regulatory agency.

Meeting Agenda will be announced coming soon. For Updated Agenda and Program Speakers please CLICK HERE

The registration of the symposium is via NESS Society PayPal. Click here to register.

Other  2019 Conference Announcement Posts on this Open Access Journal Include:

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Hypertriglyceridemia: Evaluation and Treatment Guideline

Reporter and Curator: Dr. Sudipta Saha, Ph.D.

 

Severe and very severe hypertriglyceridemia increase the risk for pancreatitis, whereas mild or moderate hypertriglyceridemia may be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Individuals found to have any elevation of fasting triglycerides should be evaluated for secondary causes of hyperlipidemia including endocrine conditions and medications. Patients with primary hypertriglyceridemia must be assessed for other cardiovascular risk factors, such as central obesity, hypertension, abnormalities of glucose metabolism, and liver dysfunction. The aim of this study was to develop clinical practice guidelines on hypertriglyceridemia.

The diagnosis of hypertriglyceridemia should be based on fasting levels, that mild and moderate hypertriglyceridemia (triglycerides of 150–999 mg/dl) be diagnosed to aid in the evaluation of cardiovascular risk, and that severe and very severe hypertriglyceridemia (triglycerides of >1000 mg/dl) be considered a risk for pancreatitis. The patients with hypertriglyceridemia must be evaluated for secondary causes of hyperlipidemia and that subjects with primary hypertriglyceridemia be evaluated for family history of dyslipidemia and cardiovascular disease.

The treatment goal in patients with moderate hypertriglyceridemia should be a non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level in agreement with National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel guidelines. The initial treatment should be lifestyle therapy; a combination of diet modification, physical activity and drug therapy may also be considered. In patients with severe or very severe hypertriglyceridemia, a fibrate can be used as a first-line agent for reduction of triglycerides in patients at risk for triglyceride-induced pancreatitis.

Three drug classes (fibrates, niacin, n-3 fatty acids) alone or in combination with statins may be considered as treatment options in patients with moderate to severe triglyceride levels. Statins are not be used as monotherapy for severe or very severe hypertriglyceridemia. However, statins may be useful for the treatment of moderate hypertriglyceridemia when indicated to modify cardiovascular risk.

 

References:

 

https://www.medpagetoday.com/clinical-connection/cardio-endo/77242?xid=NL_CardioEndoConnection_2019-01-21

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19307519

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23009776

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6827992

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22463676

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17635890

 

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