Thierry VandenDriessche - Professor in Medicine, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Short description of the presentation:
The field of gene therapy is gaining momentum, consistent with the demonstration of long-term therapeutic effects in patients suffering from potentially life-threatening genetic diseases and cancer. This is due, at least in part, to the increased robustness of the gene therapy technology compared to the first-generation vectors used in the 1990s. Five different gene therapy products to treat different diseases, including cancer, have now obtained regulatory approval by EMA or FDA. The more recent emergence of gene editing, including CRISPR/Cas9-based technologies, are taking advantage of the lessons learnt in the field of gene therapy to consolidate a path towards clinical translation and ultimate commercialisation. In this presentation, I will highlight some of the achievements in the field, its implications for the health care and biotech sector and the main outstanding challenges.
Biography of the speaker:
Professor VandenDriessche is tenured Professor at the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy and Director of the Department of Gene Therapy and Regenerative Medicine of the Free University of Brussels (VUB). He is also Professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Leuven (KU Leuven) and has been awarded the 2017 Francqui Chair (Ghent University). He has dedicated his scientific career over the past 30 years to the field of gene therapy. He previously served as President of the European Society of Gene & CellTherapy and is currently member of the Board of Directors of the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy. Prior to his current affiliations, he has been at the Weizmann Institute for Science (Israel), National Heart Lung & Blood Institutes (NIH, USA), National Center for Human Genome Research (NIH, USA) and Flanders Institute of Biotechnology (VIB). He is the recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award of the European Society of Gene & Cell Therapy and the Molecule of the Year Award. He published over 120 peer-reviewed publications, several in high-impact factor journals.