The Place to Be: CCRM Australia’s experience at ISSCR 2018

When the Annual Meeting of the International Society of Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) was conveniently held in Melbourne this year, CCRM Australia was presented with an excellent opportunity to interact with those at the forefront of stem cell research.

Featuring spectacular showcases from international companies spanning four days, ISSCR 2018 offered endless sessions covering topics ranging from stem cell ethics to commercialisation. Plenaries with presentations from inspirational leaders in the field were also held, offering unique insight into the regenerative medicine industry and offering opportunities to network.

CCRM Australia began the week with its own Industry Networking event in collaboration with the Victorian State government. Taking advantage of those visiting ISSCR, the event was held to engage with delegates prior to the commencement of the conference.

Key announcements were made during the event with CCRM Canada beginning their collaboration with CCRM Australia consortium member Cell Therapies and the BioNano Initiative. During the conference CCRM Australia was also provided with an opportunity to be part of the Victorian State Government booth in the exhibition hall with its COO, Chih Wei Teng, furthering engagement with conference delegates.

Key Highlights of ISSCR 2018 include:

  1. Graziella Pellegrini announced as the recipient of the ISSCR Innovation Award at the welcoming plenary. The award was bestowed in recognition of her pioneering research in epithelial stem cell research and overcoming translational barriers.
  2. Silviu Itescu from Mesoblast participating in the first “Road to Clinic” session. The session provided insight into the commercialisation of mesenchymal cells and the long road they had ahead of them (in the regulatory pathway), emphasising the importance for reproducibility in manufacturing.
  3. Attending CCRM Industry Consortium member, Aspect Biosystems’ seminar on 3D Bioprinting which was held at the Monash Parkville Precinct.
  4. Peter Coffey from the ‘London Project to Cure Blindness’ participating in the second “Road to Clinic” session. Coffey’s presentation focused on their clinical results of vision improvement with their participants and the better than expected degree of repair that occurred.
  5. Claudio Monetti from PanCELLa presenting on their FailSafe System in the programming to proliferate functioning cells. CCRM Australia supporter,  ARMI also contributed relevant research with their ‘Nagy Group’.
  6. Michael Laflamme presenting on his research for heart regeneration, of which he has support from CCRM Canada. With the support, LaFamme’s results show promise for a pivotal efficacy study.
  7. Katherine High presenting on the commercialisation story of SPARK Therapeutics regarding their AAV vector gene therapy.
  8. Australian MP Frank McGuire giving recognition at the closing Plenary to ARMI, Stem Cells Australia and Cell Therapies for their research and contributions as Australian organisations to the industry.
  9. Keynote speaker, Jennifer Doudna, a pioneer of the CRISPR-CAS system, presenting on her research journey.
  10. Poster sessions open for viewing in the exhibition hall displayed the diverse expertise in upcoming career researchers and the future growth of the industry.

The opportunity for CCRM Australia to participate in ISSCR’s Annual Meeting enabled the team to hear first-hand stories from researchers and companies within regenerative medicine.

“It has been great to hear of what has been accomplished in regenerative medicine in recent years, and I anticipate for more successes in the coming years for research, translation into clinic and commercial outcomes” Erick Villaceran, CCRM Australia’s Project Officer.