Focus Sessions provide in-depth coverage of specific topics of interest and are presented by interested academic and industry groups. Held on 21 June, these educational opportunities in science, society, and education are organized by members and open to all meeting attendees. Sessions are held live, with Q&A and chat, and will be available as on-demand programming for 30 days after the meeting.
Organized by Stem Cell COREdinates
Supported by Thermo Fisher Scientific and STEMCELL Technologies
Stem Cell COREdinates is a consortium of human pluripotent stem cell-focused cores that share expertise with protocols, reagents, and technological advancements to establish “best practices". This year our Focus session will be joined by the Germany-based PluriCore network that promotes the exchange of technologies, methods, and cooperation among iPSC Cores in Europe. The first part of the session will be presentations from COREdinates and PluriCore members and our sponsors that will cover advancements in different areas of expertise including reprogramming, gene editing, disease modeling, and laboratory robotic systems. The second part of the session will explore advancements in iPSC-derived organoid systems including SARS-CoV-2 research.
The European Bank for iPSCs (EBiSC) is a centralised repository, currently in a second project phase including both non-profit and commercial iPSC researchers (EBiSC2), working to make iPSC tools available and developing protocols which improve and simplify their use. This focus session will share how EBiSC2 partners are adapting and consolidating iPSC expansion, differentiation and cryopreservation approaches to help ease transition into high volume applications whilst also ensuring accessibility for non-expert users. We will discuss how the inclusion of iPSC tool lines in these protocol developments enables rapid generation of functionally mature derived cell types and how the associated iPSC datasets can be broadly shared in an ethically compliant manner. Lastly, common stumbling blocks will be discussed to raise awareness across the community.
Organized by Eppendorf AG
Technologies based on hiPSCs, MSCs and differentiated cells derived from them lay the basis for pioneering approaches in drug discovery and regenerative medicine. The routine use of stem cell-based applications requires high cell numbers in consistent quality. Standardized cell production requires a thorough understanding of how growth parameters impact cell growth and fate, and the ability to control these parameters. The supply of high cell numbers needs scalable culture systems. In this focus session Eppendorf will host experts from industry and academia to discuss methods for improving reproducibility and for scaling-up of stem cell cultivation. Our speakers will present examples for the benefits of process control using bioreactors. Experts will share their experience when translating cultivation from flasks and dishes to a three-dimensional bioreactor system. Furthermore, the session will offer insight into scale-up strategies using stirred-tank bioreactors.
Organized by Novo Nordisk Stem Cell R&D
In Stem Cell R&D our mission is to improve the lives of patients suffering from serious chronic diseases by developing innovative stem cell-based therapies. We want to be an industry leader in stem cell research and development – a rapidly developing area of far-reaching opportunity with the potential to address, or even cure, a number of serious chronic diseases. As a dedicated Transformational Research Unit, we combine the speed and agility of a small biotech with the quality of a major pharma company and we cover the full pharmaceutical value chain, often working in close collaboration with leading international scientists and with colleagues across Novo Nordisk. Novo Nordisk has been active in stem cell research for over 20 years in type 1 diabetes, and we are now expanding our project portfolio to include Parkinson’s disease, dry age-related macular degeneration and chronic heart failure plus a number of early exploratory projects. At the session, we and some of our partners will present key projects we are working on and give an introduction to what it is like to work at Novo Nordisk and with Novo Nordisk in a partnership.
Organized by Sigilon Therapeutics, Inc.
Development of cell therapies, including stem cell-derived therapies, is a rapidly emerging field for treatment of a variety of diseases. Key considerations for cell-based products are shielding them from the immune system, mitigating the foreign body response, and maintaining viability and function. To address these considerations and leverage the potential of cell therapies, the session will focus on innovative approaches to enhance product delivery including encapsulation, genetic engineering, and modifications to improve the cellular niche.
Organized by the ISSCR Ethics Committee
Through in vitro gametogenesis (IVG) it is possible to create precursor cells to sperm and eggs in the lab using human stem cells. While it is yet to be established whether these cells can form fully functional human gametes, animal studies point to a future where this may be possible. As researchers refine IVG and its applications, it is important to consider what ethical boundaries ought to exist and whether researchers and regulators should define any limits. Join us to hear an expert panel discuss latest scientific progress and important ethical and policy considerations. Topics will include challenges around evaluation of gamete functionality, ethical sources of cells and informed consent considerations, implications for nonhuman primate research, reproductive technologies, and future parentage arrangements. We will also discuss recent changes to the ISSCR Guidelines relevant to IVG. This is a timely opportunity to find out more about this fascinating area of stem cell research.
Organized by the ISSCR Industry Committee
As new discoveries are quickly being translated into potentially transformative cell therapies, developing new treatments ultimately involves manufacturing stem cell-derived products. Manufacturing cell therapies, however, involves critical processes that are often unfamiliar to academic scientists driving research forward. This Focus Session will explore the important and necessary considerations for developing cell therapies, including key insights from seasoned cell therapy pioneers and regulators regarding what to know before you go, and how to get there.