European Society of Gene and Cell Therapy & ISSCR to Present Latest in Stem Cell Research, Gene Editing and Gene Therapy 18-21 Oct., Florence IT - 30 Sept., 2016

  • 30 September, 2016

Scientists from around the world will gather 18-21 October in Florence, Italy to share and discuss developments in the field of stem cell research and gene editing and therapies. The European Society of Gene & Cell Therapy (ESGCT) and the ISSCR, in collaboration with the Associazione di Biologia Cellulare e del Differenziamento (ABCD), are partnering to host “Changing the Face of Modern Medicine: Stem Cells & Gene Therapy” at the Firenze Fiera Congress Center in Florence.

The meeting will feature leading scientists in the stem cell field discussing recent developments in research and new understandings of disease and therapeutic applications. Academic, industry and clinical researchers will also be sharing their research and exhibiting the latest tools and technologies used in biomedical research. More than 1,100 gene therapy and stem cell professionals will be on hand for the 450 poster presentations, 60 abstract-selected lectures, and more than 40 exhibitors.

Highlights of the scientific program are available at: and

Keynote Speakers:

Hans Clevers, MD, PhD, Professor of Molecular Genetics, Hubrecht Institute/University Medical Centre Utrecht, and President of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Netherlands.

George Q. Daley, MD, PhD, Director of the Stem Cell Transplantation Program at Children’s Hospital Boston and Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Medicine, and Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.

Plenary Presentations:

Neural Disease: Modelling, Reprogramming, and Transplantation in Brain & Retina

A look at how stem cells are being used to learn about and treat neurodegenerative disorders in the brain as well as retinal diseases. Among other scientists, Masayo Takahashi, MD, PhD, will talk about her lab’s work on iPS treatment for macular degeneration, currently in clinical trials.

Hematopoietic Stem Cells: From Biology to Clinical Applications

Discussion of the mechanisms underlying this unique cell type and how HSCs may be useful in clinical applications to treat disease. Luigi Naldini, MD, PhD, will join the panel to talk about genetic engineering to treat human diseases.

Skeletal and Cardiac Muscle Stem Cells

Panelists will discuss the key role of skeletal and cardiac muscle stem cells in implementing regenerative cell therapies for a variety of diseases and disorders. Michael Laflamme, MD, PhD, will be on-hand to discuss his lab’s development of therapies using human embryonic stem cells (hESCs).

Cancer Immuno-Gene Therapy

A look at the latest research on how we might instruct the immune system to recognize and attack cancer tumor cells. Carl June, MD, will join the panel to discuss his lab’s work with CAR-T therapies for blood cancers, currently in clinical trials.

New Technologies

Panelists will focus on tools for targeted genome and epigenome editing, new vector design, and development of organoids. Feng Zhang, PhD, will focus his remarks on new editing tools from the CRISPR-Cas system.

Gene Therapy in the Market

Discussion will focus on gene therapies for patients, including the first brought to market in the EU, Strimvelis, developed by GSK. Panelists will share clinical data and experiences, including patient management through the gene therapy process.

In Vivo Gene Therapy

This panel will look at the science of gene editing ‘in vivo’ – inside the body. Among other scientists, Mark Kay, MD, PhD, will be on-hand to discuss his work on novel vectors for gene therapy and genome editing.

Panel Discussion:

Germline Editing Debate

This panel discussion will focus on the use of gene editing to modify human embryos, in light of recent efforts to edit human germline cells.

An additional 21 parallel sessions focusing on specific topics will feature both invited speakers and those selected from submitted abstracts. The meeting will also feature an ‘Education Day’ to provide an overview of stem cell science and the state of the field, and a ‘Clinical Trial and Commercialisation Workshop’ with information about bringing therapies to the clinic. Both events will be held on 18 October at the Firenze Fiera Congress Center, along with a ‘Public Engagement’ event that invites patient organizations to learn more about gene therapy advances and future treatment possibilities.

Editor’s Note: Credentialed media may register for the meeting by contacting Gäelle Jamar of the ESGCT at or + 44-7766-475379. Reporters may also contact Anne Nicholas, ISSCR Senior Communications Manager, at or +1-847-929-4818.

About the European Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (

The European Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (ESGCT) is a non-profit organisation committed to supporting the advance of basic and translational research and clinical applications of gene and cell therapy. ESGCT has a growing membership including students, scientists, clinicians, ethicists and regulators from both academia and industry. For further information on ESGCT please visit

About the International Society for Stem Cell Research (
The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) is an independent, nonprofit membership organization established to promote and foster the exchange and dissemination of information and ideas relating to stem cells, to encourage the general field of research involving stem cells, and to promote professional and public education in all areas of stem cell research and application.

For more information about stem cell science, visit A Closer Look at Stem Cells, an initiative of the ISSCR to help the public learn about stem cell research and its potential to impact human health.