Featured in this Issue
Cell & Gene Therapies in the fight against COVID-19
ISCT's response and available resources
ISCT Remembers Simon Ellison
Memories shared by members
In Memory of Luc Sensebé
Champion of MSCs
ISCT 2020 Paris Virtual
Connecting and Collaborating Remotely
Talking with Giants Trilogy
Carl June, Bruce Levine & Emily Whitehead
ISCT 2019 Annual Report
Cultivating Our Roots
ISCT Leadership Spotlight

Joan Garcia, MD, PhD (Spain)
Member News
News & Press Releases
ISCT Community Calendar
ISCT Career Center

ISCT Webinars Program
ISCT Volunteer Center
Regular Updates
Cytotherapy® Corner
(March & April Issue hot topics)
ISCT Early Stage Professionals Series
(CTTC 2019 Participant Experiences)
ISCT Lab Practices Committee Snapshot
(Accelerated Commissioning of Cleanrooms)
FACT Report
(COVID-19 Updates, Quality Manager Engagement & Resiliency Survey)
PACT Update
(Process Development of Large-Scale MSC Derived Exosome Manufacturing
Global Regulatory Surveillance
Australia and New Zealand Watchdog
(TGA efforts to support COVID-19 responses, advertising breaches, OGTR)
Europe Watchdog®
North America Watchdog®
(Health Canada & FDA COVID-19 responses, FDA alerts for transplant of fecal microbiota)
From the President's Desk
by John Rasko, AO, BSc(Med), MBBS(Hons), PhD, MAICD, FFSc(RCPA), FRCPA, FRACP, FAHMS

Outgoing ISCT President John Rasko writes movingly in his last editorial as President of the Society about the effect the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the Society. ISCT has responded to the challenge by making the 2020 Annual Meeting a virtual experience. Rasko reviews the accomplishments of his term and thanks the leadership and members of ISCT and Head Office staff.
From the Editors: Conversations in a Pandemic
by Conrad Russell Y. Cruz, MD, PhD

In this month’s editorial Conrad Russell Cruz, Telegraft Associate Editor informs the membership on actions the Telegraft is taking to report on COVID-19 developments related to cell and gene therapy (CGT) as well as creating a space for the CGT to connect during these unprecedented times. Dr. Cruz encourages you to share your experiences with ISCT and our global CGT community. 

As an international society, ISCT is in a unique position to communicate the response to the COVID19 pandemic by scientific, medical, and commercial professionals in the cell and gene therapy community. The incredible advancements in basic and applied research, clinical treatment, scientific innovation, and biotechnology since our Society’s founding in 1992, gives us hope that the cell and gene therapy community will contribute substantially to the resolution of the present crisis. To help hasten that day, ISCT is expanding the Telegraft platform:
  1. COVID19 section in regularly scheduled Telegraft: this special feature section will highlight official activities of the Society in response to the pandemic and reference activities of other players in the cell and gene therapy community. Starting in this April issue you will see summaries of ISCT committee actions, abstracts, and links to white papers and peer-reviewed papers published in Cytotherapy and other scientific journals.
  2. Reports from the Front Lines #ISCTTogether: This platform will look more like a blog and will focus on how our community is addressing the pandemic on a practical level and more informal level. We want to provide a place where information from the various other social media platforms (ie. tweets on Twitter with #ISCTTogether and this example that Vicki Antonenas shared with us) on concerns and activities in cell and gene therapy can be gathered into one place. This can be an important conduit of information from those in later stages of the pandemic to those just starting to feel its effects. It also can be a channel for us to reach out to colleagues around the world to support them professionally and personally through sharing experiences, stories, reflections, obstacles, solutions, moments of inspiration, etc.! Stay tuned as the site will be launching shortly and we highly encourage your participation and welcome submissions of all forms!
Please consider using either platform to share with your colleagues internationally during this unprecedented time. Send your contribution to

We will continue these activities in the Telegraft and Reports from the Front Lines #ISCTTogether until such time as we feel they are no longer needed. We hope that is soon.


Cell-based treatments for COVID-19
By Laertis Ikonomou, PhD

The COVID-19 pandemic has produced a rush of candidate treatments, currently evaluated worldwide for safety and efficacy. We discuss issues related to the development of cell-based interventions for COVID-19. 

Current Status of Cell-Based Therapies for Respiratory Virus Infections: Applicability to COVID-19
Maroun Khoury, Jimena Cuenca, Fernanda F. Cruz, Fernando E. Figueroa, Patricia R. M. Rocco, Daniel J. Weiss

Published in the European Respiratory Journal
Cell-Based Therapies for COVID-19: Proper Clinical Investigations are Essential
Maroun Khoury, Patricia R.M. Rocco, Mauro Krampera, Ivan Martin, Sowmya Viswanathan, Donald G Phinney, Jan A. Nolta, Katarina LeBlanc, Jacques Galipeau and Daniel J. Weiss


Published in Cytotherapy 
ISCT takes a stand against organizations marketing unproven COVID-19 cell and gene therapies
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Following up on a statement made on March 20th, ISCT has issued a press release taking a stand against organizations marketing unproven COVID-19 cell and gene therapies.

LIVE at ISCT 2020 Paris Virtual - ISCT CSO Global Showcase on COVID-19 

Part I: "The Force Awakens"
  • Review of Current Understanding of COVID-19 Pathogenisis 
  • Reports from the Front Lines
  • Supply Chain Issues
LIVE at ISCT 2020 Paris Virtual - ISCT CSO Global Showcase on COVID-19 

Part II: "A New Hope"
  • MSC-based Approaches
  • Immuno-Gene Therapy Approaches

ISCT Remembers Simon Ellison

ISCT, and the cell and gene therapy industry lost a valued member of our community on April 7 when Simon Ellison passed away after a short battle with cancer. Simon was co-chair of the ISCT 2020 Strategies for Commercialization Track, and we will be dedicating the SFC Track at ISCT 2020 Paris Virtual to him.

Here are some memories shared by members of the Commercialization Committee, of which Simon was an active member since 2013.

Simon and his wife Isobel were frequent attendees at the ISCT Annual Meeting Gala Dinners. 

Pictured here at the ISCT 2017 London Gala with L-R David James, Dawn Driscoll, Gerhard Bauer, Isobel Ellison, Miguel Forte, Bill Milligan, Brian Poole, Simon Ellison, Carmen Brenner, Benoit Champluvier.
Left Photo: Luc Sensebé at ISCT 2014 Paris
Right Photo: ISCT 2014 Paris, L-R Natividad Cuende,
Martin Hildebrandt, Claudia Zylberberg, John Rasko,
EmilyCulme-Seymour, Warren Sherman, Stephan Mielke,
Christian Chabannon, Luc Sensebé, Lynn O’Donnell,
Varda Deutsch, Jacques Galipeau, Hong-Nerng Ho

In Memory of Luc Sensebé

ISCT, and the cell and gene therapy field lost a valued member of our community on April 12 with the passing of Luc Sensebé. Luc served as chair of the ISCT MSC Committee from 2011-2015. He was co-chair of the ISCT 2014 Annual Meeting in Paris, and we will be dedicating the ISCT CSO Global Showcase on COVID-19 Part II: "A New Hope" at ISCT 2020 Paris Virtual to him.

Jacques Galipeau and the MSC Committee have prepared this piece in memory of Luc Sensebé, champion of MSCs.


Connecting and Collaborating Remotely: ISCT 2020 Paris Virtual
By Ken Ip, BA(Hons), MA

ISCT Training and Education Coordinator, Ken Ip, provides an insider perspective from Head Office. Learn more about the motives behind the upcoming ISCT 2020 Paris Virtual Annual Meeting, and the exciting opportunities that await delegates. 
At one month out from ISCT 2020 Paris Virtual, the time is ripe to consider how to engage with the virtual meeting platform that has been developed for delegates.

As you read this, speakers are already rehearsing and pre-recording for the Annual meeting!

Abstract presenters, during this time, can consider thinking about how to build their findings into published manuscripts, and find fruitful connections that can aid this process.

Delegates ready to learn and discuss scientific contents, meanwhile, would do well to take a look at the newly released session and speaker descriptions now available on the Meeting website.

Registered delegates looking to schedule 1:1 and small group B2B meetings should prepare introductions and networking information to be exchanged through the newly online Partnering and Networking Forum.

Finally, those who haven't yet should strongly consider registration and attendance!

Dr. Carl June

Dr. Bruce Levine
The Whitehead Family
ISCT Talking with Giants Trilogy
Part I: Carl June, MD, Part II: Bruce Levine, PhD, Part III: The Emily Whitehead Story

Earlier this month, Cytotherapy published the Talking with Giants Trilogy, the latest installment of a series that brings informal perspectives from giants in the cell and gene therapy field to readers. Read the inspirational story of the first successful clinical trial in CAR T Cell Therapy, spearheaded by Dr. Carl June and Dr. Bruce Levine, and learn about young Emily Whitehead’s recovery from blood-based leukemia as a result.  
TEDMED Carl June
A "living drug" that could change the way we treat cancer

Dr. Carl June describes the “forks in the road” along the way to the first FDA-approved CAR T cell therapy.  In this poignant address, Dr. June shares the uncertainties and joys experienced by he and his team at the University of Pennsylvania. Don’t miss ISCT's interview with Dr. June in the Talking with Giants series featured in this issue of the Telegraft!

Click here to view the TEDMED2018 with Carl June.

ISCT Annual Reports showcase the depth and breadth of the Society, and the extraordinary work of our leaders and members. Each Report is a testament to the work that has gone into making ISCT the premier global translational CGT Society.
ISCT Leadership Spotlight: Joan Garcia, MD, PhD (Spain)
ISCT Europe Regional Vice-President, Joan Garcia reflects on the roots of his career. In this insightful piece, follow Dr. Garcia’s journey from early technological advancements in the 1990s to exciting transplantation advancements and research leadership. Get a personal perspective of early engagements with ISCT (then-ISHAGE), and find out how he grew to lead peers in the CGT field.  

Miguel Forte, Joan Garcia,
Catherine Bollard at the 2019
ISCT Strategic Planning Retreat

Feature Member: Doug Padley

Meet Doug Padley, a colleague at ISCT of over 20 years. In this piece, Doug shares the story of how he took a chance, and hung on for an exciting ride through the field of cellular therapy development. From laboratory to leadership in product development, Doug’s journey is one that demonstrates the value of our ideals – connecting, communicating, translating.  

2020 ISCT Elections
Congratulations to our Newly Elected/Re-Elected Leaders

ISCT has concluded its 2020 elections and would like to thank all of our candidates as well as our members for their participation. 

View the the 2020 election results on the ISCT website
Report of the 15th European Crohn’s and Colitis Organisation Annual Congress: what’s boiling on stem cells and advanced therapies in inflammatory bowel diseases.
by Rachele Ciccocioppo, MD & Giuseppe Orlando, MD, PhD

One of the ISCT Gastrointestinal (GI) Committee's main objectives is to increase awareness of advanced cell & gene therapies in the field of the digestive system and promote the safe and effective use of these medicinal therapies for the safety of patient's worldwide. To help achieve this goal, the Committee conducts regular literature reviews and selects novel research to be featured alongside a critical analysis developed by committee members. To view the current feature article(s) and accompanying review click read more.
Meet the New Members of the Telegraft Editorial Board
Rounak Dubey, MBBS, MD, Junior Associate Editor
Rounak joined the Telegraft Editorial Board in January 2020 as Junior Associate Editor. He is a graduate (MBBS) from Armed Forces Medical College, Pune (India) and has done MD in Immunohematology and Transfusion Medicine. He was a guest blogger at the ISCT 2019 Annual Meet and is also a member of the ISCT- ESP Committee (Community Engagement). At present, he is working as a Senior Resident Doctor at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Raipur. His recent achievements include receiving a Gold Medal for the Diplomate of the National Board Exam (2019) and Young Researcher Fellowship by ISBT (Basel, 2019).
Shyam Bhakta, MD, MBA, Contributing Editor
Shyam is a Member of the Cardiovascular Interdisciplinary Program and Working Group in the National Center for Regenerative Medicine at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Bhakta received his bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, his medical degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, Michigan, and his Master's in Business Administration from the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, also at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
Ashley Krull, BSc, PhD, Contributing Editor
Ashley received her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from the University of Iowa and her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Washington. After graduate school, Dr. Krull moved with her husband and puppy to Rochester, Minnesota, where she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in regenerative neurobiology within the Department of Neurology at Mayo Clinic. In 2019, Dr. Krull became Mayo Clinic’s second-ever Cellular Therapy Fellow and was granted an extended two-year fellowship. Her training program focuses on didactic, experiential, and project-driven training with an emphasis on laboratory directorship.
Anne Lamontagne, MSc, Contributing Editor
Anne is the Associate Director of Manufacturing Operations at the Clinical Cell and Vaccine Production Facility (CVPF). CVPF is a service center at the University of Pennsylvania that focuses on the manufacture of clinical CAR-T and DC infusion products. Anne is a current member of the ISCT Board of Directors and the Lab Practices Committee. Her primary areas of interest include technology transfer, process improvement and staff training.
Joaquim Vives Armengol, PhD, Contributing Editor
Joaquim is a Biochemist, MRes in Biotechnology and PhD in Biochemistry (by UAB, Spain) with extensive experience in the R&D biotech sector, both in private and academic environments. He has focused his career on the optimisation of cellular processes towards A) high yield production of diagnostic and therapeutic molecules, and B) the development of methods to produce cells for drug screening and therapy, in compliance with current regulatory and quality standards. Dr. Vives conducted post-doctoral research at the Institute for Stem Cell Research (University of Edinburgh, UK) before joining the biotech Stem Cell Sciences Ltd (Cambridge, UK). In 2008, he joined Banc de Sang i Teixits (Barcelona, Spain) to lead a laboratory for the development and production of advanced cell therapies for clinical use.
Telegraft Editorial Board

Nancy H. Collins, PhD
Russell Cruz, MD
Satyam Arora, MD
Rounak Dubey, MBBS, MD

Shyam Bhakta, MD, MBA
Ashley Krull, BSc, PhD
Anne Lamontagne, MSc
Janet Macpherson, PhD 
Lynn O'Donnell, PhD 
Michele Sugrue, MT 
Wouter Van't Hof, PhD
Joaquim Vives Armengol, PhD
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