Welcome

Dear Colleagues,

It is my pleasure to invite you to the 2021 virtual meeting of the Israeli Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (ISGCT 2021), set to take place online, on February 11th, 2021.

Gene and Cell therapy are finally taking center stage in global health. No longer a futuristic dream of the hopeful few but rather a true revolutionary reality, with several drugs already on the market and hundreds of advanced clinical trials. We can proudly reflect on the important role of Israeli researchers in the rising of the field, with seminal contributions to stem cell research, T cell engineering, genome editing, liver gene therapy and so much more.

Remaining challenges are nevertheless formidable. How can we improve delivery and prolong the effect? How can we increase therapeutic potency while providing safety? How can we devise new remedies for the yet incurable devastating human ailments, and do so in a scalable and affordable manner?

Meeting these challenges will require the innovation and dedication of individual researchers, but it will also depend on nourishing strong scientific communities. The Israeli Society of Gene and Cell therapy has thus set as its goals to support the sharing of data and ideas, promote collaborations, address common challenges and advance clinical translation.

In the upcoming 2021 ISGCT meeting, we are privileged to have Professor Dirk Busch give a Keynote lecture. We are also most excited by the impressive list of speakers from the Israeli academia, clinic and industry, destined to make this event a great kick-off for our rejuvenating society. Please do join us at the 2021 ISGCT meeting. 

See you online! 

Adi Barzel, PhD, Tel Aviv University,
President of Israeli Society of Gene and Cell Therapy

Organizing Committee

                      
          Adi Barzel                 Dinorah Friedmann-Morvinski                Ayal Hendel

Keep Me Updated

* Required

Keynote Speaker

  • Prof. Dirk Busch
    Technical University of Munich
    Germany

    Prof. Dirk Busch

Prof. Dirk Busch

Vice Chair Executive BoardTechnical University of MunichGermany

Bio:

Dirk Busch, MD, is a Professor at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) where he is the director of the Institute for Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Hygiene. Dirk has published extensively on T cell engineering for immunotherapy. 

He co-founded two super successful companies: "Stage Cell Therapeutics" (sold to Juno, which was later sold to Celgene, which was later sold to BMS) and "T cell factory" (sold to Kite, which was later sold to Gilead).

Title:

Abstract:

INVITED SPEAKERS

  • Dr. Yaron Carmi
    Tel-Aviv University
    Israel

    Dr. Yaron Carmi
  • Dr. Noam Diamant
    Noga Therapeutics
    Israel

    Dr. Noam Diamant
  • Prof. Tal Dvir
    Tel Aviv University
    Israel

    Prof. Tal Dvir
  • Dr. Dinorah Friedmann-Morvinski
    Tel Aviv University
    Israel

    Dr. Dinorah Friedmann-Morvinski
  • Dr. Anat Globerson-Levin
    Sourasky/Ichilov
    Israel

    Dr. Anat Globerson-Levin
  • Prof. Erez Levanon
    Bar Ilan University
    Israel

    Prof. Erez Levanon
  • Prof. Michal Lotem
    Hadassah University Hospital
    Israel

    Prof. Michal Lotem
  • Prof. Benjamin Rubinoff
    HUJI-Hadassah
    Israel

    Prof. Benjamin Rubinoff
  • Prof. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro
    Tel Aviv University
    Israel

    Prof. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro

Dr. Yaron Carmi

Tel-Aviv University
Israel

Bio:

Over the last 17 years, Dr Carmi has focused on studying how tumor-infiltrating macrophages and dendritic cells interact with T cells and with the surrounding stroma to promote tumor progression and escape immunity. He published over 35 peer-review papers and five patents and is a co-founder in Bolt Therapeutics, which raised over a 100 million US dollars and is now in a Phase I clinical trial. Since 2016 is has is own group in Tel Aviv university. His team published a number of papers including in the Journal of Clinical Investigation a paper describing a novel subset of T cells expressing FcgRI. Based on this discovery we formed a start-up company, which raised over one million US dollars and develops a universal CAR T cell for solid tumors.

Title:

A novel CAR-like therapy for solid cancer

Abstract:

We have recently discovered a novel subset of CD4+ T cell that express the high affinity receptor for IgG (FcgRI) in both mouse and human and efficiently kill tumor cells coated with antibodies. While the factors that induce these cells are currently unknown, we recapitulate their killing capacity by transducing conventional CD8+ T cells with altered FcgRI along with its signaling chain. The unique design of this genetic construct enables integration of complex signals, which are impossible to transmit using conventional CAR designs, thus inducing more potent cytotoxic activity. Moreover, since targeting tumor cells is mediated by antibodies, this technology can be applied to treat a wide range of cancers as well as refractory cancers that lost their expressed antigen, by changing the tumor-binding antibody.

Dr. Noam Diamant

Co-Founder and CEO Noga TherapeuticsIsrael

Bio:

Dr. Noam Diamant is the co-founder and CEO of Noga Therapeutics, a gene therapy company focusing on lentiviral vectors. Noam is a biopharma professional with a strong scientific background and extensive knowledge and experience in intellectual property and in cell and gene therapy. Prior to Noga Therapeutics, he co-founded Emendo biotherapeutics, a company that develops next generation gene editing tools for genetic disorders and Ingenium IP a business IP consultancy firm that provides IP strategy and management services to biopharma companies. Dr. Diamant holds a PhD in the field of DNA damage repair from the Weizmann Institute.

Title:

Development of a Codon Optimized BTK Lentiviral Vector for Gene Therapy of X-linked Agammaglobulinemia

Abstract:

Noga Therapeutics was founded in 2020 in memory of Noga Baumatz, with a mission to bring forth new therapies for the benefit of rare disease patients and their families. We are using third generation self-inactivating (SIN) lentiviral vectors which are increasingly used in treatment of monogenic hematological disorders.  X-linked agammaglobulinemia (XLA) is a rare X-linked genetic disorder resulting from mutations in the Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK) gene. These mutations contribute to the failure of afflicted individuals to generate mature B cells and the inability of these B cells to respond to B cell antigen receptor engagement, as well as other cellular signals. Current therapy has not changed for over 5 decades and consists of immunoglobulin replacement and targeted antimicrobial agents.  This therapy is insufficient and treated XLA patients continue to suffer from low life quality and recurrent complications due to persistent microbial infections. Over the recent year we developed NTX109,  a codon optimized lentiviral vector with a BTK transgene expressed under the regulation of the endogenous BTK promoter for use in autologous hematopoietic stem cell XLA gene therapy. In in-vitro studies with human CD34+ cells derived of healthy donors, this construct increased transcript and protein levels by approximately 2-fold in comparison to the non-codon optimized transgene. Transduction of NTX109 into lin- cells derived from an XLA mouse model (Xid mouse), resulted in high (up to 90%) transduction rates and was able to partially restore in-vitro B cell maturation. Furthermore, in a preliminary in-vivo study, Xid mice engrafted with NTX109 transduced cells, successfully restored B cell differentiation and function while maintaining a physiological BTK expression pattern. Therefore, the endogenous BTK promoter  is a good candidate for further development of a clinically safe and efficient BTK lentivector for XLA gene therapy. 

Prof. Tal Dvir

Tel Aviv UniversityIsrael

Bio:

Tal Dvir is a Professor at Tel Aviv University, Israel. He obtained his B.Sc. (2003) and Ph.D (2008) degrees from the faculty of Engineering at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. His Ph.D research focused on cardiac tissue engineering and regeneration.  Tal continued his postdoctoral studies in the laboratory of Prof. Robert Langer in the Department of Chemical Engineering at MIT. His postdoc research focused on advanced materials for tissue engineering and regeneration. On October 2011 Tal was recruited by the Department of Biotechnology and the Center for Nanotechnology at Tel Aviv University to establish the Laboratory for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine. In 2013, Tal joined the newly established Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Tel Aviv.

Tal’s lab designs and develops smart biomaterials and nanotechnologies for engineering complex tissues and organs. This includes the heart, brain, spinal cord, intestine, eyes and more.  Tal has published numerous high impact papers and received numerous awards and prizes. He is also an inventor of numerous patents.

Tal is currently the director of the Tel Aviv University Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology and the founding director of the Sagol Center for Regenerative Biotechnology.

Title:

Advanced technologies for engineering heart tissues

Abstract:

In this talk I will describe cutting-edge technologies for engineering functional cardiac tissues and whole hearts. I will focus on the design of new biomaterials mimicking the natural microenvironment, or releasing biofactors to promote stem cell recruitment and tissue protection. In addition, I will discuss the development of patient-specific materials and 3D-printing of personalized vascularized tissues and organs. Finally, I will show a new direction in tissue engineering, where micro and nanoelectronics are integrated within engineered tissues to form cyborg tissues.

Dr. Dinorah Friedmann-Morvinski

Tel Aviv UniversityIsrael

Bio:

Title:

Abstract:

Dr. Anat Globerson-Levin

Sourasky/IchilovIsrael

Bio:

Dr. Globerson Levin earned an MSc (2006) in Cell Biology, at Tel Aviv University and PhD (2011) at the Weizmann Institute, where she studied under Prof. Zelig Eshhar supervision. Her PhD focused on developing the CAR T cell therapy towards solid tumor. From 2013-Today, she is a senior scientist and leading the Immunology Research lab. at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center.

Dr. Globerson Levin research has been focused on developing immunotherapy treatment using the chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) concept. Her effort today is overcoming the immunosuppressive environment, overcoming toxicity related to the treatment and developing new methods to redirect CAR T toward the tumor site. She developed a dual CAR T cell treatment towards multiple myeloma, which is now moving ahead to a clinical trial. She was involved in the establishment of the immunotherapy center at TASMC (I-ACT), which will be treating patients using cell therapy.

Dr. Globerson received with Eshhar several grants including the ROI/NIH, CRBC, ISF and ISF, Kamin, and Persol foundation grant that were selectively given to her. She also possess several patents related to CAR T inventions.

Title:

Abstract:

Prof. Erez Levanon

Bar Ilan UniversityIsrael

Bio:

Erez Levanon is a full professor at the faculty of Life sciences of Bar-Ilan University where he is the head of the genomic research lab. He received his PhD from Tel-Aviv University after graduating the Adi Lautman Interdisciplinary Program and was a postdoctoral research follow at the genetics department of Harvard Medical School. Prior to that, he was a senior scientist in Compugen LTD. He has published over 80 research manuscripts and won several awards and fellowships. His main contribution is in the study of RNA and DNA editing.

Title:

RNA editing by the endogenous ADAR protein

Abstract:

Modifications of RNA affect its function and stability. RNA editing is unique among these modifications because it not only alters the cellular fate of RNA molecules but also alters their sequence relative to the genome. The most common type of RNA editing is A-to-I editing by double-stranded RNA-specific adenosine deaminase (ADAR) enzymes. Recent transcriptomic studies have identified a number of ‘recoding’ sites at which A-to-I editing results in non-synonymous substitutions in protein-coding sequences. However, systematic mapping of the editome across the animal kingdom has revealed that most A-to-I editing sites are located within mobile elements in non-coding parts of the genome. Editing of these non-coding sites is thought to have a critical role in protecting against activation of innate immunity by self-transcripts. Both recoding and non-coding events have implications for genome evolution and, when deregulated, may lead to disease. Finally, ADARs are now being adapted for RNA engineering purposes.

Prof. Michal Lotem

Hadassah University HospitalIsrael

Bio:

Title:

Improving anti-cancer T cells via alternative splicing modifications

Abstract:

Alternative splicing (AS) involves the selective inclusion and exclusion of exons from a nascent pre-mRNA that results in various protein sequences. Activated T cells display dynamics in isoform ratios of immune modulatory receptors and of splicing factors. Splicing variants of immune receptors may act in opposite directions but splicing factors are the major category of proteins that undergoes splicing shifts. By the use of splice-switching antisense oligonucleotides or splice-disrupting gene edits, a new avenue of transcriptional manipulations opens up to produce T cells with improved tumoricidal capacity for successful implementation of adoptive cell therapy against cancer.

Prof. Marcelle Machluf

TechnionIsrael

Bio:

Title:

NanoGohost not just a drug/gene delivery system

Abstract:

Prof. Daniel Offen

Tel Aviv UniversityIsrael

Bio:

Title:

Abstract:

Prof. Benjamin Rubinoff

HUJI-HadassahIsrael

Bio:

Prof. Reubinoff is a full Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and serves as Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Hadassah University Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel. He is also the director of the Sidney and Judy Swartz Embryonic Stem Cell Research Center of The Goldyne Savad Institute of Gene Therapy at Hadassah. He has founded and serves as the Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) of Cell Cure Neurosciences Ltd. 

The major focus of Prof. Reubinoff’s research has been human embryonic stem cells (hESCs).  He has been among the world pioneers in deriving ES cell lines from human embryos. 

Prof. Reubinoff is mainly interested in the development of the technology that may eventually allow the exploitation of hESCs for regenerative medicine. Towards this goal, he developed hESC lines that are suitable for clinical transplantation use, and further derived progeny from these hESC lines for Cell Therapy in neural and retinal degenerative disorders.

Title:

Phase I/IIa Clinical Trial of Human Embryonic Stem Cell (hESC)-Derived Retinal Pigmented Epithelium (RPE) Transplantation in Advanced Dry Form Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Abstract:

Authors:
Banin, Eyal1, Reimann, Christopher2, Barak, Adiel3; Boyer, David4; Ehrlich, Rita5; Jaouni, Tareq2; McDonald, Richard6; Telander, David G.7; Keane, Michael8; Ackert, Jessica8; Ferguson, Mark D.8; Shabat, Avi Ben-9; Monés, Jordi M.10; Velez, Joyce11; Hogge, Gary S.11; Reubinoff, Benjamin12

Institutions:

1. Center for Retinal and Macular Degenerations, Department of Ophthalmology, Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel. 2. Cincinnati Eye Institute & University of Cincinnati School of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. 3. Sourasky Medical Center, Tel Aviv, Israel. 4. Retina Vitreous Associates Medical Group, Los Angeles, CA, USA. 5. Rabin Medical Center, Petah Tikva, Israel. 6. West Coast Retina Group, San Francisco, CA, USA. 7. Retinal Consultants Medical Group, Sacramento, CA, USA. 8. Gyroscope Therapeutics, Ambler, PA, USA. 9. Lineage Cell Therapeutics, Inc. (Cell Cure Neurosciences, Ltd.,) Jerusalem, Israel. 10. Institut de la Màcula, Barcelona, Spain. 11. Lineage Cell Therapeutics, Inc., Carlsbad, CA, USA. 12. Center for Embryonic Stem Cells Goldyn Savad Institute of Gene Therapy and the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel.

Transplantation of RPE cells may be of therapeutic benefit in AMD. We developed RPE cells from hESCs using cGMP directed differentiation. Safety and tolerability of these cells is being evaluated in a Phase I/IIa clinical study in patients with dry AMD and geographic atrophy (GA) (NCT02286089). We report accumulated safety and imaging data from 17 subjects. 
RPE cells in suspension (OpRegen; 50-200k) were subretinally transplanted under local anesthesia to the worse vision eye using either pars plana vitrectomy (PPV) and retinotomy or via an alternative surgical approach utilizing Gyroscope's Orbit Subretinal Delivery System. RPE cells ready for onsite thawing and immediate transplantation have also been evaluated. Short course perioperatively systemic immunosuppression is used. Systemic and ocular safety is closely observed, and retinal function and structure are monitored using various imaging modalities.
Treatment has been well tolerated and there have been no unexpected adverse events (AEs) or treatment-related systemic serious AEs.  Visual improvement has been noted in all patients of cohort 4. In several subjects, within the area of RPE cell transplant, improvements of the ellipsoid zone and RPE layers at the border of GA, as well as directional growth changes in the area of GA, has been seen. Persistent changes observed following treatment include, alterations in drusen appearance, subretinal pigmentation and hyper-reflective areas, suggestive of the presence of transplanted RPE cells. In conclusion, subretinal transplantation of hESC-derived RPE cells in patients with dry AMD and GA appears well tolerated. Imaging findings suggest presence of transplanted cells in the subretinal space. Encouraging structural and clinical changes observed in some patients will require additional follow-up

Prof. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro

Tel Aviv UniversityIsrael

Bio:

Prof. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro (Ph.D.) is a Full Professor at Tel Aviv University, where she is head of the Cancer Research & Nanomedicine Laboratory, Director of the TAU Kahn 3D BioPrinting Initiative, Director of Tel Aviv University Cancer Biology Research Center and holds the Kurt and Herman Lion Chair in Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies. She served as Chair of the Department of Physiology & Pharmacology at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine (2014-2018), as President of the Israeli Controlled Release Society (CRS) (2010-2015), Chair of IACUC of Tel Aviv University (2013-2017). She received her B.Pharm. from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1995 and her Ph.D. (Summa Cum Laude) in Polymer Chemistry and Cancer Nanomedicine from the University of London in 1999 with Prof. Ruth Duncan. She then spent four years as Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Harvard University and Children’s Hospital Boston working with Prof. Judah Folkman on Vascular and Cancer Biology. In 2003, she was appointed Instructor in Surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. She joined Tel Aviv University in 2006. She serves on the Board of Directors of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Board of Governors of Tel Aviv University, Member of 8400- The Health network, member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Blavatnik Center for Drug Discovery, the Israel Cancer Association, the Hospital Universitari Vall d'Hebron - Institut de Recerca (VHIR, Barcelona, Spain), The Rothschild Fellowships Committee, several VCs and editorial boards of scientific journals.

Her multidisciplinary research laboratory focuses on basic research elucidating the mechanisms underlying the switch from cancer dormancy leading to the discovery of new molecular targets to interrupt tumor-host interactions. Her approach is followed by the design of highly-selective targeting molecules integrating biology, chemistry, medicine, bioinformatics and nanotechnology to selectively guide drugs into pathological sites. Throughout, she has maintained an interest in understanding the biological rationale for the design of nanomedicines suitable for transfer into clinical testing. She published more than 120 manuscripts, 13 book chapters, edited 2 books, is named inventor on 60 patents, some of which were licensed to Pharmaceutical and Biotech companies, and has delivered over 500 lectures worldwide. Her students are pursuing careers in academia, industry and government. She is a founder of a spin-off company and is actively engaged in translational research with several industry partners and in science outreach. She was awarded numerous prestigious grants and prizes among them Fulbright, Rothschild, Wingate, Alon, Young Investigator Award of the European Association for Cancer Research, JULUDAN Prize for the Advancement of Technology in Medicine, the 2013 Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Founders Award for the Discovery of new molecular mechanisms and targets that would lead to new therapeutic approaches, The 2019 CRS Translational Research Award, The 2020 Youdim Family Prize for Excellence in Cancer Research, The 2020 Kadar Family Award for Outstanding Research, the 2020 Michael Bruno Memorial Award and the 2020 Humboldt Foundation Bessel Research Prize. Her scientific achievements were acknowledged numerous times by inclusion in honorary lists by leading magazines (Forbes, Globes’ Woman of the Year 2019, named one of Israel’s Top 40 under 40 by The Marker, and by the Calcalist, and as one of 20 most promising Israelis by Yediot Aharonot). She was elected the 2019 Chair of the Gordon Research Conference on Cancer Nanotechnology, was awarded the 2018 Israel Cancer Research Fund Professorship, was selected to represent Israel at the 2016 Biennale in Venice on the Influence of Medicine on Architecture, and was awarded the European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator (2014-2019), Advanced (2019-2024) and Proof of Concept (PoC) (2019-2021) Grants.

Title:

Abstract:

REGISTRATION

Payment for registration will grant you with 1 year ISGCT membership
  1. Full participant
    120 NIS
    Registration Fees Include:
    Access to all scientific content
    Up to 12 months access to VOD
    Network with colleagues

  2. Student
    60 NIS
    Registration Fees Include:

    Access to all scientific content
    Up to 12 months access to VOD
    Network with colleagues