AGCTS/BSGCT Esteemed Member Award

In 2017, the ASGCT and BSGCT established the Esteemed Member Award. This reciprocal award of up to AUS$3000 supports an AGCTS member with an “international” or “emerging international” profile to travel to and attend the BSGCT meeting, strengthen links between the two Societies and publicise the research and work of AGCTS. Applicants must have ≥ 6 years post‐doctoral experience and students are not eligible.

On behalf of the Gene Therapy Research Unit and the Translational Vectorology Group at CMRI, I would like to express my gratitude to the society for recognising our collaborative study to develop AAV vectors from naturally human liver-tropic capsids.

This award will afford me an opportunity I might not otherwise have had to network at the BSGCT/ESGCT 2020 meeting in Edinburgh and present further progress in this exciting field.

It was a great honour to receive the Australasian Gene and Cell Therapy Society (AGCTS) inaugural Esteemed Member Award in 2017. This provided me with financial support to attend and present at the British Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (BSGCT) Annual Meeting in Sheffield in 2019, as part of a reciprocal arrangement between these two Societies.

At the meeting I had the opportunity to hear the latest research and clinical breakthroughs in gene and cell therapy happening in the UK. Gene therapy using AAV-based vectors featured strongly as expected, given the current trajectory of the field. One of many notable examples being an update on the progress of human trials for haemophilia presented by Professor Edward Tuddenham (University College London). There were also presentations highlighting the novel application of gene transfer and genome editing technologies, including the use of bacteriophage to treat cancer (Professor Amin Hajitou, Imperial College London) and the genetic modification of mitochondrial DNA using using zinc-finger nucleases (Dr Michal Minczuk, University of Cambridge) just to name a couple.

The conference dinner was held at Sheffield’s historic Cutlers’ Hall and I was lucky enough to witness the after-dinner oration by geneticist Professor Peter Goodfellow, Fellow of the Royal Society. Importantly, I was able to engage with the BSGCT Executive and members and meet some wonderful researchers.

I am grateful to the BSGCT for making me feel so welcome. In 2017, the AGCTS had the pleasure of hosting Professor Uta Griesenbach as part of the reciprocal exchange who presented results from her multi‐dose plasmid-based Phase IIb gene therapy trial for cystic fibrosis. I extend my sincere thanks to the AGCTS and BSGCT for supporting this program and look forward to continuing interactions between our two Societies long into the future.

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