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“Cell and Gene Meeting on the Mesa 2023” Participation Report


In this blog, Masako Oka, a senior researcher in the Drug Discovery Department, reports on the October 2023 conference in the U.S., which she attended.

I am Masako Oka, a senior researcher in the Drug Discovery Research Department. I attended to the “Cell and Gene Meeting on the Mesa,” a conference held by Alliance for Regenerative Medicine in Carlsbad, San Diego, California, USA from October 10 to 12.

It was held at a resort hotel in Carlsbad, about 50 km north of downtown San Diego, and many of the leading pharmaceutical companies includes venture capitalists, CROs, CDMOs, and universities that are at the forefront of gene and cell therapy field came together at the same place. We could hear lively discussion and valuable information from their respective perspectives about the latest developments, and it would help to understand how to develop and advance current treatment methods for delivery to patients.

At the floors and hallways outside of the lecture halls, it was crammed with more than 30 companies booths, which provide us an informative environment where visitors could easily engage in conversation in proximity.
Breakfast, lunch, and evening refreshments (including cool jazz music and project mapping by drone) were also provided. I had many chances to talk to the people next of me which brought me the expansion of new relationships with whom are from a variety of industries. I also had the valuable experience of being given a tour by the company. Unlike the larger international conferences I had attended in the past, I was able to enjoy participating in this meeting which is in an at-home atmosphere where people were close to each other.

In the panel discussions from the experts, there were many discussions about the automation for commercialization of adeno-associated vectors (AAV) used in gene therapy, and CAR-T which has been effective in cell therapy. From the company presentation sessions, I had an impression that many companies were conducting to the development of technologies for modifying AAV vectors to achieve sustained efficacy and safety. Also, regarding CAR-T cells used in immunotherapy, the development of cell conditioning methods using gene editing technology with CRISPR, close collaboration with hospitals, and cell therapy methods made with automation were introduced. This gave me the impression that the latest technology will become accessible as “a safe and practically effective treatment method” in near future.

One of the most important discussions which remain in my memory is that experts in this field strongly emphasized how important data sharing is. In order to make significant progress for the entire field of gene therapy and cell therapy, we should be the one team. So sharing the protocols and results which each company own would be able to give a huge progress, then it could give a real CURE for patient. As the researcher who aims to develop cell therapies, I felt empathy for the point that experts was talking about the importance of changing the situation. We shouldn’t be protect only companies benefit, but also patient benefit. At the meeting, people also talk about how important of making great team for obtaining the big achievement. That made me feel, as a member of Cellusion, I would like to contribute to the creation of a trustworthy team, strongly.

At the last of my report, I would like to mention the nice Carlsbad city. The hotel I stayed at in Carlsbad was next to the coastline which I couldn’t see the end of line since it continued long and long,  and the sea breeze was very pleasant and beautiful. The whole town was  nice and old (in the words of the cab driver), and it is a great place to get relaxed. The city was not too inconvenient since it only takes about 30 minutes to get to the center of San Diego. One nice lady I got to know at the meeting taught  me the nice restaurants in San Diego. Unfortunately, I couldn’t visit there this time, so next time, I would like to visit there definitely!

Top right photo (furthermost to the right):
Senior Researcher Masako Oka
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