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Gene and Cell Therapy Breakthroughs Focus of World Medical Innovation Forum May 19-21

4 minute read

Advancing Revolutionary Treatments, Potential Cures

computer rendition of DNA

Gene and cell therapy (GCT), a transformative approach to develop treatments, and, potentially, cures for congenital and other diseases, is the focus of this year’s World Medical Innovation Forum May 19-21. Widely recognized as a transformational opportunity in medicine, GCT has the potential to stop or slow the effects of disease by targeting them at the genetic level. When the genetic driver for a disease is known, patients can be molecularly matched to therapies.  

Featuring a unique combination of nearly 200 speakers and panelists from Mass General Brigham’s Harvard-affiliated faculty, industry, venture, manufacturing, and regulatory agencies, the World Medical Innovation Forum, in an all-virtual format, will explore interdependent aspects of advancing GCT for patients worldwide. Topics cover GCT strategy, clinical opportunities, patient access, economic and investment considerations, regulatory frameworks and manufacturing scalability. Nearly 1000 organizations will be represented, including attendees from 43 countries and 40 states of the U.S. 

The Forum includes updates on:  

  • GCT Potential for Patients
  • Gene Therapies for Specific Diseases – Large Incidence and Rare   
  • Trends in Vector Development, including AAV, Lentivirus and Nano Methods
  • Clinical Opportunities, Technology and Market Potential  
  • Regulatory Frameworks for GCT
  • Shaping GCT Innovation
  • Cancer, Gene Therapy and Oncolytic Viruses
  • CAR-T Therapy
  • GCT Manufacturing, Supply Chain and Scalability
  • Impact of mRNA Vaccines

“The Forum fosters critical discussions and debates on issues that will determine the pace of expansion of GCT therapies for patients in the coming years,” says Chris Coburn, Chief Innovation Officer, Mass General Brigham. “In the spirit of collaborative innovation, this gathering of leading investors, entrepreneurs, industry executives, Harvard clinicians and scientists is unique in convening top decision-makers in sharing ideas for advancing these game-changing technologies to the front lines of medicine.” 

“We are honored to be the presenting sponsor of this year’s World Medical Innovation Forum,” said Dave Lennon, President, Novartis Gene Therapies. “Having brought one of the first gene therapies to market, we have seen the enormous potential these breakthrough medicines hold to transform lives. We look forward to joining other leaders at the forum to share learnings and our vision for the future – one in which gene therapies drive scientific innovation and deliver on their promise for patients and societies.”

Showcasing Mass General Brigham Breakthroughs 

The Forum showcases GCT innovation breakthroughs from Mass General Brigham’s Harvard Medical School faculty investigators in 10-minute “First Look” presentations, and a research poster session being included in the Forum for the first time. More than 40 emerging GCT research projects will be part of the virtual showcase, with topics including gene therapy for large incidence and rare diseases including neurology, cardiology, blood disorders, and oncology, CAR-T breakthroughs, and oncolytic, AAV and non-viral delivery methods. 

Recipients of Mass General Brigham’s Innovation Discovery Grants for GCT research will be announced. The Forum concludes with the announcement of the annual Disruptive Dozen, 12 GCT advances members of the Mass General Brigham faculty believe are the most likely to break through in the next few years. 

This year’s Forum co-chairs are Nino Chiocca, MD, PhD, Chair, Neurosurgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Cushing Professor of Neurosurgery, Harvard Medical School (HMS); Sue Slaugenhaupt, PhD, Scientific Director and Elizabeth G. Riley and Daniel E. Smith Jr., Endowed Chair, Mass General Research Institute, and Professor, Neurology, HMS; Ravi Thadhani, MD, CAO, Mass General Brigham and Professor, Medicine and Faculty Dean, HMS; and Luk Vandenberghe, PhD, Grousbeck Family Chair, Gene Therapy, Mass Eye and Ear, and Associate Professor, Ophthalmology, HMS. 

About the World Medical Innovation Forum
The World Medical Innovation Forum was established seven years ago in response to the intensifying transformation of health care and its impact on innovation. The Forum is rooted in the belief that no matter the magnitude of change, the center of health care needs to be a shared, fundamental commitment to collaborative innovation – industry and academia working together to improve patient lives. 

To find out more about the Forum, speakers and agenda, and to register, visit

Media Contact

Mass General Brigham:
Rich Copp

About Mass General Innovation

Innovation is the 150-person business development unit of Mass General Brigham responsible for the worldwide commercial application of the unique capabilities and discoveries of Mass General Brigham's 74,000 employees. Innovation supports the research requirements of its 6,200 Harvard Medical School faculty and research hospitals. It has responsibility for industry collaborations, venture investing, international consulting, licensing, innovation management, company creation, technology marketing, open innovation alliances, and workforce development. 

About Mass General Brigham

Mass General Brigham is an integrated academic health care system, uniting great minds to solve the hardest problems in medicine for our communities and the world. Mass General Brigham connects a full continuum of care across a system of academic medical centers, community and specialty hospitals, a health insurance plan, physician networks, community health centers, home care, and long-term care services. Mass General Brigham is a nonprofit organization committed to patient care, research, teaching, and service to the community. In addition, Mass General Brigham is one of the nation’s leading biomedical research organizations with several Harvard Medical School teaching hospitals. For more information, please visit