ISCT forms sector-wide coalition to combat the rise of unproven commercial cell banking services

By ISCT Head Office posted Oct 20, 2019 21:00


Vancouver, Canada, October 21, 2019 – ISCT, the International Society for Cell and Gene Therapy, the global professional society of clinicians, researchers, regulatory specialists, technologists and industry partners in the cell and gene therapy sector, today announces it has formed a global consortium of a wide range of leading professional and education societies to combat the rise in the number of unproven commercial cell banking services. Full details of the statement can be found here.

The consortium partners include the, Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC), American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy (ASTCT), American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy (ASGCT), European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT), Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT), Joint Accreditation Committee ISCT-EBMT (JACIE) and the Forum for Innovative Regenerative Medicine (FIRM).

The consortium has been formed following ISCT issuing patient advice and concern on unproven T-cell preservation services on August 7, 2019. These services include the banking of T-cells, dental cells and cells for the derivation of induced pluripotent stem cells for potential therapeutic uses.

The joint statement from ISCT and the consortium partners includes an agreement on a number of key points. Commercial cell banking services are not supported by current scientific evidence, as opposed to the range of cell therapies such as CAR-T therapies, that follow established approval processes. Additionally, cell banking services cannot claim to know that the cells they preserve today could ever be appropriate for clinical use, could be used by manufacturers, or meet the requirements of many national and international regulatory agencies. As a result, there is no clear pathway to legitimate clinical use. All parties agree offering these services commercially to patients is thus premature, misleading, and drives false hope.

In addition, the ISCT joint statement makes clear that patients, being misled by these services, are thus prevented from giving a full and valid informed consent. Cell banking companies mislead patients in a number of ways, including using ‘tokens of scientific legitimacy’ that suggest a stronger scientific basis than currently exists. These tokens include endorsements from individuals or scientific advisory boards that might not fully endorse the specific products, links to scientific articles, and references to ongoing clinical trials.

“ISCT’s raison d’etre is to lead the industry in supporting scientifically validated cell and gene therapies. As a result, ISCT will continue to welcome all innovations, including cell banking approaches, that increase the number of patients who can benefit from these therapies,” said Bruce Levine, President-Elect, ISCT and one of the inventors of CAR-T therapies. “However, ISCT also leads industry action on unproven cell therapies and services in the cell and gene sector. This is why ISCT has forged a consortium throughout the industry against the marketing of speculative cell banking services that do not have appropriate pre-clinical, and clinical evidence and a plausible pathway to the clinical use of banked cells. We collectively believe these banks have the potential to be detrimental to the future development of cell and gene therapies.”

About ISCT

Established in 1992, ISCT, the International Society for Cell and Gene Therapy is a global society of clinicians, regulators, researchers, technologists and industry partners with a shared vision to translate cellular therapy into safe and effective therapies to improve patients’ lives worldwide.

ISCT is the global leader focused on pre-clinical and translational aspects of developing cell-based therapeutics, thereby advancing scientific research into innovative treatments for patients. ISCT offers a unique collaborative environment that addresses three key areas of translation: Academia, Regulatory and Commercialization. Through strong relationships with global regulatory agencies, academic institutions and industry partners, ISCT drives the advancement of research into standard of care.

Comprised of over 1,500 cell therapy experts across five geographic regions and representation from over 50 countries, ISCT members are part of a global community of peers, thought leaders and organizations invested in cell therapy translation. For more information about the society, key initiatives and upcoming meetings, please visit. or @ISCTglobal on Twitter.


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