ISCT President Bruce Levine receives 2020 Dennis Confer Innovate Award

By ISCT Head Office posted 11-09-2020 00:00


ISCT President Bruce Levine receives 2020 Dennis Confer Innovate Award for CAR-T cell therapy achievements

Vancouver, Canada, November 9, 2020 - The International Society for Cell & Gene Therapy (ISCT) , the global society of clinicians, researchers, regulators, technologists, and industry partners dedicated to the translation of cellular therapy into safe and effective therapies to improve patients’ lives, today announces its President, Dr. Bruce Levine Ph.D., has been awarded the 2020 Dennis Confer Innovate Award. The award was given by Be The Match®, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP). Dr. Levine received the award remotely during the virtual ONE Forum 2020.

“I am delighted to receive this award from Be The Match, and the National Marrow Donor Program. The efforts of a range of collaborative teams have contributed to CAR-T cell therapies reaching patients. This will revolutionize how we treat cancers and a range of other conditions now and in the future,” said Bruce Levine, President, ISCT and Barbara and Edward Netter Professor in Cancer Gene Therapy, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. “It has been life changing and fulfilling to contribute towards a new class of therapies for cancer patients. Being able to personally visit patients treated with experimental therapies our team has developed and seeing their recovery first hand is an amazing reward. As President of ISCT, this now enables me to contribute to the orchestration of all stakeholders in the industry to bring cell and gene therapies to patients.” The Dennis Confer Innovate Award recognizes the global achievements of a specific individual that has improved wider ranging transplant outcomes and experiences for patients, donors and providers. Dr. Levine is a central pioneer in the field of cell and gene therapy and one of the co-inventors of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies and the first FDA approved gene therapy (Kymriah), a CAR T cell treatment for pediatric and young adult acute lymphoid leukemia and diffuse large B cell lymphoma. His work has led to a number of first-in-human adoptive immunotherapy clinical trials. The citation for his award noted the clinical success of the therapies that Dr. Levine spearheaded, leading to exponential growth of additional therapeutic developments. These therapies will notably improve the lives of patients where current treatments fail. It was also a factor in the decision for the award that Dr. Levine's efforts continue to move science forward, improving upon existing therapies and advancing the cell and gene therapy field as a whole.

ISCT member Carl June, MD, Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy , Director, Center for Cellular Immunotherapies and Director, Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine said;

“Bruce had a lot of creativity to take a basic idea that I might bring up to him and then make it into something that works. We had no idea that we could create a new industry. Bruce has all the world knowledge on how to make cells at the level of what a pharmaceutical company would do. We think we’re just at the beginning of what’s a revolution in this kind of cell engineering.”

In addition, Dr. David Porter, Jodi Fisher-Horowitz Professor of Leukemia Care Excellence at the Perelman School of Medicine and Abramson Cancer Center, and Director of Blood and Marrow Transplantation at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania said;

“Dr. Levine was absolutely instrumental in first learning how to grow T-cells. He develops biological therapies. He invented the process to be able to grow and make human T-cells to give to patients so they could now target cancer. He is not just a scientist, he is every bit a translational researcher helping patients directly. He has really contributed in indescribable ways to curing people who have had incurable cancers.”

The video accompanying the award can be viewed here.

About the International Society for Cell & Gene Therapy

Established in 1992, the International Society for Cell & Gene Therapy (ISCT) is a global society of clinicians, regulators, researchers, technologists and industry partners with a shared vision to translate cellular and gene 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 and gene-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 2,300 cell and gene therapy experts across five geographic regions and representation from over 60 countries, ISCT members are part of a global community of peers, thought leaders and organizations invested in cell and gene therapy translation. For more information about the society, key initiatives and upcoming meetings, please visit:, @ISCTglobal.

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