Mark is a doctor, scientist, and entrepreneur. As a neurosurgeon, he treats patients with spinal cord injury. Mark is best known for discovering the importance of macrophages for brain regeneration, which led to the first regenerative medicine trial for degenerative cervical myelopathy, and for developing opti-ox, a gene targeting approach that enables faithful execution of genetic information in cells. Applied to cellular reprogramming, opti-ox demonstrated that robust activation of a new cell type program (encoded in transcription factors) is necessary and sufficient to deterministically induce a new cellular identity. These findings challenge the theory that cell reprogramming depends on stochastically determined permissive states and enable the production of any human cell within days at purities approaching 100%. He is the founder of bit.bio, co-founder of cultured meat startup Meatable, and co-founder and trustee of Myelopathy.org, the first charity dedicated to a common yet overseen condition causing a 'slow motion spinal cord injury'.
Ira Mellman, Genentech
Human cells have been successfully used as treatment for blood cancers for decades but translating the promise to cell-based treatment for solid tumors has been slow. The advent of gene-editing techniques such as CRISPR, coupled with advances in our understanding of immunology and optimization of growing, manufacturing, transporting, storing, and handling specialized biological samples and materials is transforming the cell therapy field. We will hear in this session about some of the most promising work in the field, as well as the challenges in overcoming resistance