center for systems

& synthetic biology

an NIGMS national systems biology center


UCSF hosts forward-looking symposium on cell-based therapeutics

April 24, 2013

Will cell therapies be the next frontier in pharmaceuticals, after small molecules and biologics? More than 250 people gathered at UCSF on April 12 for the first 'cell-based therapeutics: the next pillar of medicine' symposium to discuss this very topic.

The event was co-organized by the UCSF Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology and Science Translational Medicine. The goal of the meeting was to engage the basic and translational science communities to think about ways to harness our increasingly deeper understanding of how cells work and apply this knowledge towards innovative therapeutic applications. The scientific sessions and speakers focused on the engineering of therapeutic immune cells (Carl June and Wendell Lim), microbiomes (Justin Sonnenburg, Katherine Lemon, Matthew Redinbo, and Michael Fischbach), and stem cells (Ann Tsukamoto and Fan Yang). Each session included both clinical and basic research viewpoints, and had extended discussion periods and questions from the audience. Don Ganem from Novartis outlined some of the challenges ahead for cell-based therapies as a wrap-up to the day long event. Read press highlights from UCSF News and the San Jose Mercury News.



Michael Fischbach and Wendell Lim welcome attendees.

Jeff Bluestone (UCSF) gives an introduction and brief history to the new field of cell therapy.

Questions for Jeff Bluestone.

Carl June (U Penn) presents highlights of engineered T cells that fight cancer.

Wendell Lim (UCSF) discusses the potential for cells as smart therapeutic devices.

Immune cell therapeutics discussion (Jeff Bluestone and Wendell Lim).

Carl June addressing a question from the audience during the discussion session.

Justin Sonnenburg (Stanford) starts off the bacterial therapeutics session.

Matthew Redinbo (UNC) highlights the potential of harnessing the microbiota for therapeutic gain.

Michael Fischbach (UCSF) discusses small molecules produced from the human microbiota.

Megan Frisk (Science Translational Medicine) chairs the bacterial therapeutics discussion.

Katherine Lemon (Harvard) sheds light on managing the composition and function of our microbiota.

Justin Sonnenburg and Matthew Redinbo field questions from the audience.

Don Ganem (Novartis) reflects on the challenges ahead for cell therapy.

Post-it notes highlighting some of the themes of the day.

Photos by Reid Williams