Standardization, workforce development and advocacy in cell and gene therapies: a summary of the 2020 Regenerative Medicine InterCHANGE.

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Cell and gene therapy is a promising and disruptive new field of medicine for diseases lacking effective treatments. Collaboration among stakeholders has become critically important as investigators, health care providers, manufacturers, couriers, data registries, regulators and payers all become more invested in the success of this field. Many organizations have collaborated with each other to increase clarity, advocate for improvements and share lessons learned. These efforts appear to be making an impact, although the potential for duplicative efforts could slow progress. The second Regenerative Medicine InterCHANGE, hosted by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy, took place at the Phacilitate Leaders World/World Stem Cell Summit conference in Miami, Florida, on January 24, 2020. Participants from several organizations outlined needs to advance cell and gene therapies. Efforts to address these include standardization, workforce development and advocacy. This article summarizes the major challenges and opportunities discussed during the InterCHANGE.





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McNiece, Ian K, Kara K Wacker, Joanne Kurtzberg and Phyllis I Warkentin (2021). Standardization, workforce development and advocacy in cell and gene therapies: a summary of the 2020 Regenerative Medicine InterCHANGE. Cytotherapy, 23(10). pp. 886–893. 10.1016/j.jcyt.2021.02.004 Retrieved from

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Joanne Kurtzberg

Jerome S. Harris Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics

Dr. Kurtzberg is an internationally renowned expert in pediatric hematology/oncology, pediatric blood and marrow transplantation, umbilical cord blood banking and transplantation, and novel applications of cord blood and birthing tissues in the emerging fields of cellular therapies and regenerative medicine.   Dr. Kurtzberg serves as the Director of the Marcus Center for Cellular Cures (MC3), Director of the Pediatric Transplant and Cellular Therapy Program, Director of the Carolinas Cord Blood Bank, and Co-Director of the Stem Cell Transplant Laboratory at Duke University.  The Carolinas Cord Blood Bank is an FDA licensed public cord blood bank distributing unrelated cord blood units for donors for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) through the CW Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program.  The Robertson GMP Cell Manufacturing Laboratory supports manufacturing of RETHYMIC (BLA, Enzyvant, 2021), allogeneic cord tissue derived and bone marrow derived mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs), and DUOC, a microglial/macrophage cell derived from cord blood.

Dr. Kurtzberg’s research in MC3 focuses on translational studies from bench to bedside, seeking to develop transformative clinical therapies using cells, tissues, molecules, genes, and biomaterials to treat diseases and injuries that currently lack effective treatments. Recent areas of investigation in MC3 include clinical trials investigating the safety and efficacy of autologous and allogeneic cord blood in children with neonatal brain injury – hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), cerebral palsy (CP), and autism. Clinical trials testing allogeneic cord blood are also being conducted in adults with acute ischemic stroke. Clinical trials optimizing manufacturing and testing the safety and efficacy of cord tissue MSCs in children with autism, CP and HIE and adults with COVID-lung disease are underway. DUOC, given intrathecally, is under study in children with leukodystrophies and adults with primary progressive multiple sclerosis.

In the past, Dr. Kurtzberg has developed novel chemotherapeutic drugs for acute leukemias, assays enumerating ALDH bright cells to predict cord blood unit potency, methods of cord blood expansion, potency assays for targeted cell and tissue based therapies. Dr. Kurtzberg currently holds several INDs for investigational clinical trials from the FDA.  She has also trained numerous medical students, residents, clinical and post-doctoral fellows over the course of her career.

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