Faculty Shine at 2022 World Medical Innovation Forum

May 13, 2022

Several Harvard Ophthalmology faculty shared cutting-edge insights on gene and cell therapy at the 2022 World Medical Innovation Forum. Presented by Mass General Brigham, the forum featured speakers from industry, academia, and government who are shaping the future of gene and cell therapies. Five faculty participated in the event, each one exploring the promise of new therapies, the challenges to their development, and investment and market dynamics. 

Faculty highlights:

  • Luk Vandenberghe, PhD, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School (HMS), moderated a fireside chat on the current and future state of the regulatory approval process for gene and cell therapies.
  • Demetrios Vavvas, MD, PhD, the Solman and Libe Friedman Professor of Ophthalmology at HMS, participated in an interactive Q&A session on how clinical trials should be approached for rare and ultra-rare diseases and how study design is not a one-size fits all.
  • Michael Young, PhD, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at HMS, discussed his work on a new technology to address the challenge of delivering stem cell therapies to the eye to preserve retinal neurons.
  • Nerea Zabaleta, PhD, Instructor of Ophthalmology at HMS, presented on AAVCOVID, a novel, gene-based COVID-19 vaccine in development at Mass Eye and Ear that leverages a unique AAV platform.
  • Dr. Vavvas, and Michael Gilmore, PhD, the Sir William Osler Professor of Ophthalmology at HMS, were featured on the annual “Disruptive Dozen” panel, a highly selective list of 12 technologies that are most likely to have significant impact on gene and cell therapy in the next 18 months. Two novel ophthalmology technologies from Mass Eye and Ear were included on the list: Restoring Sight by Mending Broken Genes (ranked at number one) and Cell Therapies to Conquer Common Forms of Blindness (ranked at number three). Learn more about the Disruptive Dozen.


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