The cellular therapy community is well known for its spirit of collaboration. One testament to the teamwork enjoyed by the field is the FACT Professional Relations Committee. One of the purposes of this committee is to enhance communications with relevant organizations in the field. This year, 13 organizations are members, and each has nominated a representative to meet at least quarterly to discuss any issues that have captured its attention, new initiatives that might be of interest to other organizations, and requests for input or participation.
Catherine Bollard, MD, inaugural committee chair and Director for the Center for Cancer and Immunology at the Children’s National Medical Center, recently transitioned committee leadership after many years of service to Bruce Levine, PhD, Professor in Cancer Gene Therapy at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Levine has called special meetings throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to allow organizations to share ideas, provide updates to processes, and ask questions of each other. The benefits of these discussions were the ability to seek advice and learn from each other, communicate changes impacting cellular therapy programs to a wider audience through multiple channels, and establish some consistency among processes. Topics included, among others, training on caring for transplant patients with COVID-19, cryopreservation of unrelated allogeneic products, virtual meetings, and remote inspections.
FACT thanks the following organizations for their participation on the committee and leadership during this challenging year:
- American Association for Tissue Banking (AATB)
- American Society for Apheresis (ASFA)
- American Society for Gene & Cell Therapy (ASGCT)
- American Society for Histocompatibility & Immunogenetics (ASHI)
- American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy (ASTCT)
- College of American Pathologists (CAP)
- Cord Blood Association (CBA)
- International Society Cell & Gene Therapy (ISCT)
- National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP)
- Standards Coordinating Body (SCB)
- World Marrow Donor Association (WMDA)