Report Update

CCA appoints expert panel on somatic gene and engineered cell therapies

The Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) has assembled a distinguished panel to examine the legal, ethical, social, and policy challenges associated with somatic gene and engineered cell therapies in Canada. The Expert Panel will be chaired by Janet Rossant, C.C., FRSC, President, Gairdner Foundation.

“I look forward to chairing this panel and working with my colleagues to identify some of the challenges presented by these innovative therapies,” said Dr. Rossant.

As Chair, Dr. Rossant will lead a multidisciplinary group with extensive expertise, experience, and leadership in gene and engineered cell therapy sciences, ethics and social science, law, health economics, commercialization, and healthcare innovation. The Panel will address the following question:

What are the key legal/regulatory, ethical, social, and policy challenges specific to the approval and use of somatic gene and engineered cell therapies in Canada?

Gene and engineered cell therapies hold great promise for treating rare genetic disorders, as well as chronic diseases. However, these therapies raise a number of challenges including regulatory barriers, equity in access to treatment, and affordability.

“Dr. Rossant is a leading expert in stem cell research and we are thrilled to have her as chair,” said Eric M. Meslin, PhD, FCAHS, President and CEO of the CCA. “There is a wealth of knowledge on this panel and I anticipate a comprehensive report on the questions surrounding the approval and use of these therapies, as well as promising approaches to address them.”

The CCA was asked by the National Research Council (NRC) to undertake this project.

The Expert Panel on Somatic Gene and Engineered Cell Therapies:

Janet Rossant (Chair) C.C., FRSC, President, Gairdner Foundation

Harold Atkins, Physician, The Ottawa Hospital and the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

Joanne Castonguay, Economist and Associate Professor, Pôle Santé, HEC Montréal

William Charnetski, Health Innovation Advisor; Former Chief Health Innovation Strategist, Government of Ontario

Ubaka Ogbogu, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law and Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Alberta