Somatic Gene and Engineered Cell Therapies


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.

Somatic gene therapy alters or eliminates genes that cause disease in a patient without imparting these changes to future generations. This assessment will examine the challenges related to approval and use of these therapies, focusing on the latter stages of therapy development including drug approval, market introduction, and use.

The Sponsor:

National Research Council

The 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?

The Expert Panel, chaired by Janet Rossant, C.C., FRSC, held its first Panel meeting in early October in Ottawa. Panel members heard from the sponsor, reached a common understanding of the question, and decided on next steps. The Panel will meet again in late November for a workshop with invited experts to further discuss the evidence.