Restoration of health rather than chronic treatment: Europe-wide research initiative RESTORE set to hold first science meeting in Berlin

The European initiative RESTORE invites you to join its 1st Advanced Therapies Science Meeting (ATSM) in Berlin on November 25 and 26. The meeting will focus on advanced therapy medicinal products, often known as “advanced therapies” or “living drugs,” which aim to cure diseases rather than to simply treat symptoms. These advanced therapies are revolutionizing drug development. In February, the European-wide research initiative received one million euros in initial funding to pursue its goal of putting Europe at the forefront of advanced therapies. RESTORE was founded and is coordinated by the BIH Center for Regenerative Therapies (BCRT) and the Berlin Center for Advanced Therapies (BeCAT) at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin. The Berlin Chamber of Physicians has accredited the event and will award six credits for each day of participation.

Advanced therapies are one of the most recent and significant advances in medicine. They include gene and cell therapies and tissue-engineering approaches to not only treat disease symptoms, but to provide sustained improvements and potentially a cure for otherwise incurable chronic diseases. RESTORE aims to ensure that these regenerative therapies are implemented as a standard of care across Europe and beyond – in other words, that they are affordable and accessible for all patients who need them.

The two-day ATSM meeting will bring together experts from science, industry, and patient organizations from across Europe and beyond to discuss the challenges within the field of advanced therapies, as well as possible solutions to these challenges. The program will include talks from Nobel Prize winner Ada Yonath (Director of Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel), Michele De Luca (University of Modena, Italy), Timothy O’Brien (National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland), Maksim Mamonkin (Baylor College of Medicine, USA), and Manuela Gomes (University of Minho, Portugal).

Among the topics discussed will be personalized 3D printed tissue implants for patients with skin and heart diseases; the use of CAR T-cell therapy to fight tumors; and the further development of organ-on-a-chip tools towards patients on chips, with the goal of not only making drug testing on animals unnecessary in many cases, but to improve predictions about the effects and side effects of drugs. Talks will also be given on fundamental research into using the gene-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 to genetically manipulate stem cells, on the challenges of manufacturing cell therapy products on an industrial scale, as well as on the regulatory issues and ethical and economic ramifications associated with bringing these new “living” drugs to market.

RESTORE is coordinated by Professor Hans-Dieter Volk, who is Director of the BIH Center for Regenerative Therapies (BCRT) and Charité’s Institute of Medical Immunology as well as a lead scientist at the Berlin Center for Advanced Therapies (BeCAT). “Advanced therapies are a potential game changer in healthcare, aiming to shift our focus from the lifelong treatment of chronic diseases to the restoration of health,” says Professor Volk, adding that: “We are determined to translate promising research findings into safe and cost-effective therapies made in Europe, and we are working across disciplines and national borders in order to achieve this goal. The 1st Advanced Therapies Science Meeting provides the opportunity for participation in discussions on not only the numerous obstacles in the way of implementing these promising therapies in routine clinical care, but what can be done to overcome these. We are immensely grateful to all our supporters and to the EU for backing RESTORE and the 1st ATSM, allowing us to share and evolve our vision for the future of advanced therapies.”

For more information about RESTORE and the 1st ATSM as well as to view the meeting’s program or to register, please visit: https://www.restore-horizon.eu/1atsm-home/

Journalists interested in attending the meeting are asked to contact presse@bihealth.de.