BSGT Annual Conference 28th-30th March 2006
The 3rd BSGT Annual Conference was held at Imperial College, London
It is a truly great pleasure for me to welcome you to the 3rd Annual Conference of the British Society for Gene Therapy. This will be our biggest conference to date, and the Scientific Committee (led by this year’s Science Chair, Dr Michael Antoniou) and Local Organisers (led by Dr Richard Harbottle) have arranged a superb quality event that should be both intellectually stimulating and highly enjoyable. The organisational soul of this conference has once more been our near-superhuman secretariat, Rachel Mager, who has worked tirelessly to bring everything together; we are always in her debt. I am particularly pleased that the meeting is being held at Imperial College, partly in recognition of the enormous and inspirational input of Professor Charles Coutelle into the development of our scientific field over many years, from its very beginnings.
BSGT is now entering its fourth year, gathering increasing momentum as our science makes steady progress from concept to clinic. Cautious early suggestions that the ‘principle’ of gene therapy might be proved by using genetically modified bone marrow precursor cells for treatment of children with severe combined immune deficiency have gradually solidified, so that now some 24 children are alive as a result of treatment. We remain cautious, of course, but a central theme of this year’s Conference is focussed on genetically modified cells. This approach promises a great deal for treatment of diseases of the bone marrow but potentially also for broader targets, and it is a truly great pleasure to welcome Manuel Grez and Alessandro Aiuti to this meeting who, alongside Alain Fischer and Adrian Thrasher, have pioneered this research in Europe.