Workshop Programme


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Workshop Objectives

Main Sessions of the Workshop

  • Target Audience

    Research Scientists, Immunologists, Physicians, Medical Oncologists, Hematologists, Pediatric Oncologists, Medical and Research Fellows in Training, General Practitioners, Nurses, Other Healthcare Providers, Clinical Trial Research Staff, Cancer Patient’s Associations and Charities, Graduated and non-Graduated Students.
  • Background

    Engineered immune cells represents “living drug” that attack and kill cancer cells. During the last decade extensive knowledge has been achieved on how to develop “ex vivo” effective anti-tumor T cells and to translate these therapeutic strategies to bedside. This has been achieved through the choice of tumor antigens, the design and construction of vectors encoding for antigen-specific receptors, the validation of the clinical efficacy of engineered T cells, the developing of gene editing strategies to control in vivo toxicities or adverse events, the generation of clinical grade manufacturing.

    T cells engineered with Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) that combines part of antigen-binding antibody and T cell activating functions represents the most recent breakthrough of gene therapy and cancer immunotherapy. These cells are programmed to target antigens that are present on the surface of tumor cells. CAR-T cell therapy has changed the paradigm for the treatment of pediatric and adult patients with some types of blood cancer.

    In 2017 and at beginning of 2018 the FDA approved two CAR T-cell therapeutic treatments targeting CD19, which is over expressed by transformed B cells: 1. tisagenlecleucel (Kymriah) for children and young adult with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), and 2. axicabtagene ciloleucel (Yescarta) for adults with Diffuse Large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma (PMBCL). Recently, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved these two biological drugs for the same types of hematological malignancies.

    These new cancer treatments are powerful and unprecedented in term of clinical success for aggressive and refectory childhood and adult B cell malignancies. Although serious side effects and adverse events, including cytokine release syndrome (CRS) and neurological disorders, have been registered in CAR-T cell treated patients, these effects now can be controlled and, in most cases resolved.

    Worldwide experts in this field are currently dedicating effort to the optimization of CAR-T cells approach in order to minimize off-tumor reactivity and adverse events. Manufacturing of clinical grade CAR-T cells is complex and costly and can be performed only in highly specialized centers. The development of “off-the-shelf” CAR T-cells would allow to overcome personalized treatment for each individual patient and to increase the number of patients who might benefit from this type of therapeutic approaches.

    The generation of clinical grade off-the-shelf CAR T-cells is highly promising; however, we still have a long way to go to have these products ready for clinical applications. It is important to follow the progress in this field, as well as to share knowledge and experiences to accelerate their clinical development. Along this line the development of CAR-engineered NK cells representing a type of “universal” engineered immune cells targeting tumor cells is under exploration and clinical development.

    Many progresses have been achieved also for targeting of solid tumor with T cells engineered with high affinity antigen-specific T cell receptor (TCR). A variety of studies have shown promising clinical results. A critical feature for their efficacy is represented by the accurate choice of target molecules expressed by tumor cells, to minimize “off target” reactivity and immune escape mechanisms.

    Moreover, the development of bispecific monoclonal antibodies represents a promising field to implement the efficacy, either as monotherapy or for redirecting cell-based therapies, of immune targeting of tumor cells.
  • Speakers

    For more information on the Speakers, click here.

  • The Scientific Organizing Committee

    Sidra Medicine

    • Dr. Christof von Kalle, CRO
    • Dr. Cristina Maccalli, Chair of the Workshop
    • Dr. Catherine Cole, Division Chief - Hematology /Oncology / BMT
    • Dr. Sara Deola, Investigator
    • Dr. Chiara Cugno, Director of Clinical Research Center
    • Mr. Mohammed Younes Sa'adeh Anas, Clinical Nurse Specialist- Hematology /Oncology / BMT

    NCCCR, Hamad Medical Corporation

    • Dr. Alexander Knuth, Medical Director and CEO
    • Dr. Gianfranco Pittari, Senior Consultant of Hematology/BMT
    • Dr. Javid Gaviez, Head of BMT Program Medical Oncology/Hematology Department
    • Dr. Ruba Yasin Ibrahim Taha, Hematology Program Director
    • Dr. Said Dermime, Director of Translational Cancer Research Facility 

    Qatar Cancer Society

    • Dr. Hadi Mohamad Abu Rasheed, Head of Professional Development and Scientific Research Department
  • The Supporting Organizing Committee

    • Ms. Nelly EL Mistekawy, CRO Office Manager
    • Ms. Maricris Salud, Executive Assistant
    • Ms. Aisha Al Zaman, Community Relations Specialist
    • Ms. Anjud Al-Mohannadi, Research Specialist I
    • Ms. Dhanya Kizhakayil, Research Specialist I
    • Ms. Emma Morris, Consultant – Web Projects & Development.
    • Ms. Heba Nady, Volunteer
    • Dr. Muhammad Elnaggar, Senior Post Doc 
    • Dr. Rami Abdel Latif Yousef, Manager Business Analysis and Research Planning 
  • Sponsors

    Distinguished Diamond and Official Telecommunication Sponsor

    Diamond Sponsor

    Gold Sponsor


    Speakers Dinner