Policy & Advocacy

ASGCT Members Share Science Behind Immunotherapies with Federal Policymakers

Margarita Valdez Martínez - February 23, 2023

Last month, ASGCT members collaborated with the House Cancer Caucus on a briefing on innovative immunotherapies for cancer treatment to improve patient access. The Society is grateful for the opportunity to better inform regulatory and legislative policymakers about gene and cell therapies. 

The Society has focused this past year on proactive education to better inform regulatory and legislative policymakers about gene and cell therapies. As part of these efforts, ASGCT is connecting our members with federal legislators and their staff to explain the science behind the headlines and deconstruct the hurdles to efficient gene and cell therapy development and patient access. 

Most recently, ASGCT members presented CAR T and Immunotherapies for Cancer Indications in collaboration with the bipartisan House Cancer Caucus. Speakers touched on the pipeline of CAR T therapies and its exponential growth in recent years, the potential for immunotherapies to treat rare cancers and solid tumors, and the patient experience. The goal of these briefings  is to provide a practical level-set for issues facing developers, physicians, and patients. A full agenda, including speakers, can be found below.

  • Welcome and Introductions by House Cancer Caucus Co-Chair
    • US Representative Derek Kilmer, PhD


  • Gene and cell therapy basics and the CAR T-cell Therapy Pipeline
    • Hans Peter-Kiem, MD, PhD, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center & ASGCT President


  • Obstacles to the Expansion of CAR T-cell therapies to solid tumor malignancies
    • Renier Brentjens, MD, PhD, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center


  • Manufacturing challenges for CAR T therapies 
    • January McKee, PhD, Castle Creek Biosciences


  • The patient experience, and delivery of care
    • Rayne Rouce, MD, Baylor College of Medicine


  • Beyond CAR T-cell Immunotherapies for Cancer
    • Marco Davila, MD, PhD, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

The presentations from ASGCT members were followed by Q&A from Congressional staffers, which mainly centered on policy options for Congress to help relieve some of the manufacturing challenges associated with CAR T products in order to ensure patient access. As discussed by our member experts, manufacturing complexity and insurance denials increase a patient’s time to treatment; that may lead to worse health outcomes as a result of delayed care and/or can cause the patient to “age out” of the therapy’s indication, despite being eligible at the time of prescription. Productive conversations on reducing these delays and properly supporting immunotherapy development are essential for the field to move forward. 

ASGCT appreciates the House Cancer Caucus Co-Chairs Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Brian Higgins (NY-26), Derek Kilmer (WA-06), and Mike Kelly (PA-16), for collaborating on this important briefing and looks forward to continuing the conversation beyond CAR T in future events.

Margarita Valdez Martínez is ASGCT's director of policy & advocacy.

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