Summer school “Power of viral vectors in gene therapy and basic science”

17-20. September, Primošten, Croatia

Summer school “Power of viral vectors in gene therapy and basic science”, the first international joint European summer school in gene and cell therapy organized by Croatian Microbiological Society (CMS), French Society for Cell and Gene Therapy (SFTCG), German Society for Gene Therapy (DGGT) and Spanish Society for Cell and Gene Therapy (SETGyC), took place from 17-20 September 2014 in Primošten, Croatia. This event gathered students, PhD students, post docs and senior scientists in the field of virology and gene delivery, coming both from academia and industry, with intention of facilitating lively discussions, sharing of new ideas and concepts and initiating new collaborations. Altogether there were 71 participants on this summer school coming from 15 different countries (Croatia, France, Spain, Germany, Slovenia, Austria, Finland, Belgium, The Netherlands, Russia, Korea, Brazil, United States, Egypt and the United Kingdom).

       This school started on Wednesday, September 17, with the   lecture on “Gene therapy of chronic granulomatous disease”. During the following days 13 invited lectures, 13 short selected oral presentations and 17 poster presentations were delivered. Throughout the presentations participants were introduced to all viral vectors (adenoviruses, gammaretroviruses, lentiviruses, adeno-associated viruses, herpesviruses and alphaviruses) that are used in gene therapy of monogenic and neurodegenerative diseases, cancer and in vaccination. Lectures and posters presented both basic and applied research including short overview of clinical trials that are using viral vectors for gene therapy.  You can have a look at the abstracts here.

On Thursday evening, September 18, poster section was organized. Each poster was presented to a jury composed of 8 international scientists that at the end decided to give two poster awards to: Ahmed Z. Gad for poster entitled “Retroviral T cell receptor gene transfer for development of EBV/CMV bi-specific T cells” and Nikolina Stojanovic for poster entitled “Integrin αVβ3 mediated drug resistance in human tongue squamous carcinoma cells”.

Friday late afternoon, September 19, was reserved for social program which included guided tour through the city of Trogir, “monument town”, unique and well preserved historic-Romanic-island town, founded by the Greeks in 3rd century BC and placed under the UNESCO protection since 1997. The Friday evening was dedicated to fostering networking between the participants facilitated by delicious dinner served at Jurlinovi dvori, traditional Dalmatian hamlet, accompanied by friendly atmosphere, joyful dance and music.

Summer school “Power of viral vectors in gene therapy and basic science” finished on Saturday, September 20, by awarding best posted prizes and closing speech. However that was closing of only the official part of the first summer school on viral vectors. The organizers and participants decided to continue with this kind of meeting and the sprout of the next school, or maybe symposium, on viral vectors was seeded in Primošten.