To celebrate the Society’s 20th anniversary, the Netherlands Society of Gene and Cell Therapy established a new award in 2019 that seeks to honor an individual who has achieved a specific high impact contribution or a lifetime of significant contributions to the field of gene and cell therapy. The NVGCT Outstanding Achievement Award is presented at the NVGCT annual symposium. The recipient is selected from nominations submitted to the board by a yearly changing award committee.
The recipient of the 2023 NVGCT Award is professor Thierry VandenDriessche from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Professor VandenDriessche is a longstanding member of the Gene and Cell Therapy community, who during his career played a significant role in the development of the gene therapy field, from its early days of inception to its current more mature state.
Over the last 30 years, Professor VandenDriessche dedicated his research career to the development of a gene therapy for inherited blood clotting disorders. Using various approaches, targeting different tissues ranging from bone marrow cells to hepatocytes; using a variety of vector systems ranging from retroviruses and lentiviruses, via adenovirus and AAV to transposons, he has tackled many obstacles to design working treatments in relevant animal models, including hemophiliac mice and dogs. Initially focusing on hemophilia A; later including hemophilia B, also introducing the use of the hyperactive FIX Padua variant, his work has been instrumental in helping the field move forward to find a cure for hemophilia.
With the first gene therapies for hemophilia A and B approved in Europe and the US over the last year, the NVGCT board decided that now is the right time to mark professor VandenDriessche’s achievements with our Award.