Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, The Innovation Hubs and the British Society for Cell and Gene Therapy partnered with this year’s Cheltenham Science Festival.

The festival is an annual event, this year running from the 4-9th June, held in Cheltenham that celebrates science and technology, engaging schools and young minds through a rich programme of activities delivered by scientists, researchers, authors and public figures.

The week started with four schools attending 1-hour sessions using hands-on activities to learn about gene therapies. The sessions included:

  • How to make a gene therapy?
  • Craft a viral vector
  • Extract DNA from a fruit
  • Inheritance, recessive alleles and rare diseases

There was a sold-out panel event ‘Gene Therapy: The Future of Medicine’ on Tuesday evening hosted by Vivienne Parry and featured Darmisha Stezaly, whose son was treated with cutting-edge gene therapy in 2021, immunologist Bobby Gaspar and gene therapy researcher Rajvinder Karda who discussed the challenges and opportunities of gene therapy and what it means for the future of medicine.

Throughout the week, there was a large interactive stand located in the Discover Zone where CGT Catapult ran our virtual reality training technology where participants get a first-hand look at the world of cell and gene therapies. They can explore lab equipment, step inside an animated cell and grasp the reality of ‘bench to bedside’.

A huge thank you to all the volunteers who contributed their time and effort to inspiring the next generation.