ESGCT was founded in January 1992 as the European Working Group on Human Gene Transfer and Therapy (EWGT). The Society was renamed the European Society of Gene Therapy (ESGT) in 1998. In 2007, the Society's name was changed again to ESGCT to reflect that the fields of gene and cell therapy can not be separated from one another. In 2017 ESGCT celebrated its 25th anniversary at the Annual Congress in Berlin.

Watch a video with some testimonials for more.

25 years of ESGCT

In 2017, ESGCT organised its 25th Congress in Berlin, in collaboration with DG-GT. Watch our slideshow celebrating 25 years of ESGCT and of gene & cell therapy in Europe. The people in our society make it so worthwhile and we would love to add even more faces to this slideshow for our next anniversary!



More information

For further information on the European Society of Gene and Cell Therapy please contact  office@esgct.eu


ESGCT seeks to support scientists and clinicians working in the fields of gene and cell therapy and to promote awareness and understanding of gene and cell therapy and the vast amount of related research in Europe. For the past 25 years, the society has seen many developments in gene and cell therapy. The development of new and improved delivery vectors and advances in genome engineering have opened up new possibilities, while the knowledge gained through clinical trials and long-term follow up of patients has contributed not only to the fields of gene and cell therapy, but also to the wider medical and life sciences. With these developments, more potential applications of gene and cell therapy and more elegant and life-changing treatments than ever before are within our grasp. With these possibilities come challenges both for the field and the wider society as treatments need to make the transition from lab bench to patient bedside and ethical questions need to be answered. Through its activities, ESGCT seeks to stimulate further exchange of scientific knowledge and expertise, promote collaboration between and within clinics, academic research and the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry. Furthermore, ESGCT is committed to the training and support of young investigators entering the field and to facilitating an informed dialogue between the scientific community, policy makers and society as a whole.



ESGCT organises an Annual Congress, which brings together scientists working in the fields of gene and cell therapy from throughout Europe and beyond. The Congress is typically held in October or November in a major European city. The Congress is a platform for highlighting the latest research and techniques through the scientific sessions, which include keynote lectures, invited speakers, selected speakers, poster sessions and exhibitions. Furthermore, the Congress is an opportunity to develop relationships and collaborations. The public day, where key concepts in gene and cell therapy along with the latest research are presented in the local language to a general audience, is an integral part of the Congress. The Congress may be organised solely by ESGCT, but is often organised in collaboration with a national society for gene and cell therapy in Europe, for example the German Society for Gene Therapy DG-GT in 2017, or with closely related scientific societies, such as the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) in 2016. 

Since 2016, ESGCT also organises an annual Spring School. This meeting is aimed at students and young investigators who are new to the field of gene and cell therapy. The Spring School aims to provide an intensive training course and the opportunity to interact with current and future leaders in the field:  The ESGCT Spring School is a 2 to 3-day meeting of presentations and workshops focused on students as the primary attendees. Students will have free registration to the meeting that includes all meals, and will only have to pay for their travel and accommodation. This meeting is NOT a profit-making activity. The ESGCT will fully support this project financially , in addition to full use of the ESGCT Strategy & Events Team.

One of the ESGCT’s core aims has always been to facilitate students’ access to key players and developments in the field. Hereto, ESGCT offers reduced congress registration rates for students, in addition to free society membership. To further this aim, supporting meetings and workshops aimed particularly at students is of particular interest to ESGCT.

Recently, ESGCT has started initiatives to engage its members and the wider community, including patients and members of the public. These initiatives include a heatmap that shows the location and details of gene and cell therapy research in Europe, blogs written by the society's members and news items accessible to non-specialists available on the ESGCT website.



Board and Presidents

The Board of ESGCT consists of 10 eminent scientists working in the fields of gene and/or cell therapy. Furthermore, one or two graduate students may be co-opted, non-voting, members of the Board. The presidency of ESGCT normally runs for 2 years. Presidents are elected at the Annual General Meeting that takes place at the Annual Congress. The following people have been elected President of the Society

  • 1992 - 1996 Claudio Bordignon
  • 1996 - 1998 Olivier Danos
  • 1998 - 2004 Bernd Gänsbacher
  • 2004 - 2006 David Klatzmann
  • 2006 - 2008 George Dickson
  • 2008 - 2010 Thierry VandenDriessche
  • 2010 - 2012 Seppo Ylä-Herttuala
  • 2012 - 2014 Luigi Naldini
  • 2014 - 2016 Nathalie Cartier
  • 2016 - 2018 Robin Ali

Previous boards & presidents