Having done an amazing job as Editor of RegMedNet for the past 3 years, Freya Leask now takes on a new role within the Future Science Group family. We sat down with Freya to discuss her highlights and what she is doing now.
So, for the handful of members who haven't met you or seen your name on the site, can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your new role?
Since starting at Future Science Group, RegMedNet’s parent company, in 2016, usage and engagement with digital content has increased dramatically. We’ve gone from 19,000 members across six websites to more than 70,000 across nine websites, and now we’ve expanded into new subject areas, supported as always by our fantastic collection of academic journals.
Along the way, I’ve published new kinds of content, such as peek behind the papers, look behind the lectures, video content, and plain language summaries to help the public learn more about the science of regenerative medicine.
In my new role as Publisher, I’ll be working across a number of our sites – including RegMedNet – to understand the individual and unique audiences working in fields such as bioanalysis, real-world evidence and 3D printing. I will be helping ensure that all our digital sites remain useful and trusted resources, providing accurate, timely and valuable content to help all these evolving fields move forward even faster.
I’m really excited to learn more about these subjects and get to know the different audiences like I feel I’ve gotten to know RegMedNet’s!
What development in the field stands out to you when you look back?
The last 3 years have seen huge developments in the field! There’s been an explosion in the number of companies developing regenerative and advanced therapies and it’s been so inspiring to hear case studies about the great results they are having in patients.
On the other side of the coin, I think everyone involved in the industry has worried about patients being targeted by clinics selling unproven and unregulated treatments purporting to use stem cells. I’ve been shocked to see the rapid rise of direct-to-consumer marketing for these treatments on billboards, newspapers and online, and have even had conversations with friends and family who expressed surprise when I told them of ground-breaking new approvals – in their minds, these treatments were already mainstream.
However, if I had to choose just one development, it would have to be the FDA approval of Kymriah, Novartis’ (Basel, Switzerland) CAR-T therapy for late stage acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in 2017. Although it didn’t stand alone for long, for me, this advancement gave a stamp of approval to cell therapies in both the industry and public consciousness. It also gave RegMedNet a boost, bringing our content to new audiences as people searched for information to help understand the significance of the news.
As Editor, you’ve covered a lot, but when you look back, what feature are you proudest of?
This is another difficult question to answer; since 2016, we’ve published over 1000 individual posts! However, a few features stand out. One was working on the latest edition of The Glossary for Cell & Gene Therapy and Regenerative Medicine 2018. This was a huge task; we decided to expand the scope of the glossary to include gene therapy for the first time, bringing the number of terms included up to almost 500, and, to reflect the evolution of the field, redefined many of the previous edition’s terms.
I’m very proud of the final glossary as well as the fantastic feedback we received on it at conferences; it graces many an expert’s office around the world. However, it was truly a team effort: project management came from Regenerative Medicine’s Managing Commissioning Editor, Adam Price-Evans, and help redefining the terms came from many FSG colleagues as well as a panel of international experts; not to mention the assistance in the Glossary’s production and administration to turn it from simply a list of terms and definitions into a shiny handbook that conference attendees around the world can get their hands on.
Finally, what’s that one special memory from your time as editor that will stay with you?
A memory that stands out was the first time I was at the RegMedNet booth and met a member. Conferences are great experiences and lots of fun for many reasons but standing in an exhibition hall and distilling our rich and varied site into just a few seconds multiple times a day, over 2 or 3 days, can be exhausting. The first time I met someone who was not only a member but could share their positive experience of how useful the newsletters were was fantastic.
Whenever I’ve created content on RegMedNet, I’ve always had the members in mind: is this a topic you care about, what angle can we take that will give you the most insight, what challenges are you facing that we could address? Meeting all of you over the years has been both reassuring and motivating, and I hope you all continue to share your feedback with us in the future!
Have any additional questions about this story? Ask us in the comments, below.
Find out more in these top picks from the Editor:
- Kymriah is first CAR-T therapy to be made available on the NHS
- The Glossary for Cell & Gene Therapy and Regenerative Medicine 2018
- TalkingRegMed Episode 1: Cell therapy for spinal injuries with Lauren Pulling, NeuroCentral