Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy (ACGT) Introduces New Board Members David Darst and Alexandra Landes

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Darst and Landes – both of whom lost mothers to cancer – will connect with a younger demographic.

Pictured: Alexandra Landes (left) and David Darst.

Together, David and Alexandra will help to further introduce ACGT’s mission to younger supporters and advocates.

Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy, Inc. (ACGT) – the nation’s only nonprofit dedicated exclusively to cell and gene therapies for cancer – has announced that David Darst and Alexandra Landes have joined the foundation’s Board of Directors. Both Darst and Landes lost their mothers to cancer and share a commitment to uncovering innovative methods for treating cancer with reduced side-effects.

ACGT is based in Stamford, CT and funds top physicians and researchers at medical institutions in the US and Canada. The foundation supports a number of gene therapy treatments including immunotherapy, which activates patients’ own immune systems to battle cancerous cells. Recently, the FDA granted “fast-track status” to an immunotherapy treatment for leukemia for which ACGT provided early funding. ACGT has given almost $25 million in grants to researchers since its founding in 2001 by Barbara Netter and her late husband, Edward.

David Darst, a 32-year-old New York City resident, is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Business School. Darst has held positions with Pfizer, Orbimed Advisors, and a slate of other companies that are working to develop and finance new drugs in the biotech industry. Darst is currently the CEO at Rgenix, Inc., where he leads the company’s drug development initiatives and fundraising activities. He is also the co-founder and former Executive Vice President and Director of Potentia Pharmaceuticals, a biotech that achieved breakthroughs in treating age-related macular degeneration.

“I was impressed by the quality of the science funded by ACGT, and its positive impact on cancer patients' lives,” Darst said. “It's an organization I know well, as my mother, Diane W. Darst, was a founding Director. I look forward to serving on its Board and continuing to help fund promising gene therapy research by leading young academic investigators.”

Alexandra Landes, a 28-year-old Pacific Palisades, CA resident, is a graduate of Tufts University. Landes is Executive Director of Wendy Walk, a national nonprofit named for her late mother that has raised $2 million since 2010 to combat Liposarcoma. Landes is an accomplished development professional who has held leadership and board positions at the Metropolitan Council, Seeds of Peace, and the NYC Public Advocates Office.

“Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy’s goal of making cancer a treatable, manageable disease is so compelling,” Landes said. “Our current options for battling cancer take a distressing toll on patients – it’s encouraging to know less harrowing methods are becoming available.”

“David has that rare expertise of identifying how new, creative treatments dovetail with financing and fundraising,” said Barbara Netter, Co-Founder and President of ACGT. “Alexandra has a deep commitment to the cause, and a profound understanding of how immunotherapy can revolutionize the way we treat cancer. Together, David and Alexandra will help to further introduce ACGT’s mission to younger supporters and advocates.”

About Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy (ACGT)
Established in 2001, ACGT ( is the nation’s only not-for-profit exclusively dedicated to cell and gene therapy treatments for all types of cancer. One-hundred percent of contributions go directly to research. ACGT has funded 44 grants in the U.S. and Canada since its founding in 2001 by Barbara Netter and her late husband, Edward, to conduct and accelerate critically needed innovative research. ACGT’s Scientific Advisory Council, comprised of 16 of the nation’s most distinguished physicians and researchers in cell and gene therapy, thoroughly review all grants. Since its inception, ACGT has awarded 29 grants to Young Investigators and 15 grants to Clinical Investigators, totaling $24.7 million in funding. Barbara Netter, as President, together with other members of the Board of Directors, are fully committed to ACGT’s continued support of this research. ACGT is located at 96 Cummings Point Road, Stamford, CT 06902.

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Kevin Zawacki
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