The IPITA is just back from Boston, where we held a high-profile key opinion leader meeting on Stem cell-derived beta cells. The meeting took place at Harvard Medical School from September 18-20, and was jointly organized by IPITA, JDRF, the Helmsley Charitable Trust and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. Jon Odorico and James Markman, the current President and Secretary of IPITA, designed an intense scientific program; twenty-nine invited speakers addressed the two-day meeting, which was attended by 75 invited participants, including 4 young investigators awarded with a competitive travel grant.
The sessions comprised of invited lectures and panel discussions on a variety of topics related to stem cell therapy for type 1 diabetes. After a kick-off state-of-the-art session on beta cell differentiation, topics including functional assessment, genetic engineering and its hazards, immune responses, and transplant sites were addressed during the first day. On the second day, encapsulation technologies and animal models were discussed, before concluding the meeting with two sessions reviewing the regulatory issues and clinical targets.
The meeting comprehensively covered all aspects, issues, tools and perspectives of stem-cell derived therapy for type 1 diabetes. The high standard of the invited lectures was matched by the very active participation of the delegates and the lively and in-depth discussions between the floor and the podium. The meeting brilliantly succeeded in bringing together a wide spectrum of stakeholders in the field and in providing a unique forum for exchanging ideas and fostering collaboration. Recordings of many of the presentations will son be available to IPITA and TTS members on the IPITA website.