You may have caught the Google banner on November 14th, celebrating Fred Banting’s 125th birthday. Banting and Best in Professor Macleod’s lab at the University of Toronto in 1921made the seminal discovery of insulin by first ligating the pancreatic duct to eliminate acinar tissue from the pancreas which was probably inhibiting the isolation of the hormone because the enzymes were digesting it!
November 14th was also World Diabetes Day! If you are like me, you missed this primarily because we spend most of our working lives immersed in trying to care for patients with diabetes in the clinic and/or cure diabetes in the lab.
Finally, Dec 17, 2016 was the 50th anniversary of the first successful pancreas transplantation in humans performed by Walter Kelly and Richard Lillehei in 1966 at the University of Minnesota. So, as our diabetic patients are enjoying holiday treats this season, they can be thankful for the work of these pioneers, many years ago, who forged a new frontier in the treatment of diabetes.
Now, for a few updates about Council activities…. In September, IPITA co-sponsored a Key Opinion Leaders meeting in Boston with the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and JDRF/Helmsley Charitable Trust on Stem-Cell Derived Beta Cells. It was a fabulous workshop with many outstanding speakers covering a range of topics. Many speaker’s presentations are available for viewing by members for free in the members only education library on the IPITA website and you can review a summary of the meeting in the upcoming issue of the American Journal of Transplantation, AJT Report.Given the enthusiasm for the meeting and its overall success, IPITA intends to host another Opinion Leaders meeting expanding on this topic.
On January 28-29, 2017, IPITA will co-sponsor a workshop on Defining Beta Cell Graft Function/Failure in conjunction with EPITA, the European Pancreas and Islet Transplant Association of ESOT at their annual meeting in Igls, Austria. This topic is particularly important and timely as our field needs reproducible and consistently applied quantitative criteria defining success and failure of different beta cell replacement therapies, be it islet transplantation or pancreas transplantation currently, or xenotransplantation and stem-cell transplantation in the future. This meeting in open to any who wish to attend. Please visit the EPITA conference website for more information about the Defining Beta Cell Graft Function/Failure Workshop.
Simultaneously with all of this conference activity, Paul Johnson and the Local Organizing Committee are hard at work planning the 16th IPITA Congress in Oxford, UK from June 20-23 2017. I have no doubt this will be one of the most memorable meetings to date, with superb cutting edge science, several outstanding networking social events and a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit the historic and beautiful city of Oxford. You won’t want to miss it! Please visit the Congress website, www.ipita2017.org for more information, and begin preparing your abstracts for submission! The abstract submission deadline is Feb 6th, 2017.
Happy Holidays and best wishes for academic and personal success in 2017!
Jon S. Odorico - IPITA President