International Pancreas and Islet Transplantation Association Update

Delegates at the recently held 16th IPITA Congress in Oxford were greeted by an unusually warm weather, which brought a summery feel to a wonderful scientific program.

The Congress truly was an event where interaction and networking were a permanent concern. Sessions were organized to bring together the beta cell replacement communities, rather than sending them to the usual separate pancreas and islet break-out rooms. This was exemplified in the pre-meeting symposium, in which the challenges of hypoxia and ischemia in pancreas and islet transplantation were discussed as a common transversal topic. Pre-meeting symposia were also held for our Young Investigator and Allied Health Professional groups, and organized by them on their topics of interest and with their preferred format.

Format was given a clear creative touch, with the will of the organizing committee to explore innovative ways of communicating science in stimulating fashion. The opening session was held as a kind of “talk show”, addressing the strengths and weaknesses, challenges and opportunities, the field of beta cell replacement therapies has to face. A “Dragon’s Den” session, in which 3 scientists had to convince 4 merciless “dragons” of the superiority of their “out-of-the-box” ideas, was a tremendous success. Audience participation in both these sessions demonstrated the value of exploring novel formats, without of course losing substance in favor of style.

Cutting-edge science was also presented by invited lecturers and abstracts presenters in more traditional formats. But tradition was brought to its utmost the last evening of the congress, in a farewell dinner held in Oxfordian splendour at the Balliol College dining hall, in a setting very much reminiscent of the final scenes of Harry Potter movies.

The IPITA Council sends its warm thanks and congratulations to our hosts, Congress co-chairs Paul Johnson and Peter Friend, for having offered a truly remarkable and stimulating meeting in a fantastic environment, and with the typically friendly IPITA atmosphere.