This year marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of the International Xenotransplantation Association. Our 14th biennial Congress, recently held in Baltimore, Maryland, demonstrated the growth and energy within the Association. The meeting brought together a dynamic, influential group of scientists and clinicians whose work will help to set the future of new clinical treatments with the potential to transform modern medicine.
Satellite meetings designed to foster discussion on hot topics saw the participation of a broader audience. The Hyperimmunized/iABO Symposium brought together clinicians and surgeons who are active in the management of sensitized patients as well as those conducting related cutting-edge clinical trials. The Swine in Biomedical Research Conference focused on scientific as well as organizational aspects of generating swine and advancing relevant animal models for biomedical applications, with the participation of entrepreneurs and industry partners.
The FDA/IXA Symposium continued the ongoing dialogue between the xenotransplantation scientific community and the agencies that oversee the regulatory aspects of medical therapies in US. Recent scientific advances and challenges of risk/benefit were discussed in a positive and constructive way. The IXA-Theological Symposium took place to address ethical issues on xenotransplantation from the prospective of three religions (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam). Scientists and clinicians had the opportunity to interact with theologians on the moral duties and responsibilities of conducting novel biomedical research. The ethical groundwork discussed here, no less than the regulatory meetings with the FDA, will become even more prominent as we develop strategies and models that bring xenotransplantation closer to the clinic.
Participation in the combined meetings by these clinicians, scientists, and veterinarians, and their scientific and clinical teams, exposes the benefits of xenotransplantation to a broader group and justifies corporate sponsorship beyond those companies engaged directly in xenotransplantation.
The Congress, chaired by Dr. Richard N. Pierson III, touched on a variety of topics of interest to our members. There were many highpoints, including the touching remembrance by friends and colleagues of the late Dr. David White, whom we honored for his life and significant contributions to the field of xenotransplantation. Honorary membership was awarded to Dr. Megan Sykes in recognition of her long time commitment and major contributions to xenotransplantation. Recipients of this year’s TTS-IXA Scientific Awards were announced. We also welcomed new members to the IXA Council. Opening our doors to be even more inclusive and welcoming, sessions were presented for Women in Transplantation and Young Investigators. We look forward to the energy provided by the young investigators, who were well represented in all sessions, as well as that of our new councilors, to keep the IXA moving toward a bright future.
Under the guidance of Dr. Leo Buhler, our journal, Xenotransplantation, has shown a rising impact factor (3.9), highlighting the importance and interest in our work.
We look forward to the 2018 TTS meeting in Madrid and our next IXA meeting, which will be held in Munich on October 10-13, 2019 (see preview). Even in these times of instant virtual communication, the personal interactions and associations developed at the IXA Congress can be very meaningful and rewarding. Please consider joining us there.
These are truly exciting times to be part of the IXA. All those who have an interest in xenotransplantation are encouraged to become active members of the IXA.
University of Maryland, Baltimore
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Baltimore, Maryland 21201 USA
The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), founded in 1807 along a ridge in what was then called Baltimore Town, was chartered by the State Legislature as a medical school, the nation’s fifth, and the first public School of Medicine. Iconic Davidge Hall (pictured below) opened its doors to medical students in 1813. Today, this 71-acre research and technology complex encompasses 68 buildings in West Baltimore near the Inner Harbor. UMB is the University System of Maryland's professional graduate campus, whose six professional schools and affiliated Graduate School train the majority of the state's physicians, graduate nurses, dentists, lawyers, social workers, and pharmacists. Under the leadership of President Jay A. Perman, MD, the University is a leading partner in the redevelopment of Baltimore’s Westside. The University of Maryland BioPark, which opened in October 2005, promotes collaborative research opportunities and bioscience innovation. Sponsored research totalled $500.9 million in fiscal year 2014. With 6,276 students and 7,375 faculty members and staff, the University is an economic engine that returns more than $15 in economic activity for every $1 of state general funds appropriation. The University community gives more than 2 million hours a year in service to the public.