President's Message

Thierry BerneyDear IPITA members,

IPITA has had a busy calendar in the past two years, organizing a range of educational activities beyond our biennial congress and producing a number of documents that we hope will be useful for a variety of actors in the field of beta-cell replacement therapies: scientists, physicians and surgeons, but ultimately and above all for the benefit of our patients suffering from type 1 diabetes.

The year 2017 started with a well-attended and very fruitful Workshop on «Definitions of outcomes for beta-cell replacement therapies in the treatment of diabetes». The meeting was held in Igls, Austria on January 28-29, and co-organized with EPITA, the European Pancreas and Islet Transplant Association, a section of ESOT. The rationale for holding the meeting was based on the observation that pancreas and islet transplantation had developed without a clear definition of graft functional and clinical outcomes. The field clearly needs reproducible and widely applied quantitative criteria in order to assess and compare outcomes. The «Igls criteria» for graft function, and graft success or failure, were defined after in-depth expert discussions by an international panel of opinion leaders. They are detailed in a consensus report jointly published by the journals of both societies: Transplantation and Transplant International1. Check it out, as well as an editorial published on this topic in Diabetologia2.

We traveled to Oxford, UK for the 16th International Congress of IPITA, taking place from June 20-23. Congress co-chairs, Professors Paul Johnson and Peter Friend, and their team organized a truly remarkable meeting in a fantastic environment, and with the typically friendly IPITA atmosphere. A clear creative touch was given to the program, with the will of the organizing committee to explore innovative ways of communicating science in stimulating fashion. To illustrate, 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 great success. Young investigators, a group for whom the IPITA Council would like to dedicate much attention and effort, were offered a program tailored to their needs and by their peers of the IPITA Young Investigator Committee. To conclude on this, highlights included a «Grand Masters» sessions where the trials and experiences of two giants in the field, Sir Roy Calne and Sir Peter Morris, were conveyed to an enthralled audience and the farewell dinner held in Oxfordian splendour at the Balliol College dining hall. Multimedia recordings from the Congress are freely available to our membership on the IPITA website. We have now already started to prepare for the 17th IPITA Congress, that will take place in Lyon, France from July 2-5, 2019 and will be chaired by Professor Xavier Martin. Mark your calenders!

Finally, we are getting ready for our next event, the much awaited Key Opinion Leaders Meeting on Stem Cell Derived Beta Cells. This workshop will take place very soon, in Boston, on May 7-8, 2018 and is organized with the support and active participation of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI). We held a first edition of this workshop in September 2016, an event that was met with a lot of enthusiasm, in particular thanks to a first-class panel of invited lecturers covering a wide range of topics relevant to the field. A report of this cutting-edge meeting will be published in Transplantation soon and you may want to check it out3. The interest generated by the first workshop made it clear that there was a need to reconvene in order to provide, possibly on a regular basis, an update in this fast-moving field. This year, the workshop is open to registered delegates and offers again world-renowned expert speakers presenting highly innovative science and state-of-the-art developments. Capacity is limited, but registration is still available. Registration and full details can be found on the IPITA website.

All these should demonstrate that IPITA has a lot of activities and educational material to offer to its membership. So, please, encourage your colleagues in the field and your trainees to join IPITA and become members, come to Boston for an exciting stem cell workshop and enjoy the starting Spring!

Thierry Berney
IPITA President

  1. Rickels MR et al. Defining outcomes for beta-cell replacement therapies in the treatment of diabetes: a consensus report on the Igls criteria from the IPITA/EPITA opinion leaders workshop.
    Transplantation 2018 ; doi: 10.1097/TP.0000000000002158. Epub ahead of print.
    Transplant Int 2018 ; doi: 10.1111/tri.13138. Epub ahead of print.
  2. Piemonti L et al. Defining outcomes for beta cell replacement therapy: a work in progress.
    Diabetologia 2018 ; doi: 10.1007/s00125-018-4588-0. Epub ahead of print.
  3. Markmann J et al. Report of the key opinion leaders meeting on stem cell-derived beta cells.
    Transplantation 2018 ; in press.