|Kurt Gunter MD, FASCPISCT President 2012-2014|
It is difficult to believe ISCT is approaching our 20thAnnual Meeting. Considering the volume and diversity of activity in ISCT, at times it feels like we are a “startup” society. Perhaps that reflects the state of the field of cell therapy, which is ever changing and continually expanding. Regardless of the scientific and medical advances, our mission remains constant: to drive the translation of all cellular therapies for the benefit of patients worldwide.
ISCT’s international footprint continues to grow. We were initially conceived as an international society, but our membership was primarily North American and to a lesser extent European. Following last year’s successful annual meeting in New Zealand, we are working to build membership in the rest of the world, including Asia, Australia-New Zealand and South/Central America. Our annual meeting in Paris, celebrating our 20th annual meeting milestone, illustrates our commitment to international growth.
I hope you will join me and all our ISCT colleagues in Paris to share, learn, make new friends and catch up with colleagues. We have a very sensational program planned and our Organizing Committee has been hard at work. I would like to thank the Organizing Committee Chairs (Emily Culme-Seymour, Martin Hildebrandt and Luc Sensebe), and all members of the Organizing Committee for their diligence and commitment in preparing for the meeting. Their biggest challenge has been fitting in all of the exciting work currently ongoing in our field into a busy four-day meeting.
We have plenary sessions planned covering topics such as gene modified cell therapy, neurological disorders, cardiovascular disease, immunotherapy, tissue engineering and others. The oral abstract sessions emphasize the very best science at the meeting, and the poster sessions generate the informal exchanges that will stimulate the concepts leading to cell therapy advances. In addition, we will have workshops covering a diversity of topics, a strong commercial track and a very deep quality and operations track. If that is not enough, if you want to spend an extra day in Paris (and who would not?), I hope you have a chance to attend the preconference workshops on “Global Regulatory Perspectives”, outstanding corporate symposia and FACT training.
Finally and most importantly, we are going to have some fun! We have an electrifying gala planned and I am sure that you will have no problem finding some outside social activities in Paris, although I hope you do not miss any sessions! In closing, I am looking forward to seeing you in Paris as we work together to achieve the ISCT vision to be the global leader in the delivery of safe and effective cellular therapies to improve patients’ lives.
Kurt Gunter, MD, FASCP
ISCT President 2012 – 2014