Funds from the CIRM grant were used to hold the 14th World Congress of the International Pancreas & Islet Transplant Association (IPITA) 2013 on September 24-27 in Monterey, California. This conference provided an opportunity for young physicians and scientists to meet colleagues and discuss the evolving options for beta cell replacement for the treatment of diabetes mellitus. Over 300 high quality abstracts covering strategies for beta cell replacement were presented, as well as numerous state of the art lectures by leaders in the field.
Three broad aims for this Congress were established and met, namely: 1) to increase the collaboration between the whole pancreas and islet transplant communities; 2) to encourage and mentor students, trainees, and young scientists / clinician scientists to engage in research relevant to beta-cell replacement; and 3) to recognize the many different scientists and clinicians who have shaped IPITA over the past 25 years. There was a plenary session dedicated to stem cell derived beta cells, both embryonic and IPS. Several CIRM invited investigators were speakers in the plenary session, including Matthias Hebrok, Jeffrey Bluestone, and Peter Stock.
Away from the scientific program, a reception to mark the 25th Anniversary of IPITA was held on September 25th and provided an opportunity for to honor the founding members of IPITA and the first IPITA Council, followed by a networking event on Monterey Beach specifically for students, trainees, and their mentors. Finally, the highlight of the social program was the Gala Event held at the world-renowned Monterey Aquarium.