The Future Is Now

  • 9 March, 2022
Melissa Little We’ve seen some extraordinary stem cell advances reaching the clinic. A recent clinical trial could have a significant impact on patients with Type 1 diabetes. Advances in cell therapy for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, and a stem cell-derived model that has enabled researchers to identify drug candidates that may slow dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD). These are only a few of the potential ways stem cell science is positioned to make significant impact on the treatment of devastating diseases.

It should come as no surprise that as basic stem cell science is translated to the clinic, the breadth of our scientific programming and the needs of our global society are evolving. The ISSCR first and foremost represents basic researchers, who comprise the majority of our members and remain central to our mission. Though as more of our science moves into clinical application, the society has an ever-expanding role to play.

The ISSCR already hosts the enormously popular Workshop for Clinical Translation the day before the start of the Annual Meeting. This year’s theme, How to Make Clinically Successful Cell Therapies, reflects the acceleration of our field into therapies for patients. Further, we have organized our Annual Meeting around scientific themes for this meeting for the third year. These tracks are intended to facilitate connections with scientists who share similar research interests. Clinical Applications is one of those themes, and we’ll have concurrent track sessions as well as two Plenary Sessions aligned with the theme: Plenary II: Pushing the Boundaries in Stem Cell Therapy and Regeneration and Plenary VII: Cell and Gene Therapy in the Clinic.

As we increase scientific programming in clinical application, the society also has invested in an ongoing commitment to guide complex manufacturing topics in stem cell science. We have merged some committee activities and developed an expanded scope for the new Manufacturing, Clinical Translation, and Industry Committee. This group of academic and industry scientists will oversee the ISSCR’s regulatory advocacy on cell manufacturing and clinical translation. Already integral in our late December FDA Liaison Meeting, the work of this committee is important as we see our field accelerating.

It is indeed a pivotal time for stem cell science. We celebrate our 20th anniversary this year and have potentially game changing therapeutic advances within close reach. Join us at the ISSCR Annual Meeting in June as we explore the wonder of new discoveries in stem cell biology and discuss the clinical advances that make our field the truly most exciting in science today.