Since its establishment in the year 2002, the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) has made tremendous efforts in forming annual meetings for stem cell researchers to exchange information, in working with governments to better support our field, and most importantly, in educating the general public about stem cell research and its policies. At the 2012 annual meeting, the ISSCR is now celebrating the 10th anniversary milestone together with growing members of approximately 4000.
As of next year, the ISSCR has a new commander-in-chief. Shinya Yamanaka now holds the presidency and has outlined upcoming priorities of ISSCR. According to his president-elect address, Yamanaka has no intention in “reprograming the ISSCR”, but wants to unite the stem cell research community in “bringing stem cells to clinics.” Finding a new treatment is almost like completing a jigsaw puzzle, says Yamanaka; in order to win the puzzle, Yamanaka asks us to put together a stem cell piece, a DEVELOPMENTal biology piece, a tissue engineering piece, and a pre-clinical study piece. Science pieces alone will not complete the puzzle, says Yamanaka and has emphasized the role of society in finding places for the pieces of ethics, patents, government regulations, and public educations. No player wants a missing/lost piece in a jigsaw puzzle. The president-elect wants us to complete the puzzle and bring stem cells to the patients by following a “mechanism” that consists of annual and regional meetings, online spaces, and published journals. We all hope to see a complete picture of the jigsaw puzzle the next time we meet. Have a safe trip back home everyone.