IDS-7, March 28-31, 2005 in Cambridge, UK, looms large and triggers my third peri-meeting report. Don’t be misled, however, into thinking that nothing happens between reports. The IDS website hums away daily transacting IDS affairs.
As my three-year term is due to expire shortly, I’d like to first take this opportunity to express my gratitude to some of the people who make your Society work. Having mentioned the website, I should first thank Catherine O’Shea, who has spent many hours constructing and then maintaining the new website. Most of us will agree that this active website is a big plus. I’ve worked with two IDS Secretaries, Des Schatz and, more recently, Carla Greenbaum, who are smart and dedicated individuals, and friends. They are the types of people that the viability of the Society depends on. Membership subscriptions increased substantially when Des was Secretary, and should continue to increase as more researchers appreciate the value of the Society. Carla is a dynamo who will ensure this happens. The IDS is the only international group devoted to the study of the immunology of diabetes. I strongly encourage you to enroll your colleagues and students; it’s a very cost-effective subscription that can be taken out via a form downloaded from the website for up to three years in advance. During my term, Mikael Knip took over the important job of Treasurer, one that is not always as simple as it appears, and which he has done splendidly.
In addition to these Executive Officers, I’d like to express my thanks to the following people: George Eisenbarth and his committee for IDS-6 in Copper Mountain; Edwin Gale and his committee for the forthcoming IDS-7 in Cambridge; Polly Bingley, Ezio Bonifacio and Pat Müller for sustaining the work of the Diabetes Autoantibody Standardisation Program (DASP) ; Mark Peakman for heading the T-cell Workshop ; David Harlan for heading the Transplant Group ; Matthias von Herrath for representing the IDS within FOCIS (the Federation of Clinical Immunological Societies); Carla Greenbaum for heading the Immunology of Diabetes Intervention Group (IDIG) ; and Francesco Dotta and Spiros Fourlanos for drafting a report on Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults (soon to be released on the website for comment). In addition to the latter, Carla Greenbaum and I, with input from many of you, published Guidelines for Intervention Trials in Subjects with Newly-diagnosed Type 1 Diabetes on behalf of the IDS (Diabetes 52:1059-65, 2003). Another draft paper, ‘Guidelines for Prevention Trials in Subjects At-risk for Type 1 Diabetes’ is in preparation. In regard to IDS-7, we should be grateful to Mark Atkinson for his efforts on our behalf to obtain a significant grant from the JDRF. I would also like to thank the new Executive Vice-President of Research for the JDRF, Dick Insel, for his support and encouragement. We will have the opportunity to interact further with Dick and his team in Cambridge.
A source of ongoing frustration for me, and I’m sure many members of the IDS, is the slow progress with T-cell assays. We are still a long way off the standardisation that we achieved with autoantibody assays. There are of course intrinsic biologic, as well as technical, reasons for this. Nevertheless, progress is being made by individual labs within the IDS, as we will hear in Cambridge.
Finally, to IDS-8 . Toshiaki Hanafusa and Tetsuro Kobayashi and their organising committee are well-advanced with planning IDS-8 in Awaji Island, October 11-14, 2005. The information is on the website. After IDS-6 in Copper Mountain, we voted by email for future meeting sites. Although meetings have been rotated through different continents, there is actually no formal directive in our By-Laws about this, but it was a tradition that many felt strongly about. More than 150 members voted - for Australia, Japan and Canada (Vancouver), in that order. Japan was ready and strongly committed, and had made a formal offer at IDS-6. We expect to have a very successful meeting there. In the meantime, we look forward to good science and good fellowship in Cambridge.