The birth of IGIS

By Prof Erol Cerasi, Israel

The birth of IGISMany investigators like myself have been convinced for a very long time that without deranged insulin secretion hyperglycemia cannot develop. Thus, the ß-cell is at the core of the problem, and therefore it is obvious that much more research is needed on the normal and diseased islet if we wish to fully understand the pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes and identify more efficient therapeutic approaches. But this would require a greater awareness of the role of the ß-cell in type 2 diabetes in order to attract more investigators to the field, which also must be accompanied by greater awareness from the part of public and private agencies to finance a larger volume of research. How can such a goal be achieved?

With this background in mind, discussions were initiated during late 1997 and early 1998 between myself, and Drs Christine Nathan and Didier Halimi, then at the Division of International Scientific Communication (CSI) at Servier. The following ideas were generated:

  • First, it had to be acknowledged that the number of talented scientists in the field of diabetes is not unlimited; therefore, to draw the existing scientists into insulin secretion/islet biology and recruit new talent into the area, the topic must be put into the front line of attention by attractive and sophisticated means.
  • Second, any action, whatever its nature, must have continuity in time; the arena of diabetes is replete with symposia, monographs, books, not to mention journal articles: addition of a solitary symposium or congress session or any other one-time event would be a drop in the ocean and lack any possibility of having the desired impact.
  • Third, the proper vehicle to coordinate the activities would be the creation of some form of “Insulin Secretion Club,” steered by a small committee composed of very senior scientists in the field of diabetes, with obvious emphasis on insulin secretion/islet biology.
  • Finally, it was suggested that the main activity of the group would be to plan a series of yearly symposia of the highest possible quality, which would analyze in depth front-line issues in the field of insulin secretion/islet biology within a small forum, in an exceptional environment; in other words, these meetings would be a yearly occurring highly exclusive event in the diabetes world.

Photo credits: IDRS Metabolism Diseases