IPLASS International Stem Cell Society
Message from the new IPLASS President
Building upon our past president’s call of “planting the seed for placenta stem cell research”, I accept the baton in carrying out the duties of the president of IPLASS (2018-2020). Much kudos go to Prof. Ornella Parolini, whose own pioneering research on placenta not only advanced the science, but also laid the foundation of the basic mission of the society, that is to establish mutual interests among scientists while respecting the uniqueness of placenta! The original 14 “seed” scientists of the society were scattered from around the world, but the IPLASS conception brought these seeds together. Almost a decade from its inception, IPLASS epitomizes Prof. Parolini’s vision of the Placenta Tree.
From the initial demand among us to define stem cells harvested from distinct regions of the placenta, such definitions have now been translated into concrete science of placenta stem cell biology and therapeutic applications in both peripheral and central nervous system disorders.
The challenges that we face in placenta stem cell research reflect the current status of stem cell research in general, foremost that the stem cells need to be well-defined and reproducible, and that when contemplating clinical use that the cells are safe and effective in clinically relevant animal models. At the forefront of IPLASS, the society remains a hub for placenta stem cell researchers, although we have regularly reached out to other modest-sized societies such as the Perinatal Stem Cell Society and American Society for Neural Therapy and Repair; indeed, over the years we have been welcomed to hold special symposia during these two societies’ annual meetings. The inclusive nature of our platform has brought our bi-annual meetings to Italy, Austria, Spain, and Saudi Arabia, with the upcoming 2020 meeting planned in Murcia Spain, and my offer to subsequently host the 2022 meeting in the US. Our members hail from the academia, industry, and regulatory sectors, nurturing a multidisciplinary basic science, translational, clinical, and administrative colleagueship necessary to expedite the translation of placenta stem cell products from the laboratory to the clinic.
A good quality of a leader is servitude to the society. I recognize that the future of placenta stem cell research relies heavily on the successful training of our young scientists. To this end, I will work hard on increasing the funding support for travel of our young scientists to attend IPLASS sponsored meetings. Along this line, I will organize mentorship programs for our seasoned investigators to fully maximize their talents by sharing the nuances of manuscript, grant, and patent writing, and entrepreneurship to our junior colleagues. True to its humble beginnings, I will foster IPLASS as a society without borders, allowing our students across the world to visit our laboratories in order to learn and master the skill of placenta stem research. We may have started as one of the smallest seeds among stem cell societies, however, I am confident that as we invest our talents on our young scientists, we will be rewarded multi-fold times with the end goal of introducing to the clinic safe and effective placenta therapeutic stem cells. The ground is fertile, the seed has been planted, a tree has been nourished, and the fresh fruits are ready to be harvested. I welcome the opportunity to serve IPLASS as its new president, and challenge you to be part of the bountiful harvest!
Cesario Borlongan, IPLASS President