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May 21, 2015

ISEV 2015 Washington DC was a huge success!

The annual ISEV event was held at the Bethesda North Marriott hotel near Washington DC on April 23-26th. A total of 780 participants attended the meeting, and as many as 487 abstracts were submitted!


Left: Washington DC Capitol Building. Photo taken from Right: ISEV 2015 Round-table discussion on Thursday April 23rd. From the left: Moderator Matthew Herper of Forbes, NIH director Dr. Francis Collins, Nobel Laureate Dr. James Rothman, Dr. Alan Sachs, the CSO of Thermo Fisher Scientific, Dr. Xandra Breakefield of Harvard and Dr. Lötvall, President of ISEV. Photo: Beate Vestad.


A joint Educational Day was held prior to the ISEV meeting on April 22th, gathering 400 participants from the community. This year the meeting was organized by Dr. Ken Witwer for the ISEV and Dr. Christopher Austen, Director of the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, and was co-hosted by the ISEV and the NIH Extracellular RNA Communication Consortium (ERCC). The main theme of the meeting was "RNA Diversity in extracellular vesicles". 

During the official meeting, a total of four excellent plenary speakers contributed to the scientific program with great force. The 2013 Nobel Laureate James Rothman, Ph.D., from Yale University has been largely recognized for his "discoveries on the machinery regulating vesicle traffic, a major transport system in our cells", together with fellow leureates Randy W. Schekman and Thomas C. Südhof. Dr. Rothman held a lecture on the principles of vesicle transport and membrane fusion. The NIH director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., was also a huge attraction for many of this year´s meeting participants, giving a talk on "Nurturing innovative science at NIH".  Xandra O. Breakefield, Ph.D., Mass General Hospital and Harvard University, and a world-leading authority on primary brain tumors, as well as exosomes, presented Friday morning a talk on “The Evil Little Things about Cancer EVs As Infiltrators and Informants”. On the final day, Gary Ruvkun, Ph.D., a molecular biologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, adressed “The Tiny RNA Pathways of C. Elegans”.



Left: Dr. James Rothman. Mid-left: Dr. Francis Collins. Mid-right: Dr. Xandra Breakefield. Right: Dr. Gary Rudkun.


On the first day of the ISEV meeting, a 30-minute round-table discussion (photo above) was held among Dr. James Rothman, Dr Francis Collins, Dr. Jan Lötvall, President of the ISEV, Dr. Xandra Breakefield of Harvard University, and Dr. Alan Sachs, the CSO at Thermo-Fischer Scientific. The experts discussed the great need for increased standardization in EV research and how the community should drive the further progress in the field, considering the many benefits vesicles may offer mankind in a myriad of ways in the future.

A “wrap-up” of the basic science research presented during the entire meeting was given by Andy Hill, Ph.D., Professor and Department Head at the La Trobe Institute for Molecular Sciences at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. Dr. Hill highlighted a number of areas of specific interest, including EV biogenesis, isolation and characterization of EVs/exosomes, vesicle labeling, imaging (including super-resolution, confocal, intravital, and EM microscopy), nomenclature, and transcriptomics/RNA analysis. Louise Laurent, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), gave a wrap-up from a clinical perspective. Dr. Laurent outlined where we are today, which is at the stage of discovering new EV biomarkers and determining their mechanisms, and where we are going in the future, which is in the direction of identifying druggable targets that might be EV-based and enable further development of personalized medicine. She emphasized the importance of collaborations and reciprocal communication in order to achieve clinical progress within the EV field. Dr. Laurent also highlighted the needs for increased standardization and concern for reproducibility, and she emphasized that early involvement with regulatory bodies is another critical factor in advancing research into the clinic.

Finally, we would like to highlight a quote taken from Dr. Francis Collins' talk Thursday April 23rd - ”Not failure, but low aim, is a crime” (poet James Russell Lowell), implicating a high aim for those studying in the field of extracellular vesicles.


Sources: The scientific program of ISEV2015 and

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