In September of 1991, an International Conference on mesothelioma was held in Paris (1). This was the first conference devoted to the biology and pathology of mesothelial cells. Studies of mesothelioma in the past having mainly addressed the relationship with asbestos exposure, this meeting intended to bring together specialists interested in the clinical, biological and epidemiological aspects of malignant mesothelioma, independently of the context of asbestos-related problems. During that conference, a group of medical scientists from different countries met and suggested the formation of an “International Mesothelioma Interest Group” to improve communication and collaboration among workers interested in this disease. The proposal was made by Bruce Robinson and Philippe Chahinian at the end of the meeting and the decision was unanimous. IMIG was founded.
The aims of the group were (2):
– To hold an international mesothelioma conference on alternate years, alternating between Europe and USA, generally as a satellite to either the respiratory or cancer research meetings on either continent.
– To improve collaboration by generating a list of available resources such as cell lines, monoclonal antibodies, probes etc. as well as making available a list of current research projects and other laboratory techniques that might facilitate collaboration.
– To produce a newsletter for members on a regular basis.
– To foster international interest groups to address specific issues of importance, e.g. early diagnosis, thoracoscopy, comparison of national mesothelioma registers etc.
(1) Intl Conference on Mesothelial cell and mesothelioma. Past, present and future”. MC Jaurand, J Bignon and P Brochard Eds Eur Respir Rev vol 3, Review N°11, 1993.
(2) MC Jaurand and J Bignon. Focus on mesothelioma and the mesothelial cell. Eur Respir Journal. 6: 319-321, 1993.