The study of Innate Lymphoid Cells (ILCs) is a strong emergent field in immunology that is having a major impact on our understanding of the early events unfolding during an immune response. While subsets of ILCs (NK cells, LTi cells) have been recognized for more than 10 years, the realization that ILCs constitute a larger family that mirrors the activity of differentiated T cells has only become apparent in the last few years. ILCs have now been shown to regulate defenses to infections, wound healing, allergy and adaptive immunity through their prompt reactivity to tissue infection and injury. Thus harnessing the activity of ILCs may lead to improved immunotherapy and vaccines, an expectation that is reflected in the growing number of high impact papers published in top-tier journals and of teams investigating ILC biology worldwide.
It appears therefore well timed to organize the first international meeting on ILCs next year in order to gather all major players in the field and discuss recent advances and visions, as well as to reconvene this meeting every 2-3 years in order to monitor progress and re-assess the larger picture in ILC research.