The ISC was started by the late Professor Helmut Kuemmerle of Germany in 1959 in a railway station in Geneva, Switzerland. The 1st International Symposium of Chemotherapy was held in Geneva in the same year but it was not until 1961 that the ISC was formally established on the occasion of the 2nd International Symposium of Chemotherapy held in Naples, Italy. The third meeting in Stuttgart in 1963 was renamed the International Congress of Chemotherapy (ICC) and this has remained its title ever since. The congresses have continued to be held every two years; most recent being the 28th ICC held in Japan which was held in collaboration with the Japanese Society of Chemotherapy, the Asia Pacific Society for Microbiology and Infection as well as the Japanese Association of Infectious Diseases.
In 1971, at the 7th ICC held in Prague, the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic presented the ISC with a plaque (top left) to serve as an historic emblem of the society. They proposed that the plaque should be moved from congress to congress and displayed as a perpetual reminder of past congresses and as an inspiration for even better future meetings.
The ISC aims to advance the education and the science of therapy of infection and of cancer through the establishment of an international federation of affiliated national and regional societies with similar aims and objectives to its own. The ISC currently has a worldwide membership composed of 86 national and regional societies, which in turn have over 50,000 individual members. The Member Societies hold their own congresses which are supported by the ISC.
The ISC promotes the conduct of scientific research, convening international congresses, conferences and symposia and encourages co-operation within the society and between scientists belonging to other societies dealing with related basic and clinical sciences. In the last decade, most of the society work has been on antimicrobials.
The ISC currently has 25 Working Groups and actively encourages and/or sponsors the formation of international working groups for special research, training projects or the use of therapeutics in the field of anti-infective therapy and co-ordinating their activities. In addition, the ISC awards scholarships and bursaries to enable attendance at and travel to its international congresses. The Society is governed by its Trustees, Executive Committee and Council which are led by Dr Ian Gould, ISC President. The ISC Council consists of representatives of ISC Member Societies and meets at least every two years during the ICCs.