Progress in growth factor research
From a small beginning 21 years ago, the investigation of the insulin-like growth factor binding proteins (IGFBPs) has grown to occupy a major part of the research on the insulin-like growth factors (IGFs). A single abstract at the Endocrine Society in 1974 has grown into a torrent of more than 1400 papers published in the past two decades, and more than 200 in the past year alone. Instead of one possible binding protein for somatomedin we now have seven members of a homologous protein family that was completely uncharacterized only a decade ago. The Third International Symposium on IGF Binding Proteins clearly marked a milestone in the development of this field of research. Concentrated on the three days of this meeting was a rich collection of 50 oral presentations and 89 posters. The quality and breadth of the presentations proved that not only is research on the IGFBPs vigorous and healthy, but it is clearly dealing with important scientific issues. The publication of this collection of papers from the Third International Symposium on IGF Binding Proteins serves as a roadmap for where this field of research is now, and the likely direction for developments as we approach the third millennium.