ESCCA is a scientific society founded to ensure the continuation of the activities of the European Working Group on Clinical Cell Analysis (EWGCCA).
EWGCCA was formed in 1996 with a Biomed-2 grant in order to establish collaboration between sixteen European centres that use and develop flow cytometric applications mainly for clinical purposes.
Since 1996 EWGCCA has organised very successful annual European Courses and Euroconferences aimed at the standardisation, validation and dissemination of flow cytometric know-how and its implementation in clinical laboratories. The Courses and Conferences have included presentations by high-profile speakers from the USA.
The successful EC-funded multicentre Eurostandards project, concluded in 2004, was one of EWGCCA’s major achievements. It generated a number of technical guidelines on cell subset identification and absolute counting, stem cell enumeration and subsetting, the control of the leukoreduction of blood products, micro-bead-based flow cytometric analysis, HLA-tetramer analysis and the validation of stabilised blood products. Many highly cited scientific papers were also published.
The rationale for the transformation from EWGCCA to ESCCA was that EWGCCA was a foundation that did not allow personal membership. Since it was fully established as a scientific society in 2006, ESCCA has had an Executive Board, elected every three years by its active members, and has continued and expanded the original scope of EWGCCA. This has made it possible for all interested scientists and operators to join.
The annual ESCCA European Courses now rank among the world’s largest educational events in flow cytometry. Despite the number of places for participants being increased every year, some courses are sold out months in advance. The annual ESCCA Euroconferences are usually organised in co-operation with the national cytometric society in the country in which the event will take place. This system has proved very successful as it allows cytometry users in the different European countries to both enjoy high-profile lectures from top-class international speakers and have an opportunity to present their scientific contributions to a wide and composite international audience.
The partnership with the International Clinical Cytometry Society (ICCS), which has resulted in Clinical Cytometry (Cytometry Part B) becoming the common official Journal, has further increased ESCCA’s international visibility.
The ESCCA Manual on “Flow Cytometry of Hematological Malignancies”, by Claudio Ortolani, published by Wiley-Blackwell in 2011, forms a cornerstone of ESCCA’s continuing efforts to disseminate knowledge related to flow cytometry applications and to provide users with high-quality reference texts and guidelines.
Many initiatives aimed at establishing a common European flow cytometry teaching programme for first level operators and diagnostic interpretation, promoting and disseminating the use of validated and standardised procedures and promoting quality issues in all aspects of clinical cell analysis are still in the pipeline.
Our growing number of Members and the wide range of nationalities represented by participants in ESCCA initiatives is the best indicator of our Society’s viability and international renown.