The society was originally called the International Society of Chemotherapy for Infection and Cancer (ISC). The idea for the society was conceived 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 to date. The congresses have continued to be held every two years.

Although intrinsically linked in the early years, the specialties of antimicrobial and anti-cancer chemotherapy have diverged and become independent specialties in their own right. Over time, the society oriented towards antimicrobial rather than anti-cancer chemotherapy. With this in mind, the society’s Executive Committee initiated a strategy review exercise in consultation with its Member Societies and this took place from 2016 – 2017. The review process resulted in a new name for the society: International Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (ISAC), reflecting the focus of the society. The biennial congress will therefore be called the International Congress of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy going forward.

ISAC aims to advance the education and the science of therapy of infection through the establishment of an international federation of affiliated national and regional societies with similar aims and objectives to its own. ISAC currently has a worldwide membership composed of 86 Member Societies, which in turn have over 50,000 individual members.

The Society is governed by its Executive Officers, Executive Committee and Council. ISAC Council consists of the Executive Committee and representatives of ISAC Member Societies and meets at least every two years during the society’s biennial congress.