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Yarmuth Delivers $1.6 Million to Fund Groundbreaking Cell Transplant Research at University of Louisville



(Louisville, KY) Today, Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) presented $1.6 million in federal funding to the National Foundation to Support Cell Transplant Research (NFCTR) to support research at the University of Louisville into cell transplant technology and the development of new treatments for conditions such as multiple sclerosis and sickle cell disease.


“The National Foundation to Support Cell Transplant Research is one of the foremost research centers in our country dedicated to advancing life-saving medical research technologies - technologies that are being developed   right here in Louisville,” said Congressman Yarmuth. “I am proud to support their work at University of Louisville ’s Institute of Cellular Therapeutics , as their growth benefits not only patients in Louisville , but the strength of our scientific community and our economy.”


Congressman Yarmuth secured the $1.6 million for the research center in the FY09 Department of Defense Appropriations Bill. The NFCTR will direct the funds to support the research of Dr. Suzanne Ildstad at Institute of Cellular Therapeutics at the University of Louisville .


“This funding is a great example of how public-private partnerships work to fund important research advancements within strong academic institutions,” said Dr. Paula Grisanti, Chair of the NFCTR. “We are very grateful for Congressman John Yarmuth’s efforts to secure these dollars, which will fund Dr. Suzanne Ildstad’s work at the University of Louisville .”


“I cannot thank enough Rep. Yarmuth and the National Foundation to Support Cell Transplant Research for their efforts to provide funding for research at U of L,” said Dr. James Ramsey, President of the University of Louisville . “The efforts of people like Rep. Yarmuth and Dr. Paula Grisanti help researchers like Dr. Ildstad create the results that bring cures to people with what were seemingly incurable diseases.”


The funding will go toward advancing Dr. Ildstad’s research into adult stem cell transplant technology, transitioning the practice from a promising experimental procedure to a routinely applied standard of care treatment for catastrophic injury and loss of tissue. Dr. Ildstad garnered international acclaim for breakthroughs in bone marrow transplant technology that makes it possible to safely transfer marrow from one person to another without life-threatening rejection. Such an advance can help permanently treat or cure auto-immune diseases and blood disorders affecting millions worldwide.


"This funding is critical to the successful translation of basic research into clinical treatments for conditions that include sickle cell disease, thalassemia, multiple sclerosis and rare metabolic disorders in children, in addition to drug-free tolerance for transplanted organs and tissue,” said Dr. Illdstad, Director of the Institute of Cellular Therapeutics. “The potential impact on patients, their families and the Louisville economy is immense.   The ICT is truly grateful to Congressman Yarmuth and the NFCTR for this much needed support.”


“At the UofL Health Sciences Center , we work daily to positively impact people’s lives,” said Dr. Larry Cook, executive vice president for health affairs at the University of Louisville . “We are very thankful to Rep. Yarmuth and Dr. Paula Grisanti and the National Foundation to Support Cell Transplant Research for recognizing the potential impact of the work of Dr.
Ilstadt’s research effort and helping to move her work forward.”


The NFCTR was founded to support adult stem cell research and currently funds initiatives at three different institutions, including the University of Louisville, Northwestern University, and Duke University.

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