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Update from the National Stem Cell Foundation – March 2021

11th March 2021

Updates on the National Stem Cell Foundation and the researchers, partners and supporters who help advance our mission. Together, we are advancing stem cell research, investing in STEM education, and connecting children in need to clinical trials for rare diseases.

Dr. Jeanne Loring Elected to AIMBE College of Fellows

Congratulations to our Senior Scientific Advisor, Dr. Jeanne Loring, for her election to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows! AIMBE Fellows are selected by their peers for their distinguished contributions in the fields of research, industry, clinical practice and education.

The College of Fellows is comprised of the top 2% of medical and biological engineers in the country, and includes the most accomplished and distinguished engineering and medical school chairs, research directors, professors, innovators and successful biotech entrepreneurs in the U.S.

Dr. Loring, a world-renowned stem cell scientist, is Professor Emeritus and Founding Director of The Center for Regenerative Medicine at Scripps Research. See information below about her work with the San Diego Zoo to save the northern white rhino from extinction.

Click here to learn more about The Frozen Zoo and efforts to save the northern white rhino.

Introducing the STEM Scholar Library

Since we founded the National STEM Scholar Program in 2015, 49 middle school science teachers representing middle schools in 26 states have been selected to participate in this prestigious program’s week of advanced STEM training, national network building and project development on the campus of Gatton Academy at Western Kentucky University. The 2021 STEM Scholar class will be named later this month. Each year, 10 middle school science teachers are selected from a national pool of applicants based solely on the description of a classroom Challenge Project they would implement if funds were available. Project development and implementation costs are covered by the program.

In the face of a national pandemic and evolving education environment, school districts across the nation are relying on virtual learning – and to date, resources for virtual science instruction are limited. Thanks to generous support from Samtec Cares and the Old National Bank Foundation, NSCF is launching the STEM Scholar Library, a digital/video library of STEM Scholar Challenge Projects and ancillary science lessons made available and shared online free of charge for parents, students and teachers in virtual or traditional classrooms worldwide.

With the high-quality instructional materials our Scholars have already developed and our pipeline for robust new content every year, the STEM Scholar Library will dramatically increase the National STEM Scholar Program’s reach and impact. Stay tuned as we develop this new resource for virtual or traditional instruction.

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NSCF Advocates for Umbilical Cord Banking Options for Kentucky

Umbilical cord blood stem cells are used to treat more than 80 diseases, including multiple rare genetic disorders and pediatric cancers. Collected after a baby is born and the umbilical cord has been cut, they can be saved for your family or donated to a public cord blood bank. If you can’t afford or don’t wish to save your baby’s cord blood stem cells, you can donate them to a public cord blood bank at no cost to you or your family.

Donating your baby’s cord blood adds to the registry of cord blood cells that may save a child’s life. It’s the equivalent of registering these potentially life-saving cells with the national bone marrow registry; they will be available to the families of other children who need to find a bone marrow match after a devastating diagnosis. Without information and education, however, 95% of all cord blood is discarded as medical waste.

Right now, there is no public cord banking option in Kentucky or many other states, although public cord blood banking is highly recommended by both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Medical Association (AMA). There are fewer than 25 public or private/public cord blood banks in the U.S., many limited to specific geographic areas.

As part of our advocacy efforts, we are leveraging our long-standing relationship with world-renowned cord blood expert Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg, Director of Duke University’s Division of Pediatric Transplant and Cellular Therapy (PTCT) and the Carolinas Cord Blood Bank (CCBB), to create a path forward for training hospitals who wish to bank cells for Kentucky families. CCBB is one of the largest public cord blood banks in the world.

Click here to read a recently published article from our CEO, Dr. Paula Grisanti, on this important initiative: Expectant parents need to know the benefits of cord blood banking (