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Update from the National Stem Cell Foundation

03rd September 2020

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.

And…they’re back!
The stem cells from our first-in-man research study on the International Space Station have returned to Earth.

After more than a year of testing and preparation with our research teams and space flight provider Space Tango, we launched a first-in-man study of neurodegeneration in micro-gravity to the International Space Station (ISS) National Lab late last year. In a bi-coastal collaboration between NSCF-funded research teams in New York and California, 3-D organoids, developed from the stem cells of patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and primary progressive MS (PPMS), were launched aboard SpaceX 19 to the ISS National Lab on December 5, 2019. Without the effects of gravity, cell interactions can be observed in a way not possible on Earth, opening the door to new discoveries that might change thinking in a field of study. Our collaborative team is working on a project to advance new therapies for PD and PPMS that may also impact neurodegenerative diseases that include ALS, Alzheimer’s and multiple rare childhood disorders.

The organoids, alive and well, splashed down on January 7, 2020 (photo above). A second launch in 2021 will take discoveries made back to the ISS for confirmation and additional research.

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Meet our 2020 National STEM Scholars

2020 marks the fifth anniversary of our National STEM Scholar Program, a professional development program for middle school science teachers inspiring the next generation of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) pioneers nationwide. Developed in partnership with The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science at Western Kentucky University (WKU), we now have 49 STEM Scholars representing middle schools in 26 states; 8 are in Kentucky.

Our 2020 National STEM Scholar class was hosted by Gatton Academy August 4-9 on the WKU campus in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Selected from approximately 200 applicants across the country, the 2020 National STEM Scholars are:

Allison Bogart, Lake Isabella, CA – Woodrow W. Wallace Middle
Tammy Bartlett, Dinwiddie, VA – Dinwiddie Middle School
Jennifer Durham, Elizabeth City, NC – River Road Middle School
Erin Elliott, Panama City Beach, FL – Surfside Middle School
Amanda Huff, Hopkinsville, KY – Christian County Middle School
Rob Jackson, Topeka, KS – Seaman Middle School
Larisa Leap, Carrollton, KY – Carroll County Middle School
Katie Lee, McKinney, TX – Dr. Jack Cockrill Middle School
Patrick Marti, Seattle, WA – Villa Academy

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100 and counting: Patient Advocacy Program funds 100+ children in clinical trials

Our Patient Advocacy Fund (PAF) has now helped more than 100 children like Kelvin (above) and Noah (right) participate in clinical trials for rare diseases and childhood cancers.

In partnership with the Pediatric Blood & Marrow Transplant (PBMT) program at Duke University, the PAF covers insurance deductibles and co-pays for children medically eligible to participate in potentially life-saving clinical trials when those out-of-pocket costs are sometimes out of reach. We give eligible families the financial relief they need to focus on their children, not insurmountable bills.

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On Thursday, September 17 we’ll be participating in Give for Good, Louisville’s Day of Giving. Together, we are advancing stem cell research, investing in STEM education, and connecting children in need to clinical trials for rare diseases.

Mark your calendars or follow us on social media for reminders.

The National Stem Cell Foundation (NSCF) is a Louisville, Kentucky nonprofit that focuses on research, advocacy and education. NSCF funds adult stem cell and regenerative medicine research, connects children with limited resources to clinical trials for rare diseases, and sponsors a professional development program for middle school science teachers inspiring the next generation of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) pioneers nationwide. We build collaborations, form strategic partnerships and leverage our relationships across all three platforms to solve problems and magnify impact.