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Safely Transplanting Bone Marrow

Simultaneous stem cell and kidney transplant for drug-free transplant tolerance

University of Louisville
Louisville, KY Dr. Suzanne Ildstad

In Kentucky, the National Stem Cell Foundation partnered with the U.S. Department of Defense to help support the work of Dr. Suzanne Ildstad at the Institute for Cellular Therapeutics (ICT), University of Louisville.

Her research identified a novel cell in bone marrow that makes it possible to safely transplant bone marrow stem cells from one person to another without life-threatening rejection, even when donor and recipient are not a genetic match.

This “mini” bone marrow transplant builds a platform to permanently treat or cure autoimmune diseases and genetic disorders affecting many millions of people worldwide – and eliminates the need for anti-rejection drugs following organ transplantation.


Suzanne T. Ildstad, M.D., is CEO of Regenerex, LLC, Director of the Institute for Cellular Therapeutics (ICT), Jewish Hospital Distinguished Professor of Transplantation, and Professor of Surgery at the University of Louisville. Dr. Ildstad received her medical degree from the Mayo Medical School followed by a residency in general surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Ildstad completed a medical staff fellowship in transplantation immunology at the National Institutes of Health, where she, together with Dr. David Sachs, established the model for mixed hematopoietic chimerism.

From 1986 – 1988, Dr. Ildstad was a Clinical Fellow in Pediatric Surgery at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Dr. Ildstad then joined the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh in 1988 in Pediatric Surgery. In 1992, she became the Co-Director of the Cell Transplant Facility, Division of Transplant at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Ildstad was recruited to Allegheny University of the Health Sciences in Philadelphia in 1996 where she first established the Institute for Cellular Therapeutics.

ICT is a multidisciplinary translational research program focused on the development of novel cell-based therapies for the treatment of diseases. In 1998, the Institute relocated to the University of Louisville in Kentucky.

Dr. Ildstad’s research on mixed chimerism to induce tolerance to organ allografts and treat nonmalignant diseases such as sickle cell anemia and autoimmune disorders is currently being applied in numerous U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved translational clinical trials, including kidney tolerance, sickle cell disease, and inherited metabolic disorders.