The National Foundation to Support Cell Transplant Research (NFCTR) has been awarded a $1.6 million in federal support for research and clinical trials it is funding at the University of Louisville. Congressman John Yarmuth (D-3rd District) secured the funds to support cell transplant technologies developed by Dr. Suzanne Ildstad and the Institute for Cellular Therapeutics at U of L as part of the 2009 US Department of Defense Appropriations Bill.

Dr. Ildstad’s research, now in clinical trials at the University of Louisville, Duke University and Northwestern University, may make it possible to perform complex tissue transplants without the need for anti-rejection medication in the treatment of catastrophic burn and blast injuries. The research is also being applied in new treatments for autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and inherited disorders such as sickle cell disease and thalassemia.

“The NFCTR is one of the foremost research centers dedicated to advancing life-saving medical research technologies… technologies that are being developed right here in Louisville,” Yarmuth noted.

Translating scientific discoveries into clinical treatments is expensive, and there is often a gap in funding for early stage clinical trials. “We work to fund that gap,” states Dr. Paula Grisanti, Chair of the NFCTR. “We also support patients participating in early stage clinical trials who might otherwise need to fund their participation out of pocket.”

“We are a national non-profit foundation that raises funds to support adult stem cell research… and this appropriation is a great example of how public-nonprofit partnerships can work together to fund important medical research,” Dr. Grisanti adds. “We are very grateful to Congressman Yarmuth for his instrumental assistance in securing these federal funds in support of Dr. Ildstad’s research.”

Formed in 2005, the NFCTR was established to support peer-reviewed research and early stage clinical trials in the field of adult stem cell transplantation.