Gifts to Our Community: The National Stem Cell Foundation
The National Stem Cell Foundation is collaborating to create a better world. This national non-profit organization based in Louisville is making a difference on a global scale by adding its voice to research, education, and advocacy. Dr. Paula Grisanti, one of the founding members and CEO, says, “We partner and collaborate across all three of our pillars to create projects with impact.”
Paula believes that “progress motivates and inspires,” and the foundation’s progress in helping children with limited resources participate in clinical trials for rare diseases is truly inspiring. “Children with rare diseases are oftentimes medically able to participate in clinical trials, but unable to afford the deductible and copays that it takes to participate.” If not for this tremendous program, patients like 3-year-old Meredith, who was diagnosed with metachromatic leukodystrophy (a fatal disorder that affects the protective coating around the nerve cells), would not have received the funding necessary to receive a life-saving cord-blood transplant at age 8.
On the cutting edge of research, Paula is the most excited to be participating in a project for Parkinson’s disease that will be sending research to the International Space Station at the end of 2019. “It’s exciting because it’s never been done before,” Paula says. “We hope to find something new in watching these cells behave in a way that we cannot watch on earth.”
Still creating an opportunity for collaboration, the foundation runs a program that provides advanced training for middle school teachers who can further inspire students who’ve taken an interest in science. “The excitement that these teachers take home and build on lasts for years,” says Paula. That’s exactly what this foundation is keen on building here — a foundation that will last for years to come. “We seek to create more opportunities to help more people.”
P.S. How to calm Parkinson’s disease.