2011

06
Dec 2011
Share This
0 Comments

“The Story of Two Scientists Who Discovered Stem Cells”

Posted by

From CBC’s “The Current”

“It was one of those Sundays, where one scientist was spelling off the other, checking the lab mice in a project that was all about using radiation for cancer treatment.…

From CBC’s “The Current”

“It was one of those Sundays, where one scientist was spelling off the other, checking the lab mice in a project that was all about using radiation for cancer treatment. So imagine their surprise when the two scientists realized what was really happening to those mice. They were growing stem cells. The year was 1960. The scientists were right here in Canada. Today, the story of James Till and Ernest McCulloch, two of Canada’s most accomplished and least heralded scientists.”

Click here to listen to the full interview that Anna Maria Tremonti conducted with Dr. James Till and Joe Sornberger, author of “Dreams & Due Diligence”.

Click to read more Close
03
Dec 2011
Share This
0 Comments

Jim Till & Joe Sornberger on CBC’s “The Current”

Posted by

Host of “The Current”, Anna Maria Tremonti

This coming Tuesday (December 6th), tune in to CBC’s The Current as Anna Maria Tremonti sits down for a candid conversation with Dr.

Host of “The Current”, Anna Maria Tremonti

This coming Tuesday (December 6th), tune in to CBC’s The Current as Anna Maria Tremonti sits down for a candid conversation with Dr. Jim Till and Joe Sornberger.

Together, they will share their thoughts about the new book, Dreams & Due Diligence, that has been written by Joe Sornberger and published by UofT Press.

The Current is a meeting place of perspectives, ideas and voices, with a fresh take on issues that affect Canadians today. The program brings new insight to stories that Canadians are talking about now, and uncovers stories they’ll be talking about next week and next year.

Take the time to listen in on their candid and thoughtful conversation about Canada’s 50 year stem cell legacy, the impact it has had, and what the future holds.

The program will air Tuesday, December 6th between 8:30-9:30 am and will be re-broadcast that evening. You will also be able to download the podcast from The Current’swebsite.

Click to read more Close
30
Nov 2011
Share This
0 Comments

Charting the Future

Posted by

Today, Dr. Michael Rudnicki of the Sprott Centre for Stem Cell Research and Dr. Peter Zandstra who is a Canada Research Chair in Stem Cell Bioengineering were featured in the Globe and Mail for their roles in charting the future of regenerative medicine.

Today, Dr. Michael Rudnicki of the Sprott Centre for Stem Cell Research and Dr. Peter Zandstra who is a Canada Research Chair in Stem Cell Bioengineering were featured in the Globe and Mail for their roles in charting the future of regenerative medicine.

Dr. Michael Rudnicki in his regenerative medicine lab at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute’s Sprott Centre for Stem Cell Research. Photo Dwayne Brown/Ottawa Hospital

In describing his work related to the growth and repair of normal muscles, Dr. Rudnicki says, “What we’re doing is harnessing the stem cells that remain in our body to behave as if they’re in a young individual. We want to stimulate the intrinsic repair processes that are already there, but have become quite dormant as we age.”

Stem cells are already used in therapies such as bone-marrow transplants and cartilage repair, though many future opportunities have been identified where stem cells can be used.

Dr. Zandstra sums up the commitment and focus of Canada’s stem cells nicely: “What we all hope is that there will be new curative treatments for debilitating diseases.”

You can read the full article here.

Click to read more Close
28
Nov 2011
Share This
0 Comments

You’re Invited!

Posted by

We all have our own ways of celebrating things — and the university students at OCAD in Toronto have put their artistic talents to work in a new exhibition called GRAFT, as they celebrate the 50th anniversary of the discovery of stem cells.…

We all have our own ways of celebrating things — and the university students at OCAD in Toronto have put their artistic talents to work in a new exhibition called GRAFT, as they celebrate the 50th anniversary of the discovery of stem cells.

Inspired by this landmark research, the array of creative interpretations featured in the exhibit explore the intersection of art and science as part of the project initiated by the Ontario Science Centre and developed in collaboration with the Stem Cell Network.

The exhibit is behind held at the Textile Museum of Canada from December 3, 2011 to January 22, 2012.

You’re invited to the Opening Reception on Friday December 9th from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the Textile Museum. Come celebrate with us! Find out more here.

Click to read more Close
22
Nov 2011
Share This
0 Comments

“Till on the Hill”

Posted by

Dr. James Till, who discovered stem cells with Dr. Ernest McCulloch 50 years ago, is being celebrated on Parliament Hill today.…

Dr. James Till, who discovered stem cells with Dr. Ernest McCulloch 50 years ago, is being celebrated on Parliament Hill today.

The event was initiated by Liberal MP Kirsty Duncan who represents Etobicoke North. Earlier this year Kirsty Duncan stood in the House of Commons to urge Canada Post to issue a stamp honouring Till and McCulloch for their landmark discovery.

According to the Montreal Gazette, the “celebratory appearance on Parliament Hill this week and a new book paying tribute to James Till’s achievements as a global pioneer in stem-cell science could help position the renowned medical researcher for an honour that eluded his fellow Canadian collaborator, the late Ernest McCulloch: a Nobel Prize.”

“The Parliament Hill tribute, the new book, the push to win him Nobel recognition — Till appreciates it all, he said in an interview on Monday, ‘but it’s not for such awards and prizes that either of us got into science. We got into it to do things, and we were lucky enough to accomplish that.’

“Till acknowledged that ‘it would be an honour’ if the Nobel committee eventually recognized the Canadian discovery with its prestigious award. But other top science awards have already been won, he said, ‘and we have a legacy of academic descendants that I’m very proud of’ — scores of leading researchers around the world, all searching for cures or unravelling fresh mysteries of the human body by building on Till and McCulloch’s seminal discovery from a half-century ago.”

Read the full coverage here.

Click to read more Close
13
Oct 2011
Share This
0 Comments

Making History

Posted by

50 years ago, Canadian scientists Jim Till and Ernest McCulloch made history. Their discovery of stem cells opened up an entirely new field of biomedical science — and it first started in Toronto at the Princess Margaret Hospital.…

50 years ago, Canadian scientists Jim Till and Ernest McCulloch made history. Their discovery of stem cells opened up an entirely new field of biomedical science — and it first started in Toronto at the Princess Margaret Hospital.

Tonight we are returning home to the Princess Margaret Hospital for the official launch of the new book Dreams & Due Diligence: Till & McCulloch’s Stem Cell Discovery & Legacy.

Author Joe Sornberger will have a conversation with one of the heroes of his groundbreaking new book, Dr. James Till, and Dr. Michael Rudnicki, Scientific Director of the Stem Cell Network and Director of the Sprott Centre for Stem Cell Research. Moderated by Dr. Kirsty Duncan (MP for Etobicoke North and member of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health), they will speak candidly about how the discovery was made, how this important field of science has grown, Canada’s international strength, and what the future may hold.

We’re proud to be presenting this historical evening with the University of Toronto Press in the very building where Till and McCulloch made their revolutionary stem cell discovery.

Click to read more Close
13
Oct 2011
Share This
0 Comments

It Begins With Leadership

Posted by

If you are one of the thousands who signed the Stem Cell Charter, you showed your leadership and commitment to seeing this important field continue to progress.…

If you are one of the thousands who signed the Stem Cell Charter, you showed your leadership and commitment to seeing this important field continue to progress. Your leadership is being joined by others.

Today, we’re thrilled to share with you that Dr. Alan Bernstein has been appointed Chair of our Board of Directors (something you will read about soon in the national newspapers).

Dr. Bernstein was the founding President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and led the transformation in how health research is organized and funded in Canada. More recently, he was the inaugural Executive Director of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise in New York, responsible for the 2010 Scientific Strategic Plan for HIV vaccine development, and facilitating and integrating the activities of the Enterprise’s partners.

Dr. Bernstein is recognized internationally as both a respected scientist with over 200 peer-reviewed scientific publications, and as an accomplished leader. His contributions to science have been recognized by many awards including the McLaughlin Medal of the Royal Society of Canada, the Robert L. Noble Prize from the National Cancer Institute of Canada, the Genetics Society of Canada Award of Excellence, and many others including the Order of Canada in 2002.

Upon accepting the role of Chair of the Board of Directors, Dr. Bernstein noted that there are few areas of health research that are as exciting and that hold as much potential for human health and disease as stem cells. In working with the Board and the leadership team, Dr. Bernstein believes that the Foundation has a great story to tell that will excite leading Canadians, policy makers, and the public about the importance of stem cell research.

Board of Directors

Dr. Bernstein is joined on the Board by Canadians who have demonstrated their commitment to research and ensuring Canada’s stem cell future.

  • Honourable A. Anne McLellan — Senior Partner, Bennett Jones, Corporate Director Nexen, Cameco, and Agrium. Former Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and Minister of Health.
  • Dr. Martha C. Piper — Corporate Director for the Bank of Montreal, TransAlta, and Shoppers Drug Mart. Former President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of British Columbia.
  • Dr. Samuel Weiss — Chair of the Foundation’s Science Leadership Council, Director of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, and 2008 recipient of the Gairdner International Award.
  • Dr. Allen Eaves — Founder, President & CEO of STEMCELL Technologies, Founder of the Terry Fox Laboratory for Hematology/Oncology Research.
  • Mr. David W. Hughes — President & CEO of Pathways to Education Canada and former President & CEO of Habitat for Humanity Canada.
  • Mr. Andrew Lyall — Executive Director of the Stem Cell Network and Chair of the Steering Committee of the International Consortium of Stem Cell Networks.

President’s Advisory Council

Complementing the Board is the President’s Advisory Council. These leaders are nationally recognized for bringing major initiatives to life in both the private and public sectors. The President’s Advisory Council includes:

  • Mr. Peter Bentley — Former Chair and CEO of Canfor, Former Chancellor of the University of Northern British Columbia
  • Mr. Charlie Fischer — Former Chair and CEO of Nexen, Former Vice-Chair of the Board of Governors for the University of Calgary
  • Mr. Eric Newell — Former Chair and CEO of Syncrude, Former Chancellor of the University of Alberta
  • Mr. Allan Taylor — Former Chair and CEO of the Royal Bank of Canada
  • Mr. Milton Wong — Former Chair of HSBC Asset Management, Former Chancellor of Simon Fraser University

Science Leadership Council

In addition to the Board and the President’s Advisory Council, the Foundation has also established the Science Leadership Council that is comprised of leading stem cell scientists including:

  • Dr. Samuel Weiss — Director of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, University of Calgary (Chair)
  • Dr. Tim Caufield — Director of the Health Law Institute, University of Alberta
  • Dr. Connie Eaves — VP Research at the BC Cancer Agency, Vancouver
  • Dr. Gordon Keller — Director of the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine, Toronto
  • Dr. Janet Rossant — Chief of Research at the Hospital for Sick Kids, Toronto
  • Dr. Michael Rudnicki — Director of the Sprott Centre for Stem Cell Research, Ottawa
  • Dr. Guy Sauvageau — Director of the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer, University of Montreal

We hope that you will celebrate as their commitment to the Foundation joins yours. And we hope that you will continue to support them as you have supported us.

Click to read more Close
13
Oct 2011
Share This
0 Comments

Meet Joe Sornberger

Posted by

We’ve shared a great deal with you about the book Dreams & Due Diligence: Till & McCulloch’s Stem Cell Discovery & Legacy over the last several months.…

We’ve shared a great deal with you about the book Dreams & Due Diligence: Till & McCulloch’s Stem Cell Discovery & Legacy over the last several months. But you may not have had a chance to find out about the book’s author: Joe Sornberger.

Joe has written extensive on the topic of stem cell science — he’s as knowledgeable as he is passionate. We posed a few questions to Joe so you could get to know him a bit better. Here are a few of his thoughts.

What is the most important message you want readers to take away from Dreams & Due Diligence?

“The thing that I’m probably most passionate about is to simply get the story out. The discovery of stem cells by two Canadian researchers is something that should be as familiar as the Banting and Best breakthrough — but somehow isn’t. To me, that is a huge oversight. I want people — Canadians particularly — to be proud of this. We celebrate our hockey players and performing artists but tend to give short shrift to our outstanding scientists whose work saves lives.”

This is very much the untold story of the discovery of stem cells. What surprised you most?

“The major surprise was how remarkably different Till and McCulloch were in every possible way. They were polar opposites, with different approaches to work, entirely different histories, different tastes and vastly different attitudes. They were fated to be either the best of friends or the worst of enemies. Turns out it was the former. It was a case of one person having the qualities that the other lacked — and each person realizing that. The whole truly was greater than the sum of the parts.

“The other big surprise was how keen people were to talk about Till and McCulloch. When I mentioned their names and said that I was doing a book about them, doors suddenly opened, telephone messages were quickly returned and emails were rapidly replied to. Some of the biggest brains in the medical science business took the time to talk. Tak Mak — easily one of the most important cancer researchers in the world — chatted to me for well over an hour. John Dick, who will have books written about him someday soon, shared large chunks of his time. Connie Eaves put herself at my disposal and gave marvellously thoughtful, insightful answers. Irving Weissman at Stanford was extremely helpful. So was Sir John Bell at Oxford. The upshot is: Till and McCulloch are held in very high regard in the medical science community.”

What was the single best moment you had while interviewing the many people you reached out to?

“I can’t limit it to one. One of the early high points was when I received a handwritten note from Dr. McCulloch, who was very frail and in failing health, agreeing to do interviews for the book. I knew he was not well and I had faced the prospect of taking on the project without being able to talk to him. So it was a great moment when he agreed to participate. My other great McCulloch moment came when I interviewed him at his bedside in the nursing home a couple of months before his death. We were chatting and he said something to the effect of: ‘I hope you’re not going to make too big a thing about this. Don’t mythologize us.’ His point, I think was that he and Dr. Till were just two guys working away at something they loved and felt passionate about.

“My other high point occurred at the U of T Archives. I was there with Dr. Till and we were frustrated because we couldn’t find the prep notes from the original 1961 discovery. He was pretty sure he and Dr. McCulloch had tossed them out. When I looked disappointed Dr. Till, this great man who really ought to have a Nobel Prize on his bookshelf, actually apologized, saying, ‘At the time, you don’t think you’re going to be doing anything historic.’

“One other high point. I needed to get a sense of Dr. McCulloch’s impact on Princess Margaret Hospital’s pioneering bone marrow transplantation program. Dr. Hans Messner, who McCulloch recruited right out of school from Germany and eventually ran the program, set it all out for me, explaining exactly how McCulloch created it and drove it. That program has saved something like 2,000 lives. And McCulloch made it happen.”

“Sornberger’s crackling, personal and insightful narrative successfully captures their individual characters, their contribution and its reverberations today. A wonderful read for those interested in understanding the beginnings of this most exciting and promising field of biomedical science.”

~ Norman N. Iscove, Senior Scientist, The Ontario Cancer Institute,
University Health Network, and Professor, Departments of
Medical Biophysics and Immunology, University of Toronto

Joe has written a beautiful book about an important Canadian story. We hope you’ll make time to read it soon.

Click to read more Close
03
Oct 2011
Share This
0 Comments

“Dreams & Due Diligence” released at World Stem Cell Summit

Posted by

As the World Stem Cell Summit kicks off today in Pasadena, California, we’re proud to announce the release of the new book “Dreams & Due Diligence: Till & McCulloch’s Stem Cell Discovery & Legacy” that tells the untold story of the discovery of stem cells.…

As the World Stem Cell Summit kicks off today in Pasadena, California, we’re proud to announce the release of the new book “Dreams & Due Diligence: Till & McCulloch’s Stem Cell Discovery & Legacy” that tells the untold story of the discovery of stem cells.

“The enormous international effort that we see today all goes back to the discovery made 50 years ago by Canadian scientists Till & McCulloch,” says Bernard Siegel, Chair of the World Stem Cell Summit.

Dreams & Due Diligence vivdly chronicles the work of these two researchers who made medical history — two men who possessed exactly the right complementary talents to achieve greatness and win nearly every award available in medical research.

Bringing their legacy to life for the first time, author Joe Sornberger provides a dramatic account of the development of stem cell research, one of today’s most groundbreaking medical scientific fields.

Click to read more Close
25
Aug 2011
Share This
0 Comments

One more reason to celebrate!

Posted by

This is a time of great celebration for stem cell science. You already know that this year and next we are marking the 50th anniversary of the discovery of stem cells by Canadian scientists Jim Till and Ernest McCulloch.…

This is a time of great celebration for stem cell science. You already know that this year and next we are marking the 50th anniversary of the discovery of stem cells by Canadian scientists Jim Till and Ernest McCulloch.

But the icing on the cake—so to speak—is that today is also the 80th birthday of Jim Till.

Those who know him well always speak of the clarity of his thinking and that he is a man of principle. We’ve had the benefit of working closely with Dr. Till (he was a founding Board Member of the Foundation) and can attest to the strength of his character, his insight, and his generosity.

Jim, Happy birthday!

(To find out more about the lives, impact, and discoveries of Drs. Till & McCulloch, click here.)

Click to read more Close
14
Jul 2011
Share This
0 Comments

“It will transform the way we treat many human diseases.” ~Martha Piper

Posted by

Dr. Martha Piper

One of Canada’s leading educators and an Officer of the Order of Canada, Dr. Martha Piper said the realization that the science of stem cells is “not well known and not well understood by the public at large” led her to join the Board of Directors of the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation.…

Dr. Martha Piper

One of Canada’s leading educators and an Officer of the Order of Canada, Dr. Martha Piper said the realization that the science of stem cells is “not well known and not well understood by the public at large” led her to join the Board of Directors of the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation. “I absolutely see the need for an association that makes the case to the public and policy makers about the absolutely critical nature of this science.”

“I personally believe that the discovery of stem cells 50 years ago in Canada is one of the most singularly important scientific advances of the 20th century and now the 21st century. It will transform the way we treat many human diseases. And it has the maple leaf right on top of it.”

It’s also a pity, she contends, that more Canadians aren’t aware that the existence of stem cells was proved here in Canada in 1961 by Drs. James Edgar Till and Ernest Armstrong McCulloch, who went on to lead the field in its early days and establish a critical mass of excellent researchers across Canada.

“When you think about science, it really is an international game that knows no geographic boundaries. But we have a few – not many but a few – claims that are Canadian. This is one of them – and it’s a big one.”

What’s your reason for supporting stem cell science?

(Excerpted from an interview conducted by Joe Sornberger for an article on the Foundation in the annual report of the Stem Cell Network)

Click to read more Close
15
Jun 2011
Share This
0 Comments

Join Stem Cell City

Posted by

This morning we attended the exciting launch of the “Stem Cell City”.

This new website provides a window into the tremendous stem cell research being conducted by the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine as part of their “accelerated discovery” program.…

This morning we attended the exciting launch of the “Stem Cell City”.

This new website provides a window into the tremendous stem cell research being conducted by the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine as part of their “accelerated discovery” program.

“The McEwen Centre is one of the leading stem cell research centres in Canada and the world,” said James Price, President and CEO of the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation. “The launch of their new website serves as an excellent tool for engaging the public in understanding stem cell science and the tremendous progress taking place at the Centre.”

To join the Stem Cell City community, view the moving video featuring Lisa Ray, and stay informed about the latest discoveries in the field, go to www.joinstemcellcity.com and sign up.

Click to read more Close
26
May 2011
Share This
0 Comments

Till & McCulloch Book Now Available for Advance Order

Posted by

This is an exciting year. 50 years ago, Canadian scientists Jim Till and Ernest McCulloch discovered stem cells. Since then, their discovery has been helping to unlock treatments that have saved thousands of lives—and this is just the beginning.…

This is an exciting year. 50 years ago, Canadian scientists Jim Till and Ernest McCulloch discovered stem cells. Since then, their discovery has been helping to unlock treatments that have saved thousands of lives—and this is just the beginning.

But while many of us are aware of the importance of stem cells, we don’t all know the story behind the men that discovered them—so we thought we would help.

The Canadian Stem Cell Foundation commissioned noted stem cell author Joe Sornberger to literally “write the book” on the discovery of stem cells. And we’re thrilled to tell you that it’s done (and it’s great). In fact, the book is so good  that the University of Toronto Press has gotten involved and will be publishing it this fall. The Stem Cell Network provided valuable support and several SCN scientists were interviewed.

“This is the story of a discovery that spawned history-making changes in medicine and medical practice. This is the story of two men, as different as chalk and cheese, who shared a passion for scientific research and a dogged desire to succeed. They just happened to have exactly the right complementary talents to accomplish great things together. The whole truly was more than the sum of the parts.

It’s a great story that, until now, has remained untold.”

~ Excerpt from the Till & McCulloch book 

To celebrate, we’re offering you the chance to get your hands on a copy of the book before anyone else. We will have a limited number of copies that will be autographed by the author and made available to you.

As part of our community, you have privileged access to pre-order your book now. For a contribution of $50 (in celebration of the 50th anniversary) you will receive an autographed first copy of the  book and a charitable tax receipt for $32.

This is an important book. Shaped by interviews with more than 50 scientists, advocates, patients and research leaders, it does more than tell us the story behind the discovery. It tells us the story behind the men that made it.  It’s this up-close and personal look that makes the book so engaging.  The Till & McCulloch book also helps us understand where we are today, and what the future holds.

It’s our collective commitment that will define the next 50 years. As you pre-order your copy of the book, I encourage you to think about how you can continue to support stem cell science.

Thank you for your support,

 James Price
President & CEO of the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation.

Click to read more Close
26
May 2011
Share This
0 Comments

The Untold Story of Till & McCulloch is Out

Posted by

“Sornberger’s crackling, personal and insightful narrative successfully captures their individual characters, their contribution and its reverberations today. A wonderful read for those interested in understanding the beginnings of this most exciting and promising field of biomedical science.”

~Norman N.

“Sornberger’s crackling, personal and insightful narrative successfully captures their individual characters, their contribution and its reverberations today. A wonderful read for those interested in understanding the beginnings of this most exciting and promising field of biomedical science.”

~Norman N. Iscove, Senior Scientist, The Ontario Cancer Institute, University Health Network

Order your autographed copy of the new book now.

For a contribution of $50 (in celebration of the 50th anniversary) you will receive an autographed first copy of the book and a charitable tax receipt for $32.

Click to read more Close
31
Jan 2011
Share This
0 Comments

This is Your Year to Shine

Posted by

50 years already!

2011 marks the 50th anniversary of the discovery of stem cells — a discovery recognized by many as one of the most significant breakthroughs in medicine in a century.…

50 years already!

2011 marks the 50th anniversary of the discovery of stem cells — a discovery recognized by many as one of the most significant breakthroughs in medicine in a century.

And it all started in Canada.

In fact, it was on this day, February 1, 1961, that Canadian scientists Drs. Till & McCulloch first published their ground-breaking findings in the journal Radiation Research that set in motion a series of scientific discoveries around the world that continue to transform how we care for the people we love that face chronic illness and injuries.Stem Cell 50 Logo

This is something we should be extraordinarily proud of — something you should be extraordinarily proud of. And we have a few things to help you celebrate.

  • Click here to download a 50th anniversary email footer and help the world celebrate this discovery with you.
  • Have a blog or a website? Add this special 50th anniversary image and help bring awareness to this important discovery.
  • Give many presentations? If so, we’ve created a slide you can use to celebrate the anniversary. Feel free to use it as often as you like.
  • Have a Facebook page? (Of course you do.) Change your image to this 50th anniversary logo.

This is the beginning of an exciting year. A year when we look back in awe of how far we’ve come since stem cells were first discovered. A year when we look foward to the breakthroughs that will emerge in the next 50 years. A year that we put our collective effort into supporing Canada’s extraordinary strength in stem cell science.

Click to read more Close
31
Jan 2011
Share This
0 Comments

We’re Counting on You

Posted by

We’ve been counting the number of people who have signed the Stem Cell Charter and the number keeps going up. And you’re likely one of them.…

We’ve been counting the number of people who have signed the Stem Cell Charter and the number keeps going up. And you’re likely one of them.

When you signed, you demonstrated your commitment to advancing stem cell science and ultimately helping people facing chronic disease. Perhaps people you know and care about; people who are part of your family; a close friend; someone who helped shape who you are.

When you signed, you said “Count me in — I support stem cell science”, and you joined many others.

This year, we’re counting on you to continue to show your support. We’re counting on you to share the Charter with people you know; people you think will understand why this is so important. We’re counting on you to join the other voices who are saying “We need to do more, faster”.

We’re counting on you to get involved.

This year, of all years, is the time to put your commitment into action. Here are two things you can do right now:

  1. “Cell” a friend. Encourage a family member, friend, or colleague to sign the Stem Cell Charter. Just click here and follow the instructions.
  2. Forward this Newsletter to someone you think should know more about the importance of stem cell science. Just click here.
Click to read more Close
31
Jan 2011
Share This
0 Comments

We Want to Let You in on a Little Secret

Posted by

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the discovery of stem cells, we commissioned a book. A book that tells the story of how Drs.…

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the discovery of stem cells, we commissioned a book. A book that tells the story of how Drs. Till & McCulloch discovered stem cells, the impact they’ve had, and what the future holds.

We asked Joe Sornberger — who has written more on the subject than just about anyone we know — to write a book that tells the human story behind the discovery and the science. And he’s almost done!

Later this year, we will be releasing the book to the general public (with much fanfare, as you might expect). But you’re not the general public. And so we have something a little different — and a little more special — in mind for you.

To find out, “Like” our Facebook page and you’ll get the inside scoop — we will be cracking open the book just a little for you, before anyone else gets to see inside.

Click to read more Close
31
Jan 2011
Share This
0 Comments

A Sneak Peek

Posted by

This is going to be a great year and we have lots of surprises in store for you. We’re not going to give you all the details right now (that would take the fun out of it) but here are a few things to watch for.…

This is going to be a great year and we have lots of surprises in store for you. We’re not going to give you all the details right now (that would take the fun out of it) but here are a few things to watch for.

  • Soon we’ll be launching a new awareness campaign to get everyone excited and engaged in the 50th anniversary.
  • Watch for our special “50 Reasons” posts on our blog. We’ll be asking people to tell us why stem cells matter (in 50 words or less). We’d love to hear your reason.
  • We have some very special events planned. (After all, it wouldn’t be a celebration without a party.) Events that will help Canadians understand why stem cells are so important.
  • And to make things even more fun, we’ll be running a contest or two with some pretty wonderful prizes — we think you’ll be surprised.
  • Finally, we’ll be establishing a “Stem Cell 50 Ambassador” program and asking you to get involved. It will be easy, fun, and — make no mistake — very important.

 Let’s make this a year that we will all be proud of.

Click to read more Close
21
Jan 2011
Share This
0 Comments

A tribute to Ernest McCulloch (1926-2011)

Posted by

The first time I met Dr. Ernest Armstrong “Bun” McCulloch in 2004 he looked every inch the professor emeritus in a slightly rumpled tweed jacket worn over a white shirt, an Order of Canada pin tucked in his lapel. …

The first time I met Dr. Ernest Armstrong “Bun” McCulloch in 2004 he looked every inch the professor emeritus in a slightly rumpled tweed jacket worn over a white shirt, an Order of Canada pin tucked in his lapel.  He was, by turns, charming, irascible, wonderfully patient,  intellectually intimidating and not a little bit puzzling. 

We talked in his cluttered office at Princess Margaret Hospital, amid his books and papers.  A small man, though not thin, he had a hawk-like  presence, as if he was watching over the interview, letting moments of silence pass while I scribbled answers and he waited to pounce on an idea that struck his interest.

And what interests. Conversing as easily about Shakespeare as stem cells, he seemed to care as much about literature as the leukemia research he so passionately pursued throughout his career. He had opinions on everything from hockey (he didn’t see the point of it) to religion (couldn’t imagine a god with narrow views about right and wrong) to renewable energy sources (felt the world must stop using fossil fuels). He was, as the people in Boston like to say, wicked smart.

In the fall, when I last saw Doctor McCulloch (he was always doctor to me; I did not feel comfortable with the pet name Bun that his colleagues delighted in using)  he was sitting on the bed of his Bloor Street retirement suite where he and his wife Ona had moved after their health began to betray them.  He had been napping but was happy to talk about any subject at hand, from family history (illustrated by references to the portraits on the wall)  to Anthony Trollope’s novels. Now a frail man who had difficulty walking, he could still run mental circles around most ordinary mortals without breaking a sweat. He did, however, tire  easily. After about a half an hour, it was time to go.

The news of his death shouldn’t have stunned me, but it did. Even in his weakened physical condition, he was of a force, a presence.

He has certainly been a presence in my life this past year as I worked to capture the essence of the man for a book about him and his long-time partner and friend, Dr. James Edgar Till, and their discovery of stem cells. Over the year, I have interviewed well over 50 people on the subject of Ernest McCulloch and have been fascinated by the admiration they felt for him. I talked to people – very, very smart people – who crossed oceans for the opportunity to work with him at the Ontario Cancer Institute. I listened to researchers say they would take a bullet for the man, that he was like a father to them, that he had shown faith in them when others had scoffed at work that would later prove to be ground-breaking. Not surprising, then, he inspired a sense of loyalty from those who worked with him that was no less impressive than his staggering intellect.

He was, they said, as out-of-the-box a thinker as ever put on a lab coat. He had more ideas in a day than most people could come up with in a year.  Some of them he abandoned moments after he expressed them. Others became the basis of important discoveries. He saw connections no one else could make. He knew, one leading cancer researcher explained, exactly the right question to ask, exactly the right experiment to do next, exactly how to move the science forward.

He did not, I was told, suffer fools gladly. He could forget to say thank you. He would chew on a stick of chalk while figuring out complicated questions. He could drop arcane references into scientific arguments, befuddling his listeners and making them wonder if he was serious or just having them on. He was, to many, an enigma wrapped in a cardigan.

He was kind. He warmly welcomed colleagues to his cottage. A private-school boy who came from Old Toronto privilege, he felt immigration was the best thing that ever happened to his city, transforming it from a mean-spirited narrow-view town to a cosmopolitan centre.  He  liked martinis. He adored his wife, Ona.

He was, quite simply, an amazing human being with an astounding intellectual sparkle. To talk to McCulloch was to be in the presence of genius.

By Joe Sornberger, Friend of the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation and Author of a 50th anniversary commemorative book to be released later this year on Till & McCulloch and the impact of their discovery.

Click to read more Close
21
Jan 2011
Share This
0 Comments

A very sad loss – Stem Cell Pioneer Ernest A. McCulloch passes away

Posted by

It is with great sadness that we honour the life and extraordinary contributions of Dr. Ernest “Bun” McCulloch who passed away on Thursday, January 20th, 2011.…

It is with great sadness that we honour the life and extraordinary contributions of Dr. Ernest “Bun” McCulloch who passed away on Thursday, January 20th, 2011.

Dr. McCulloch, along with his close friend and colleague, Dr. James Till, was a pioneer in the field of stem cell research. In fact, 2011 marks the 50th anniversary of the discovery of stem cells by Drs. Till & McCulloch—a Canadian discovery of which we should all be very proud.

The legacy of this work has led to extraordinary advances in the field of medicine and how we treat disease. Stem cell science is already transforming how we care for people facing chronic diseases and its potential is only just being realized. The years ahead hold tremendous promise in how we heal those we love.

Scientists around the world can trace their “lineage” to Dr. McCulloch, and as their work progresses, so too does his influence.

We extend our warmth and sympathy to his family and many friends and colleagues. We recognize the impact Dr. McCulloch made during his lifetime, as well as the many impacts that are still to come as a result of his work.

Click to read more Close
Back to Top