Black Icons in Science

Molecular biologist Reginald Smith talks stem cell research, becoming a thought leader

to present an effective source of donor cells even without a complete donor-recipient match.

One drawback with umbilical cord stem cells is that the yield from one cord is typically only sufficient to transplants for a child (the cells are administered according to body weight).  We are pursuing approaches which can multiply the number of cells obtained from one cord to yield quantities sufficient to transplants for adults as well. Such technologies will ultimately improve the chances of sickle cell patients finding a match and to successfully come through a transplant procedure.

Where do you see your industry going in the next five years?

Interest in and funding for cellular therapies will continue to grow rapidly, as they promise new treatments for conditions such as diabetes, stroke, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancer, to name a few.  I expect to see the first few of a new wave of cellular therapies approved for patients within the next five years.

For more information on African American innovators in the sciences, check out the March 2009 issue of Black Enterprise magazine.

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