50 Years After Canada Discovers Stem Cells A Foundation Is Launched

By Karen Bliss 3/2/12 | www.samaritanmag.com

Dr. James Till and the late Dr. Ernest McCulloch - the two Canadians who discovered adult stem cells

Fifty years after Dr. James Till and the late Ernest McCulloch discovered stem cells at the Ontario Cancer Institute, the research division of the Princess Margaret Hospital, comes the launch of The Canadian Stem Cell Foundation.

A black-tie event, entitled The Renew The World Gala, will officially mark the occasion on March 7 from 6 to 10 p.m. at Toronto's Mercedes-Benz Midtown (849 Eglinton Ave. E). Dr. Till will be a guest alongside 50 prominent stem cell scientists who play a key role in the advancement of stem cell research.

Stem cells can self-renew and can be artificially grown, leading to all kinds of possibilities for the cure of disease and even the generation of new limbs. Researchers are finding ways to use stem cells to rebuild tissue in many parts of the body that have been damaged, such as in the eye, the pancreas and the brain. Cures or revolutionary treatment for cancer, blindness, MS, stroke and spinal cord injury are already in clinical trials and new trials are around the corner.

At the gala, many of the scientists will share their research and provide a glimpse into what the next breakthroughs might be.  Attendees will witness the awe-inspiring power of this research through patients whose lives have been transformed.

"We're very excited to mark this historic milestone and officially launch the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation, an organization dedicated to championing the importance of this research for all of humanity," said James Price, the president and CEO of the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation, in a statement. "This gala will highlight the pioneering role that Canadians have played, and continue to play, in stem cell research, and we are proud to have the support of an unprecedented array of Canadian icons behind us."

Each of the 50 scientists will be joined at the table by a celebrity co-host, one of 50 prominent Canadians from all areas -- sports, TV, music, media. Among those confirmed are football Hall of Famer Damon Allen; tenor and stage actor Michael Burgess; business entrepreneurs and Dragon's Den co-hosts Arlene Dickinson, Bruce Croxon, Kevin O'Leary and Robert Herjavek; singer Keshia Chante; WWE champion Trish Stratus; and model/actress Monika Schnarre.

The rest of the seats will be filled by an assortment of equally celebrated business leaders, philanthropists, politicians, and researchers.

At the close of the evening, there will also be a two-song ensemble performance by Canadian musicians Chantal Kreviazuk, Chante, Clifton Murray and Fraser Walters of the Canadian Tenors, Dan Hill, Jarvis Church, and 10 members of the Mississauga Children's Choir.

Tickets to this exclusive event are available for purchase at $15,000 per table of 8 (plus the two co-hosts). To purchase, visit www.renewtheworld.ca, or contact Amy Harrington at 416.413.1454 ext. 235 or amy@halainc.com.

The Canadian Stem Cell Foundation champions the importance of adult stem cell science for the health of humanity. It unifies scientists, business and community leaders, and the public, in addition to providing education and creating collaborative partnerships necessary to accelerate the speed of advancement. The Foundation is committed to building Canada's role as a stem cell leader and innovator. Stem cells were first discovered in Canada by Dr. James Till and Dr. Ernest McCulloch, and dozens of the field's brightest minds have made ground-breaking contributions here. 

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