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8 Stem Cell Charities And Non-Profits Advancing Research Into Practice


A LOT of breakthroughs in stem cell research come out of universities, academic institutions, and private organisations. But unbeknown to many is the crucial role charities and non-profits play behind the scenes, inching progress forward and generating millions in funding.

Unlike the stereotype, philanthropic stem cell organisations don’t just rally up volunteers and go around collecting donations; many of them sit at the cutting edge of research, leading pioneering studies and clinical trials, exploring regenerative, gene, and stem cell therapies, and propelling discoveries into new medical applications.

Whether it’s finding a cure for cancer, reversing as yet irreversible diseases, or engineering beetroot to help treat neurological disorders, charities and non-profits make up the backbone of the emerging stem cell industry. And if one thing’s for sure it’s that they’re only going to become more important.

Here we’ve put together a selection of 8 charitable organisations, spanning the UK to the US to Australia, which are and have been heavily involved in supporting some of the world’s largest and most promising stem cell trials. You can help each of them to continue pushing the boundaries of stem cell science by making a small donation via the links provided below.

UK Stem Cell Foundation

As the largest charity in the UK to focus specifically on stem cell research, The UK Stem Cell Foundation has since been a significant component in the link between breakthroughs in stem cell research and technology and new treatments and therapies for patients.

The charity was founded in 2005 and are currently celebrating their 10 year anniversary. Their aim is to raise £10m to support new stem cell projects and find treatments for diseases and conditions such as cancer, diabetes, spinal cord injuries, blindness, heart attacks, strokes, sports injuries, multiple sclerosis, and bone and cartilage damage.

Interestingly, new findings from research funded by UK Stem Cell Foundation suggests a potential treatment for glaucoma — a condition which causes what’s considered to be irreversible vision loss.

You can donate to the UK Stem Cell Foundation via this link to their website.

The National Stem Cell Foundation

The National Stem Cell Foundation (NSCF) is a US-based non-profit organisation with a mission to support stem cell research in neurodegenerative disease, autoimmune disease, rare childhood disorders, and regenerative repair.

From early-stage clinical trials to cutting-edge collaborations in the field of adult stem cell therapies, every initiative the NSCF fund they believe to has the potential to treat or even cure common conditions and diseases.

Recently the NSCF announced a partnership with The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) to accelerate trials of a cutting-edge stem cell therapy that replaces the dopamine neurons which degenerate in Parkinson’s disease.

Donate to The National Stem Cell Foundation here.

The Anthony Nolan Trust

One of the more well-known stem cell charities in the UK, The Anthony Nolan Trust has a clear and dedicated vision: to make bone marrow and stem cell transplants available to everyone who needs them.

With a register of thousands of stem cell donors and a world-class research team focused on matching and transplants, Anthony Nolan finds matches for as many as three people a day who suffer from blood cancer and blood-related disorders.

Just this month (July 2016), the trust presented a letter to Jeremy Hunt in opposition to the decision of the NHS to stop people with blood cancer having second stem cell transplants.

Click here to see how you can support them.

The New York Stem Cell Foundation

The internationally-renowned New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) has invested over £100 million in stem cell research over the past 10 years and continues to be a significant driving force in the field.

As a “non-profit biotech”, the NYSCF creates a bridge between academic research and that of pharmaceutical and biotech companies; a gap which hinders the translation and application of stem cell science into treatments in medical practice.

The NYSCF only support the most advanced stem cell research. Their team have designed and built a “revolutionary, high-throughput robotic platform that automates and standardises the process of transforming patient samples into stem cells.”

The piece of technology known as the NYSCF Global Stem Cell Array, allows researchers to study stem cells more closely in the lab and better understand the underlying causes of disease.

Visit the NYSCF’s website here to make a contribution.

Heart Cells Foundation

The initial aim of the Heart Cells Foundation was to run a 5-year program testing adult stem cell therapy in patients with 3 different heart conditions: acute heart attacks, dilated cardiomyopathy, and heart failure.

That was back in 2006; today the foundation has extended their program and have become known for supporting 3 of the largest clinical trials of stem cell therapy in the world.

The trials, conducted at The London Chest Hospital (part of NHS Trust), are not only bringing to fruition their primary aim, but also helping to bring stem cell treatments to the public as quickly and cost effectively as possible.

Click here to visit their website and support the trials.

National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia

Established in 2011, The National Stem Cell foundation of Australia (NSCFA) is a charitable body with the mission to promote the study of stem cells in disease prevention and also enhance public education in the field.

To help demystify the amazing capabilities of stem cells and their potential to treat as yet untreatable diseases, the foundation provides resources to the public on the field’s achievements, risks, technology, benefits, and overall progress.

Thier research concerning heart attacks and chronic heart failure has recently been recognised for its potential in making chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment less harmful. Through transplanting stem cells into patients’ blood before receiving the treatment, their immune systems experience a boost and make them more likely to respond well to the drugs.

You can make a donation by visiting their website.

Bedford Research Foundation

The Bedford Research Foundation is a Massachusetts charity that dates back to 1996, a time when stem cell research could not be freely practised in biomedical research institutions. 20 years on and the non-profit is pioneering innovations in the treatment of HIV disease and prostate cancer, with the help of partnerships across the US and Europe.

The Foundation is entrepreneurial in its approach to funding, covering some its costs by fee-for-service testing. They currently mail out test kits for infertility, post-vasectomy-checks, and prostatitis-checks, as well as provide an award-winning program known as SPAR which allows men living with sexually transmitted diseases like HIV to safely have their own children.

Support the work of the Bedford Research Foundation by donating via their website.

Parkinson’s UK

Parkinson’s UK is the largest UK charity supporting stem cell research in Parkinson’s.

Many results of recent stem cell trials are demonstrating their huge potential in treating neuro-degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s. At the centre of it all is undifferentiated stem cells, such as mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) found in our teeth, which can grow into nerves cells to be used in replacing those lost as a result of the neurological disorder.

Their research is comprehensive, to say the least. Current studies involve looking at the role of anxiety in Parkinson’s, exploring the genetics of inherited and early-onset Parkinson’s, and yes, genetically engineering beetroot to combat the disorder.

Show your support by fundraising or becoming a volunteer.