In North Carolina, we have helped fund a collaboration between Dr. Ildstad and Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg, an internationally renowned expert in umbilical cord blood transplantation. Dr. Kurtzberg is a professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Pathology at Duke University, Director of the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant (PBMT) program at Duke University Medical Center and Director of the Carolinas Cord Blood Bank. The PBMT is the largest dedicated pediatric blood and marrow transplant program in the world. Drs. Ildstad and Kurtzberg are collaborating in the treatment of sickle cell disease, thalassemia and rare childhood disorders using Dr. Ildstad’s discoveries. A cure for sickle cell disease is also a cure for thalassemia; 4% of the world’s children suffer and die young from one of these two inherited blood disorders.
We believe this collaboration represents a remarkable opportunity, in our lifetime, for all of us to profoundly affect the lives of children and young adults everywhere suffering from these diseases and others that may be cured or permanently treated by this research.