Making a difference in medicine

VAMPY campers had a unique opportunity Tuesday when Dr. Paula Grisanti of the National Stem Cell Foundation talked about the future of medicine and the work of the Louisville-based foundation.


As noted on its website, the NSCF fosters “connections between research, education, and advocacy to turn great ideas into real solutions.”


One of the most incredible studies discussed was sending stem cells into space! With the lack of gravity in space, researchers can conduct a unique 3-D study of cells and try to determine why cells start to degenerate and what slows down regeneration. The current study, which targets primary progressive multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, is set to launch July 14.


The space study was just one example of the work being done with stem cells. Dr. Grisanti also talked about past, present, and future treatments for autoimmune diseases, cancers, disabilities in young children, burn treatments, grafting, and organ donations.


A show of hands reflected that conditions that can be treated with stem cells are well known and personally important to our campers and their families. Many campers also are interested in biology and medicine as a possible career choice. Fourth year camper Jordan C. had written a paper about transfusions and stem cells before camp, and Shawn C. was so impressed with Dr. Grisanti’s work that he asked for an autograph.


To learn more about the National Stem Cell Foundation, visit

– Wynn T., counselor

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