Washington Square Health Foundation is helping to make great strides in promising stem cell transplantation and muscular dystrophy research at Children’s Memorial Hospital through grant support over the past three years of Dr. Michael Burke, the recipient of the Washington Square Health Foundation funded Hematology, Oncology Research Fellowship (2004-2006).
Dr. Burke is part of a hematology/oncology team treating over 1,300 patients each year. The division’s stem cell program, moreover, is among the largest in the nation, performing more than 70 transplants each year and 600 transplants since the program’s inception in 1992. The level of expertise available at the institution combined with its large clinical population makes it an excellent place to test and develop novel stem cell transplantation therapies, which, when completed, will directly translate to better therapies and cures for diseases.
Dr. Burke, under the mentorship of highly regarded stem cell researcher William Tse, MD, PhD, is focusing his research on the potential of stem cell therapy to regenerate tissue that has been damaged by disease, particularly muscular dystrophy. Muscular dystrophy (MD), is a term used to describe a group of nine inherited disorders that cause progressive muscle weakness, and affects as many as 110,000 people in the US. Currently, there is no cure or way to prevent MD, which is why Dr. Burke’s groundbreaking research is so important.