Unite For The Cure | $230,000 Granted | Funded SMA Stem Cell Research
Goal set, goal met, goal exceeded! Four months. 22 inspiring families. Fundraisers launched across the globe. Over $145,000 raised via "Unite For The Cure". An additional $85,000 donated. Equals $230,000 granted to promising cure focused SMA stem cell research.
Unite For The Cure (Unite) was a challenge theGSF created in August 2009 as a way to bring SMA families together for a common goal -- to help move promising stem-cell based SMA research closer to clinical trial. Specifically, we asked twenty families impacted by SMA to commit to raising $5,000 each by the end of November 2009 -- for a total of $100,000. In only four months and with fundraisers organized by over twenty families and their friends across the globe, Unite met and surpassed the $100,000 goal for Dr. Hans Keirstead’s promising stem-cell based motor neuron transplantation research conducted at University of California at Irvine in conjunction with California Stem Cell (CSC). In fact, over $145,000 -- yes, one-hundred-forty-five-thousand-dollars -- was raised and donated to Families of SMA (FSMA) through Unite efforts earmarked specifically to accelerate Dr. Keirstead’s research to human clinical trial. This is an enormous accomplishment in and of itself in such a short period of time, but when you take into account that every single one of these remarkable families was either caring for a terminally ill child or grieving the loss of their precious baby -- it is nothing short of miraculous!
Each of these inspiring Unite families poured their heart and soul into fundraising, showed tenacity and dedication, asked friends and family to be involved, and campaigned tirelessly to get Dr. Keirstead the money he needed. In November 2009, Dr. Keirstead’s SMA stem cell program was named by Esquire magazine as a “Project That Will Change Science Forever.” We truly hope that this will prove to be the case and that each of us will have had a material impact on accelerating this groundbreaking, game changing science into the history books.
In addition to the $145,000 Unite raised, in later months theGSF donated $85,000 to Dr. Keirstead's research at the University of California at Irvine to finalize additional studies.
In December 2010, CSC filed an investigational new drug (IND) application with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval to commence a Phase I safety study in humans. The program is currently on clinical hold pending completion of an additional species animal study to further ensure safety, and completion of ongoing SMA animal studies to provide more data on the link between neuronal sparing and functional benefits.