National Treasure #87: James Till and Ernest McCulloch

Rounding out the week’s theme on pioneers, we have Doctors James Till and Ernest McCulloch, who did pioneering work in stem cell research in the early 1960s.

Dr. James Till and Dr. Ernest McCulloch stun the scientific world when they discover transplantable stem cells at the Ontario Cancer Institute in Toronto. Stem cell science in Canada, and around the world, is born.

James Till, OC, O. Ont, FRSC, is a University of Toronto biophysicist and stem cell pioneer. Ernest McCulloch, OC, O. Ont, FRSC, was a University of Toronto cellular biologist and stem cell pioneer. He died in 2011.

Canadian Stem Cell Foundation, with a good video

Did they “discover” stem cells? That claim is likely a bridge too far, but opinions vary. There’s a long history of work on stem cells. Certainly the work they did is at the very least credited as a breakthrough, and underlies work ongoing to this day, including studies on rejuvenating mice.

Me, I don’t need younger mice, but stem cell therapy tantalizes with its possibilities. Will there be a cure for blindness? Multiple sclerosis? Cancer? Diabetes? Neurological disease? Spinal cord injuries? Maybe. Watch the video.

“Canada punches above its weight in stem cell research.” – Video

Thanks, Jim and Bun.


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2 Responses to National Treasure #87: James Till and Ernest McCulloch

  1. Jim Robertson says:

    You learn something everyday. Guess I should have heard about these guys, but I plead guilty to not.
    Thanks for the education, Isabel.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim – Well, you and me both. I just heard about them this week, thanks to the Globe & Mail, which is doing something similar to this series.

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