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Student Society for Stem Cell Research Press Release

On Tuesday October 10, 2006, at schools across the nation, members of the Student Society for Stem Cell Research will hold Nothing is Impossible candlelight vigils to honor the life of Christopher Reeve on the anniversary of his passing. One such vigil will be held at the University of Georgia in room C127 of the Life Sciences Building, at 7 PM.

It is very tempting to give up, yet we have to find the will to keep going. But even when we discover what motivates us, we realize that we cant go the distance alone. Christopher Reeve

One year after the launching of the Campaign to Cure Paralysis, on October 10, 2005, there is still no cure for human spinal cord injury. Meanwhile, many advances have been made in animal models. Research at the University of California- Irvine, in Hans Keirstead’s lab, has been effective in demonstrating Functional recovery after a damaged spinal cord. The striking advances in Keirstead’s lab used to make Christopher Reeve wistfully ponder, Oh to be a rat. In the summer of 2006, Douglas Kerr of John Hopkins made national headlines using embryonic stem cells and a cocktail of growth factors to restore Motor function in paralyzed rats. Geron plans human clinical trials for spinal cord injury, using embryonic stem cells, within a year or so. All of this is very promising that a cure for spinal cord injury is inevitable.

As part of the Campaign to Cure Paralysis, the Student Society for Stem Cell Research will hold its Third Annual Nothing Is Impossible candlelight vigils at campuses throughout the United Sates on October 10, 2006. The C2CP is a national effort involving SSSCR chapters at leading national universities. The C2CP is a strategic alliance with national patient advocacy organizations, including the Daniel Heumann Fund for Spinal Cord Research, Cure Paralysis Now, Stem Cell Action Network and the Genetics Policy Institute, which promote a rational and ethical framework for stem cell research. The C2CP’s mission is to move the center of mass of public perception and to habituate the public towards viewing spinal cord injury and other causes of paralysis as curable. A cure to spinal cord injury is a challenge to humanity and one of our greatest milestones in scientific achievements.

Just as President John F. Kennedy challenged the nation to go to the moon, we must now challenge our country to recognize the urgency to make paralysis a treatable condition that needs a cure. An Apollo style project dedicated to finding a cure for spinal cord injury is the type of energy that the U.S. government should promote and support.

On behalf of the Christopher Reeve Foundation, we are delighted to hear students across the country are honoring Chris today by launching a Campaign to Cure Paralysis, said Kathy Lewis, President and CEO of the Christopher Reeve Foundation. Emboldened by Christophers determination, inspired by his courage, impassioned by his vision, and in his honor I say to you, Go Forward.

The Christopher Reeve Foundation joins the Student Society for Stem Cell Research in support of legislation that would remove the current restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, advancing all avenues of research at the National Institutes of Health, and actively working to pass the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Act in this Congress.

Our generation is ready to carry the flame of Christopher Reeves dream for a cure to paralysis.

The Student Society for Stem Cell Research is an international organization dedicated to advancing scientific research for cures. The SSSCR network spans over 100 institutions, 35 states, and 10 countries. SSSCR is a special project of the Genetics Policy Institute and a member of the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research.

Media Contact: Kurinji Pandiyan 706-202-2234

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