The story of two Canadian scientists who discovered stem cells

It was one of those Sundays, where one scientist was spelling off the other, checking the lab mice in a project that was all about using radiation for cancer treatment. So imagine their surprise when the two scientists realized what was really happening to those mice. They were growing stem cells. The year was 1960. The scientists were right here in Canada. Today, the story of James Till and Ernest McCulloch, two of Canada's most accomplished and least heralded scientists.



Part Three of The Current

Stem Cell Discovery - James Till / Joe Sornberger

They are far too tiny to see without a microscope, but their promise is colossal. Scientists believe stem cells may one day help regenerate destroyed and damaged parts of the body, including the brain and spinal cord. If ever there was a discovery that could be called game-changing, this is it. And it is a Canadian discovery.

The Current's Howard Goldenthal met up with Dr. Michael Fehlings who is the Medical Director of the Krembil Neuroscience Center and senior scientist at the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine.

It was in Toronto that stem cells were discovered, the unexpected result of a different experiment. Dr. James Till was one of two scientists who tried to make sense of some inexplicable bumps on the spleens of his lab mice back in 1960. Dr Till's partner, Ernest McCulloch passed away earlier this year. Dr. Till joined Anna Maria in our studio. And so was Joe Sornberger, the author of the new book, Dreams of Due Diligence: Till and McCulloch's Stem Cell Discovery and Legacy.

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Last Word - Thursday Call-in Promo

Thursday on The Current, we'll open up our phone lines to our listeners. Our producers, Kristin Nelson and Lara O'Brien ended the program today to tell us more.


Other segments from today's show:

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