The Nobel Assembly is designed to give Nobel Committee members the opportunity to learn more about topics they believe will be transformative in the coming decade.
The June meeting attended by Tolar focused on all aspects of hematopoietic stem cells, from basic biology and laboratory research to immune reconstitution and novel cell use. Tolar was one of less than 30 researchers invited to participate.
For his portion of the discussion, Tolar spoke on his laboratory research using hematopoietic stem cells in mice, and how this research developed into a transplantation program for children with the rare, deadly skin disorder called epidermolysis bullosa.
Tolar has worked with John Wagner, M.D., director of the Department of Pediatrics, Hematology-Oncology and Blood Marrow Transplantation at the University of Minnesota, to lead one of the earliest, most-successful clinical trials to date designed to treat epidermolysis bullosa.
“I was surprised and honored, on behalf of the Minneapolis transplant team, at the invitation to this conference,” said Tolar, who in addition to his pediatric work serves as director of Stem Cell/Gene Therapies at the U of M. “This was a great opportunity to exchange information and ideas with some of the top minds in the field of hematopoietic cells.”
Funding for Tolar’s research comes from the National Institutes of Health, the Children’s Cancer Research Fund, Pioneering Unique Cures for Kids (PUCK), the Department of Defense, DebRA International and a matching grant through the University of Minnesota Medical Foundation that is made possible by the Jackson Gabriel Silver Foundation and the Epidermolysis Bullosa Medical Research Foundation. In fact, between Jan 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012, The Jackson Gabriel Silver Foundation and The Epidermolysis Bullosa Medical Research Foundation pledged to match all gifts to Dr. Tolar’s EB research up to $450,000 dollar for dollar.