POWERING CHANGE: WOMEN IN INNOVATION & CREATIVITY

ANN TSUKAMOTO (b. 1952) , Stem Cell isolation, 1991

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An average of 104 people are diagnosed with a blood cancer each day; that is one person every 14 minutes. The figures may be scary, but thanks to scientists and inventors like Dr Ann Tsukamoto - we may just be on the way to a cure.

In the early 1990s, Ann helped discover human blood stem cells and invented a process to isolate them in the body. A blood stem cell (or bone marrow) transplant can replace a damaged immune system in a person with blood cancer. With her husband, Professor Irv Weissman, as co-patentee, Ann’s patent for stem cell isolation was awarded in 1991. Their discovery gave people with blood cancer another chance at life and has since saved hundreds of thousands of lives. Thankfully not content with a life-saving scientific discovery under her belt, Ann has dedicated her entire life to researching and developing stem cell medicines.

After gaining her Ph.D. from the University of California Los Angeles, Ann has now spent 20 years working in stem cell biology, focusing on how stem cell medicine can help fight cancer and repair damaged organs, brains and limbs. Currently Executive Vice President of Scientific and Strategic Alliances at StemCells Inc., Ann is showing no signs of slowing her research, and is the co-patentee on more than seven other inventions.

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