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Doug Oliver to Receive Global “Action” Award at
2019 World Stem Cell Summit
Past award recipients include Joe & Jill Biden; Michael J. Fox; Christopher Reeve Foundation; Ed Bosarge; Sherry Lansing; Bernie Marcus; A. Alfred Taubman; Bob Klein; and Govs. Jennifer Granholm, Martin O’Malley, and Jim Doyle
“Doug’s passion and vision represent an important contribution to the future of medicine and hope for all patients."
- Executive Director, Regenerative Medicine Foundation, Bernard Siegel, J.D.
NASHVILLE— The World Stem Cell Summit has announced that Doug Oliver, a Nashville resident and world advocate for patient access to regenerative medicine, has been chosen to receive its Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine “Action” Award, noting his “accomplishments in advancing public awareness and supporting treatments in the field of regenerative medicine.”
The award will be given on Jan. 23 during the 2019 World Stem Cell Summit in Miami, Fla., where Mr. Oliver is also scheduled to speak to the conference on his innovative work helping to prepare biotech companies and provider groups to pursue FDA approval for their products and therapies.
“Doug’s passion and vision represent an important contribution to the future of medicine and hope for all patients,” said Bernard Siegel, Executive Director of The Regenerative Medicine Foundation, which hosts the annual event, now in its 14th year.
“It is a rare honor for any individual to be able to say they’ve made an impact on so many, and I am grateful for the privilege of receiving this award,“ Doug said, “As someone who was legally blind for 10 years, and who is now seeing again as a result of the power of regenerative medicine, I plan to continue spreading the word that it’s time now for patients like me to get up from the children’s table we’ve all been placed at, resist the urge to passively wait for cures to drop on our doorstep, and actively assert that same privilege, not only on health policy, but on industry directly, so we can get as many of these therapies to as many people as safely as we can, as quickly as we can. I want what happened for me to happen for everybody.”
Past recipients of the award Mr. Oliver will receive in January include former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden; Michael J. Fox; The Christopher Reeve Foundation; Ed Bosarge; Sherry Lansing; Bernie Marcus; A. Alfred Taubman; Bob Klein; and Govs. Jennifer Granholm (Michigan), Martin O’Malley (Maryland), and Jim Doyle (Wisconsin).
For 14 years, the Regenerative Medicine Foundation, a nonprofit organization, has celebrated the stem cell and regenerative medicine community's top innovators, leaders, and champions at this annual conference. Global leaders in advanced therapies, regenerative medicine and the stem-cell field will gather in Miami from Jan. 22-25.
In January 2018, the meeting brought together 1,550 attendees from 35 countries with 100 exhibitors. This year, Phacilitate and RMF expect to attract 2,000 attendees, 150 exhibitors, and 300 speakers representing every major stakeholder group.
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Former Stem Cell Patient Announces Foundation’s New Initiative to Guide Stem-Cell Companies, Clinics into FDA “RMAT” Process
Doug Oliver advised Congress on 21st Century Cures Act, leads foundation’s
growing network of experts to help clinics pursue FDA approval
“I love what you're doing and remember those early fateful days where I got you together with Senator Alexander … You reached out to me early on, and with that we're helping hundreds of thousands, and eventually millions of people through your hard work.”
- Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D.
NASHVILLE, August 7, 2018 — The Regenerative Outcomes Foundation today announced that the nonprofit will help stem cell researchers and clinicians along the path toward FDA approval of their drugs and therapies through the new Regenerative Medicine Advanced Therapy (“RMAT”) fast-track approval designation established by the 21st Century Cures Act. Founder and Director Doug Oliver, whose own eyesight was restored through stem-cell therapy, helped develop the new law, and believes the foundation is uniquely positioned to help speed innovative, safe, an effective regenerative medicine therapies to market by becoming part of the solution to the problem of a growing number of stem cell-based therapies being offered in the U.S. without approval by FDA of their safety and effectiveness.
Oliver and the other founding members established the foundation with the three-fold mission to help:
Educate and guide cell therapy providers who desire to engage the new FDA application process, achieve compliance, and test their therapies, helping them along the way with critical ethics issues like advertising, informed consent, patient engagement, and continuum-of-care concerns
Provide cash grants to patients to offset cost of ancillary services and other hidden expenses associated with entering clinical trials
Advance behavioral research and specialized counseling to better understand and help patients adjust to their treatment outcomes
“We’re entering an astonishing age of medicine in which we’re learning how to use the cells from our own bodies to treat and cure diseases,” Oliver said. “My own adult stem cells restored my vision, but therapies like mine need more testing to assure their safety and prove their effectiveness. Patients have been called ‘the North Star,’ the most fitting guides to first encourage these therapies and the providers that administer them toward regulatory approval, and then help create the avenues to access them. I expect our foundation to quickly become an influential part of this solution. Who better than patients to maximize the reach of safe, effective cellular therapies while at the same time helping to minimize the American public’s exposure to bad actors in the regenerative medicine arena? I had this in mind when I helped write the law. I’m excited about our growing network of experts and scientists who will help us provide specific consultative services that will assist others to directly advance the 21st century’s cures.”
Oliver expects that the foundation will also forge new ways of collaborating with patient experts, federal and state policymakers, researchers, providers, and industry to build the bridges necessary for securing and stabilizing access for patients to the medical innovations evolving at a feverish pace.
“I love what you're doing and remember those early fateful days where I got you together with Senator Alexander,” said former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D., in an interview earlier this year with Oliver for the foundation’s “Pioneers of Hope” series. “You reached out to me early on, and with that we're helping hundreds of thousands, and eventually millions of people through your hard work.”
Both Frist and Oliver worked on the 21st Century Cures Act legislation, signed into law in Dec. 2016 to make it easier for safe, effective drugs and devices to gain FDA approval.
Oliver says it all started when in August 2015 Oliver became a stem-cell patient himself.
At age 32, he was diagnosed with macular degeneration. He became legally blind at age 45. In 2015, after undergoing autologous bone-marrow stem- cell therapy, he regained much of his lost vision. He received his driver’s license five months later.
Doug’s story has reached millions through international broadcasts, interviews with national press, and countless affiliate television and news media outlets. In 2015, press coverage caught the attention of Tennessee’s senior U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, chairman of the Senate’s health committee, and Dr. Frist, who engaged him in helping to craft key patient provisions in the 21st Century Cures Act.
He was invited to Washington, D.C., to hold meetings with key U.S. senators and representatives from both sides of the aisle, with the goal of galvanizing efforts to boost funding and initiate regulatory reform.
The Cures Act, which passed with record bipartisan support in December 2016, provides a foundation to markedly accelerate the access of many patients to cellular therapies like the one he received.
At the time, Sen. Alexander said about Doug: “Doug Oliver has been an advocate for regenerative medicine. Doug was blind for more than a decade before doctors used stem cells from his hip and injected them into his eye and miraculously restored his sight. He has traveled to Washington multiple times to share his story and even helped my staff craft pieces of this legislation.”
In a recent interview with former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the Senate’s Democratic Leader when the 21st Century Cures Act passed, said Oliver is using his “experience … to find out a road map to help people get from here to there, because who knows who is a good organization to go to?”