News about autologous stem cell transplant for immune mediated diseases

Northwestern Physician/Researcher Named to the ‘Scientific American 50,’ a List Recognizing Outstanding Leaders in Science and Technology
CHICAGO – Richard Burt, MD, Chief of the Division of Immunotherapy for Autoimmune Diseases, Northwestern Memorial Hospital has been named by Scientific American magazine as a Research Leader within the 2006 Scientific American 50 – the magazine’s prestigious annual list recognizing outstanding acts of leadership in science and technology from the past year. Dr. Burt, also associate professor of Medicine at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, was honored for his work over the last year in the field of stem cell research.

“The Scientific American 50 pays tribute to individuals and organizations who, through their efforts in research, business and policy-making, are driving advances in science and technology that lay the groundwork for a better future,” said Editor-In-Chief John Rennie. “Not only does our list honor these prime movers, it shines a spotlight on the critical fields that are benefiting from their achievements.”

Dr. Burt has helped pioneer the use of hematopoietic stem cells to treat autoimmune diseases and performed one of the first autologous (one’s own) hematopoietic stem cell transplants for numerous immune mediated diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, Crohn’s disease and Arron’s syndrome (immune-mediated blindness). Dr. Burt is also the leader of randomized controlled trials currently ongoing in America for lupus, crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and systemic scleroderma.

In a study published earlier this year in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. Burt reported that transplanting patients with blood stem cells that originate from their own bone marrow can induce the remission of life-threatening, treatment-resistant lupus. Researchers found that 50 percent of the 50 patients in the study had disease-free survival at five years with an overall five-year survival rate of 84 percent.

Selected by the magazine’s Board of Editors with the help of distinguished outside advisors, the Scientific American 50 spotlights research, business and policy leaders who have played a critical role driving key science and technology trends over the last year in fields including robotics, genetics, Alzheimer’s research, nanotechnology and more. The Scientific American 50 appears in the magazine’s December issue, arriving on newsstands November 21. The complete list may also be accessed on the magazine’s website at

Founded in 1845, editorial contributors to Scientific American have included over 100 Nobel laureates, among them Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, Francis Crick, Stanley Prusiner and Harold Varmus.