March 11, 2008

Pioneer, Global Leader in Cord Blood Stem Cell Transplants

CLEVELAND, Ohio - March 11, 2008 - Dr. Mary Laughlin's position as the Founder and Medical Director of the Abraham J. & Phyllis Katz Cord Blood Foundation and the Cleveland Cord Blood Center (CCBC) in 2007 is the latest role she has assumed in a medical career spanning 18 years that has led her to the forefront of cord blood stem cell research and groundbreaking leukemia treatments. She is a world-class expert dedicated to helping discover cures for some of the most challenging diseases. 

Taking the Lead

A global leader in cord blood transplant and research, Dr. Laughlin performed one of the world's first successful umbilical cord blood transplants in an adult leukemia patient in 1993. She has performed more than 150 cord blood stem cell transplants to date.

Today, she is one of world's foremost experts in the area of cord blood stem cell transplants and research. In June, she will assume the position of President of the International Society of Cellular Therapy, a professional society of 1,300 physicians and researchers comprising the global forum and resource for developing and supporting innovative cellular therapies. 

Professor, Researcher

In addition to her work with the Cleveland Cord Blood Center, Dr. Laughlin is Associate Professor of Medicine and Pathology at Case Western Reserve University/Case Comprehensive Cancer Center in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1998, she was recruited to join the faculty at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine as well as establish a new clinical and laboratory research program in allogeneic hematopoiesis and immunobiology. Previously she was Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at Duke University in North Carolina.

In 1996, Dr. Laughlin co-authored with her colleagues at Duke University her first publication in the New England Journal of Medicine describing transplant outcomes in children with leukemia. Next, in 2001, she published as first author a second manuscript in the New England Journal of Medicine addressing stem cell transplant outcomes in adult leukemia patients. In 2004, her third manuscript in this prestigious publication directly compared umbilical cord blood as a new stem cell source with conventional bone marrow grafts in adult leukemia patients. In addition, Dr. Laughlin and her co-investigators have published more than 40 papers in the field of leukemia and stem cell transplantation. 

Awards & Affiliations

In addition to serving as President Elect of the International Society of Cellular Therapy (ISCT), she is also an elected member of the American Society of Hematology, the International Society for Stem Cell Research, the American Association of Blood Banks, the American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, the American Association of Immunologists, and serves as advisor for additional associations and committees including the FDA and NIH.

Dr. Laughlin has received numerous awards including: the Dr. Donald and Ruth Weber Goodman Professorship Chair in Innovative Cancer Therapeutics in 2006; the John J. Kelley Award in 2002 and was the first Stephen Birnbaum Translational Research Investigator both awarded by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America (LLSA) in 1998, as well as being named a Clinical Scholar by the LLSA in recognition of her contributions in the field of leukemia.


A native of Kenmore, New York, Dr. Laughlin received her medical degree cum laude at State University of New York at Buffalo as an accelerated student, completing medical school in three years. While a medical student, she published her initial first author manuscript in Blood describing the pathophysiology underlying marrow fibrosis in hairy cell leukemia patients. She completed her Internal Medicine Residency and Hematology/Oncology Fellowship training at Duke University with a 24-month fellowship rotation studying allogeneic stem cell transplantation at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
Dr. Laughlin resides in Shaker Heights, Ohio, with her husband and twin children.

The Cleveland Cord Blood Center (CCBC) collects, preserves and stores the umbilical cord blood of Northeast Ohio's diverse population; supports advanced research in maternal-child health; and offers education and training programs for those served. Located in Warrensville Heights, Ohio, CCBC is a public, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization, supported by generous gifts from the Abraham J. and Phyllis Katz Foundation, and the Dr. Donald J. and Ruth Weber Goodman Philanthropic Fund. For more information, visit or call 1-866-922-3668.


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