Dr. Ira B. Black was a Bronx-born neuroscientist and the leading proponent in the stem cell research. He was named founding director of the state-financed Stem Cell Institute of New Jersey in May 2004.
Dr. Black was an early advocate for stem cell research which used stem cells to repair damaged muscles and tissue. His investigations with stem cells included neurons, brain functions and nerve cells.
The New York Times reported that In 2000, he claimed to have “succeeded in forming cells similar to [the properties of] neurons” using stem cells from the bone marrow of humans and rats, not from embryos.
In his later experiments, Dr. Black transplanted newly formed cells into the brains and spinal cords of rats and saw that the new cells and the rats survived without ill effects. This experiment underscored his argument for gene therapy that new cells could be used to recover the body’s existing stem cells. Gene therapy has given hope to significant advances to ailments such as Alzheimer, dementia and paralysis.
Black attended the Bronx High School of Science and he received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School. Some of the books he had published were The Changing Brain: Alzheimer’s Disease and Advances in Neuroscience and Information in the Brain: A Molecular Perspective.
Black pqssed in January 2006 in Philadelphia from an infection related to a tumor.