Dr. Richard Burt is chief of the Divisionof Immunotherapy, Department of Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois. Dr. Burt pioneered the use of hematopoietic stem cells to treat autoimmune diseases. Dr. Burt performed either the United States’ first or the world’s first autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplants for numerous immune–mediated diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, systemic lupus erythematosus, Crohn’s disease, polymyositis, bullous pemphigus, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, Behcet’s disease, neurovascular or pulmonary Sjogren’s syndrome, Wegener’s granulomatosis, Arron’s syndrome (immune-mediated blindness), Devic’s syndrome and type 1 diabetes.
Dr. Burt is the leader of recently completed randomized, controlled stem cell trials for 1) systemic sclerosis: ASSIST (American Scleroderma Stem Cell vs. Immune Suppression Trial), and 2) multiple sclerosis: MIST (Multiple Sclerosis International Stem cell trial Immune Suppression vs. Stem Cell Transplant).
Dr. Burt’s stem cell trials are being conducted at Northwestern University (Chicago), Uppsala University (Stockholm, Sweden), the University of Sao Paolo (Ribeirao Preto, Brazil), and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals (Sheffield, U.K.) and Singapore General Hospital (Singapore).
In 2006, Dr. Burt was recognized by Scientific American along with Al Gore and Steve Jobs as one of the top 50 people in the world for improving humanity due to his pioneering stem cell work. In 2011, Science Illustrated recognized Dr. Burt’s stem cell work as one of the top 10 advances of the decade. In January 2016, the magazine The Economist recognized Dr. Burt’s work by concluding: “This work (hematopoietic stem cell transplant for multiple sclerosis) should give drug companies some pause for thought.”