Gold Rush Cure Foundation Lauds Health Canada for Approving Prochymal® for the Treatment of Graft-versus-Host Disease in Children

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Gold Rush Cure Foundation expresses praise for Health Canada's decision to approve the stem cell therapy Prochymal for the treatment of Graft-versus-host disease in children.

Christian getting chemo for childhood cancer

The Gold Rush Cure Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to raising public awareness and funding for research to eradicate childhood cancer, today expressed praise for Health Canada’s decision to approve the stem cell therapy Prochymal® (remestemcel-L), for the treatment of graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) in children. Developed by Colombia, Md.-based Osiris Therapeutics, Prochymal is the world’s first approved stem cell drug, and the first treatment to be approved specifically for children suffering from GvHD, an often fatal complication from bone marrow transplants.

Gold Rush Cure Foundation (GRCF) is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization that raises vitally needed public awareness and funding for research to eradicate childhood cancer. GRCF was established in 2009 after President and Co-founder Sandy Baker lost her 14-year-old son, Christian, to GvHD, which he contracted after receiving a bone marrow transplant to treat a rare form of leukemia.

“Words cannot express how excited I am that Prochymal is being made available by Health Canada to children suffering from GvHD,” said Sandy Barker, president and co-founder of the Gold Rush Cure Foundation. “This landmark decision brings hope to all patients, families, and caregivers, and the work Osiris Therapeutics has done to develop Prochymal is admirable.”

About Christian Barker
At only 13-years-old, Christian was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. The treatment for this cancer required a bone marrow transplant. However, due to the aggressive nature of the cancer, Christian relapsed and a second transplant was conducted. The treatment regimen consisted of extreme chemotherapy, radiation, and multiple surgeries. Despite the negative side effects from those treatments, nothing compared to the brutal suffering which occurred after he contracted graft-vs.-host disease, which painfully destroyed every part of Christian’s body. The disease caused Christian’s skin to peel off, and he vomited several liters of blood daily due to the destruction of his gastro intestinal tract. To make matters even worse, Christian experienced liver failure and suffered daily with extreme pain from head to toe. This condition was prevalent for the four months, and eventually lead to his death. No child should have to suffer like this, and watching Christian’s body being destroyed by the disease was as horrifying for him as it was for his family and caregivers.

About Gold Rush Cure Foundation
After Christian died in December 2007, his mother and father, Sandy and Gary, established the Gold Rush Cure Foundation (GRCF), which is dedicated to raising public awareness and funding to help eradicate childhood cancer. GRCF is also committed to being advocates for children fighting cancer. In June, GRCF will be making its 11th trip to Washington, D.C., since Christian’s passing to meet with lawmakers about the vital need for more funding and awareness for childhood cancer, which is the leading cause of death by disease for children. For more information, please visit,

Sandy Barker
Gold Rush Cure Foundation, Inc.
President and co-founder
E-mail: goldrushcure(at)gmail(dot)com

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