We mourn the recent passing of one of Stem Cell Institute’s most noteworthy patients, Arnold Caplan, PhD. Known as the Father of Mesenchymal Stem Cells, he has been instrumental in stell cell therapy and regenerative medicine. He was a pioneer and mentor whose presence will be sorely missed by our entire team at Stem Cell Institute.
Born on January 5, 1942, in Chicago, Dr. Caplan earned his B.S. in Chemistry from the Illinois Institute of Technology and his Ph.D. from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He joined Case Western Reserve University in 1969, steadily advancing through the academic ranks and dedicating an impressive 54 years to the institution. He reached the position of professor in 1981.
A crucial moment in Dr. Caplan’s career occurred when he isolated human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from adult bone marrow. This laid the technical and conceptual foundation for subsequent global study. He founded his own company in 1992 to commercialize the technology, leading to numerous clinical trials worldwide.
As the father of both basic science and clinical therapeutics of adult MSCs, Dr. Caplan’s groundbreaking work revealed their innate ability to:
- Modulate the immune system
- Inhibit programmed cell death and scar formation
- Stimulate blood-vessel formation
- Promote the growth of tissue-specific stem cells
His contributions impacted the study and treatment of various human diseases, from multiple sclerosis and osteoarthritis to spinal cord injuries and cancer.
Dr. Caplan’s warmth and mentorship influenced the lives of over 150 researchers he trained, shaping their paths with his intellect and guidance. Since then, they have gone on to impact the lives of countless others. This includes our founder, Neil Riordan, PA, PhD.
Dr. Caplan has been a major part of Stem Cell Institute since the beginning, having:
- Written the foreword of Dr. Riordan’s book, Stem Cell Therapy: A Rising Tide: How Stem Cells Are Disrupting Medicine and Transforming Lives
- Visited our clinic and lab, Medistem Panama, multiple times as a friend, mentor, and patient
- Served on the advisory board to Dr. Riordan’s company in Dallas
His passion extended to sharing expertise through influential courses that fostered scientific collaboration globally. He has been recognized with awards such as the:
- Marshall R. Urist Award
- Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society Lifetime Achievement Award
- Case Western Reserve University Faculty Innovator Award
Dr. Caplan also authored over 400 papers and held 20 patents throughout his career. All of these have significantly shaped the landscape of regenerative medicine and benefit thousands of patients who live with improved symptoms thanks to his research.
Outside of the lab, Dr. Caplan was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, and friend. His love of cooking, walks, and meaningful conversations will be missed by many. He leaves a legacy that transcends scientific achievements.
Dr. Arnold Caplan is survived by his wife of 58 years, Bonnie along with his children Aaron (Tami) Caplan and Rachel (David) Uram. He also had six grandchildren – Josh, Andrew, and Brian Caplan, and Lyla, Sam, and Bella Uram – and his brother Herbert (Barbara) Caplan.
His pioneering work and unwavering love for family and friends continue to live on in the countless lives he touched.
Stem Cell Institute in Panama City, Panama is at the forefront of applied stem cell research. Since our creation in 2008, we have performed over 50,000 procedures, helping thousands of families across the United States and around the world embrace the opportunity for a better life. Our medical team prioritizes the safety, health, and well-being of all our patients through top-notch evaluation and care.