It is with the highest degree of sadness that I write this brief memorial for my friend and admired colleague, Dr. Arnold I. Caplan of Cleveland, Ohio, who passed away at age 82, peacefully on January 10, 2024, with his loving family by his side.
Camillo Ricordi, CTRMS Founding President
Dr. Caplan was born on January 5, 1942 in Chicago, 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, where he steadily rose through the academic ranks, becoming a Professor in 1981 and dedicating an impressive 54 years to the institution.
A pivotal moment in his career came with the isolation of human Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) from adult bone marrow, establishing the conceptual and technical foundation for subsequent global studies. In 1992, he founded Osiris Therapeutics, Inc., commercializing the technology, which later lead to numerous clinical trials worldwide.
Recognized as the father of both basic science and clinical therapeutics of adult Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSC’s), Dr. Caplan discovered the innate ability of MSC's to modulate the immune system; inhibit both programmed cell death and scar formation; to stimulate blood-vessel formation; and to promote the growth of tissue-specific stem cells. His work has impacted studies and treatment of various human diseases ranging from Multiple Sclerosis and Osteoarthritis to spinal cord injuries to cancer.
Dr. Caplan's warmth and mentorship touched the lives of countless others he trained—shaping the lives of over 150 researchers with his intellect and guidance. His passion extended to sharing his expertise through influential courses, fostering scientific collaboration globally. Honored with many awards including The Marshall R. Urist Award; The Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society Lifetime Achievement Award; and the Case Western Reserve University Faculty Innovator Award. He has over 400 published papers and 20 patents. His contributions shaped the landscape of regenerative medicine.
Beyond the laboratory, Arnold was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, and friend, creating a legacy that extends far beyond scientific achievements. His love for cooking, walks, and deep, meaningful conversations (which often became debates) will be missed by many.
He leaves behind a tapestry of cherished memories, instilling values of love, wisdom, and warmth in the hearts of those who knew him.
Arnold I. Caplan is survived by his loving wife of 58 years, Bonnie, his two children Aaron (Tami) Caplan and Rachel (David) Uram and six wonderful grandchildren, Josh, Andrew, and Brian Caplan and Lyla, Sam, and Bella Uram and his brother Herbert (Barbara) Caplan. He lives on through the countless lives touched by his pioneering work and unending love for family and friends (adapted from Arnold Caplan Obituary - Cleveland Heights, OH).
For all of us in the field of MSC and regenerative medicine, Arnold remains a distinguished scientist, a mentor, and a pioneer, who left an indelible mark on the field and in our lives, during an amazing career that spanned over five decades, gifting us memories, mentorship and friendship.
Rest In Peace, my friend, you will be greatly missed, but never forgotten, and when MSC treatments will become standard of care, they will have your name written all over them.
Dear friends and colleagues,
I am truly honored to be named the 16th President of CTRMS during the 30th anniversary year of the organization with a long and rich history. First and foremost, I would like to extend my heartfelt appreciation to all of the members for entrusting me with this responsibility.
I believe the progress and development of CTRMS are essential to the advancement of medical science. From blood transfusions to pancreatic islet transplantation, hepatocyte transplantation, and regenerative medicine, Cell Transplantation has always played a vital role in the advancement of medicine. It will almost definitely do so in the future.
As the name suggests, our CTRMS will cover all areas related to cell transplantation. We are quite fortunate about this since there is so much to be gained from the studies in areas that are comparable to our expertise but not our specialization. And it is evident that collaborating with outstanding scholars outside your field is far more advantageous than competing in a confined field.
How can an academic organization like our CTRMS contribute to society? It all comes down to making connections. We connect with each other, communicate, exchange new findings, and learn novel technologies on the platform, named CTRMS.
I envision extending our connection to different regions around the globe to advance our organization globally by empowering diversity.
I also envision involving the younger generation by boosting activities. We've all admired the camaraderie of our mentors' generation, and their ability to gather and create memorable experiences with prominent figures from around the world. I aim to offer the next generation similar opportunities and help them create memories with their peers. This desire to connect, to become part of a community, is what drives our organization to expand, foster collaboration, and contribute to science.
At its core, it's about building connections. I hope that two years from now, we can meet in Tokyo and provide a gathering that spans both horizons and generations.
To make this happen, I humbly request your cooperation. Please continue to lend your unwavering support to further the development of CTRMS.
Dr. Toshio Miki
CTRMS President 2023-2025
Nihon University, Japan