Book Reviews


Stem Cell Battles: Proposition 71 and Beyond (How Ordinary People Can Fight Back against the Crushing Burden of Chronic Disease – with a Posthumous Foreword by Christopher Reeve)

Amazon Shop




“A well-written book on a technical and challenging subject, Stem Cell Battles is a real page-turner.
In my experience as a reference librarian and library manager in my community, I have valued books such as this one that treat a difficult subject in such detail and are readable as well.
The book fills a gap in public library collections, and would be useful in academic collections as well. The author carefully footnotes and documents his material; the reader can see the reliability of the subject coverage, and can easily follow up for further information. The book is appropriate for students doing research, for any general reader, and for anyone who is– or knows– the one in two Americans with an incurable disease or disability.
Since his son Roman Reed’s football accident and paralysis, Reed has devoted his life to stem cell advocacy. He led the effort to create and pass California legislation, the Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act of 1999, which has raised millions for paralysis research. Reed worked with the inspirational Bob Klein to pass California’s Proposition 71 in 2004, establishing the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). Known as “the grandfather of stem cell research advocacy”, Reed currently works as Vice President of Americans for Cures Foundation.
In 71 chapters, plus a 2004 posthumous foreword by Christopher Reeve and several appendices, STEM CELL BATTLES is riveting and well told.
This is a book that I will enthusiastically recommend to friends, family, and colleagues.”
–Sandi Pantages, former Manager, Fremont Main Library, Fremont, California


“ A colorful commentary on the grand stem cell experiment in California – by someone who has been an advocate for, and worked with the agency from the very beginning”

Ellen G. Feigal, M.D., former SVP of Research and Development, California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and current Partner, NDA Partners, LLD.


“Don Reed’s book captures important history in the continuing struggle for rational and caring public policy grounded in sound science. Reed’s deeply personal account is a battlefield dispatch of a citizen-soldier in the political wars that confront the search for cures.”
–Dan Perry, Founder, Alliance for Aging Research; and former president Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research (CAMR).


“Stem Cell Battles: Proposition 71 and Beyond offers the rare blend of science geared for lay readers, discussions of political struggles surrounding that science, and inspirational stories of those who suffer from chronic illness and who look to stem cell research for answers. As such, it’s a highly recommended pick for any involved in stem cell concerns; whether it be from a scientist’s perspective, a politician’s viewpoint, or from a patient seeking relief.

So much has been in the news about stem cell battles that one might expect this book will be redundant; but in actuality the news reports have been widely scattered, are usually quite narrow in scope and approach, and fail to analyze all the concerns in one place.

Stem Cell Battles surveys progress already made, processes in the works, and lives changed as a result, with an eye to exposing innovative programs, sources of discomfort, and how international cooperation has gone hand in hand with stem cell research.

It’s a war unlike any other: a war challenging religious beliefs and ethical, moral, health, and political concerns alike; and it comes from an author who has spent decades raising funds for scientists and defending their freedom to research.

Its focus on California achievements, in particular, lends to a discussion that juxtaposes the personal (including the author’s own struggle with cancer) with the political in a rare, wide-ranging discussion that no health collection should be without. Add insights into how ordinary people can help and you have a key acquisition not to be missed by readers with any degree of interest or curiosity in stem cell research’s promises, controversies, and very human concerns.”

–D. Donovan, Senior Book Reviewer, Midwest Book Reviews


“In 2098, the world will mark 100 years since the first isolation of human embryonic stem cells. Historians of that time undoubtedly will praise the countless stem cell researchers who fought incurable, chronic disease and won—saving lives and transforming medicine in the process.
But they’ll also applaud the efforts of non-scientists like Don Reed, a tenacious advocate for stem cell research and for people living with chronic disease and disability. No doubt those future historians will heavily reference Don’s soon to be released book: STEM CELL BATTLES: Proposition 71 and Beyond: How Ordinary People Can Fight Back Against the Crushing Burden of Chronic Disease. Through first-hand accounts, he chronicles the early battles to get human stem cell research off the ground in California, the progress that’s been made so far and the promise for future therapies.
(The reader will)…enjoy his easy to understand writing style peppered with concrete statistics…
It’s no coincidence the STEM CELL BATTLES will hit the bookshelves on October 14th, World Stem Cell Awareness Day…”

–Todd Dubnicoff, STEM CELLAR, weblog of CIRM, May 28th, 2015


“Don C. Reed is an extraordinarily committed witness and analyst of the events that created California’s Proposition 71 in 2004 and the processes that flowed from implementation of the research into a new therapeutics based on stem cell biology and medical applications for regenerative medicine. In many respects he has lived as an anthropologist within the community of patient advocates that study and analyze the processes, decisions and outcomes of the board of citizens charged to decide how to expend the $3 billion for research and development awarded by the Proposition. He also followed closely the quality of the management team’s recommendations to the board of directors. He has attended far more of the public Independent Citizens Oversight Committee Meetings (board created by the Proposition), their public subcommittee and community presentations than any other single person. His insight and knowledge of the revolution occurring in stem cell science and medicine is astonishing. His optimism for the outcomes of the research is laudatory and his role in describing the history around this game changing community endeavor is a beacon for what can be achieved by all of us getting involved in opportunities created by innovative research. “Hats off “ to Don for caring enough to record these events in such logic, accuracy and detail.”

–Alan Trounson MSc, PhD, LLD
Professor and Distinguished Scientist of the Hudson Institute for Medical Research
Former President, California Institute for Regenerative Medicine
Melbourne, Australia
September, 2015

“In the early years of our new century, significant forces of reaction moved to criminalize, stigmatize and marginalize the advancement of stem cell science. Stem Cell Battles tells the story of the political combat which led to the creation of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Today stem cell research is lawful and funded but that is only so because of the activism of patient advocates like Don Reed. As someone who was there at the beginning I found Don’s book to be insightful, exciting and inspirational. …Stem Cell Battles should be read by any serious student of American civics.”
–Richard Arvedon, advocate, Father of child with Juvenile Diabetes


“Don Reed has shown the way in driving the inspiration and action for stem cell research—to change the course of health care for mankind. His book chronicles the incredible story of how a movement evolved in California and reverberated across America and around the world. Reading STEM CELL BATTLES will restore your faith in the ingenuity of people.”
Bill Remak, Chair/CEO California Hepatitis C Task Force,
Board Member, California Chronic Care Coalition
Double liver transplant recipient


“Don Reed has been the most articulate voice of patient advocacy for stem cell therapies for 10 years. He has a gift for explaining the science to the public, and when he speaks, people listen.”
–Jeanne F. Loring, Ph.D., Professor and Director,
Center for Regenerative Medicine
Department of Chemical Physiology
The Scripps Research Institute


“In his new book STEM CELL BATTLES, Don Reed tells the story of battles across America, including the Lone Star State, to protect stem cell research from legal annihilation. As fellow soldiers in those many fights, Texans like myself, Beckie McCleery, Nina Brown, Ellen Arnold and many more understand and share Don’s work to keep research safe… These chronicles of the critical years will engage anyone who wants to heal the many lives broken by chronic disease.”

–Judy Haley, President, Texans for the Advancement of Medical Research (TAMR).


There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “Book Reviews”

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest