SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SCIENTIST: Reason #4 to Buy “Stem Cell Battles”
By Don C. Reed
One reason I wrote “Stem Cell Battles”, my just-released book, was to respond to something said by Mary Wooley, President of Research!America: “Can you name a living scientist?”
The first name which leaps to mind is Einstein, sadly no longer with us.
After him, 15% of folks can name Stephen Hawkings, the great physicist who battles a rare form of Lou Gehrig’s disease.
After Dr. Hawkings? No scientist is recognized by more than one (1) percent of the population. Jane Goodall, the chimpanzee expert—1%. Bill Nye, the Science Guy—1%. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, great popularizer of science, shown on THE BIG BANG THEORY—1%.
I am weak at this myself. How many movie stars can I name? Probably a hundred. Sports figures? A bunch. Politicians? Too many.
But over the past 21 years, as my paralyzed son Roman Reed and I engaged in a quest for cure research, that situation has begun to change.
If you flipped through the pages of my book, you would meet 151 scientists– and those are just the ones with color photographs!
Let’s name a few, people whose daily work is powered by kindness—wanting to ease suffering and save lives.
People like: Shoukhrat Mitalipov, the first person in the world to clone human stem cells. A short, bearlike man with a huge smile, Shoukhrat works in Oregon. Will his work revolutionize the field? I have no idea, but I am glad he had the courage to go against the tide of anti-science ideology, and make cells which might heal a broken body without being rejected by its immune system—and, of course, he is absolutely NOT interested in cloning babies!
Dr. Kathryn Ivey personifies the modern female scientist, an example to be followed (one hopes) by millions of young women as they decide their futures—consider science! Swinging up from Texas, Dr. Ivey earned a training grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and is currently battling heart disease (the number one killer of women) at Gladstone Institute at Mission Bay.
Leukemia and cancer are being fought by champion scientists Catriona Jamieson of UC San Diego, Irv Weissman of Stanford, and John Dick of Canada.
Larry Goldstein of UC San Diego is challenging Alzheimer’s.
Patricia Olson of CIRM keeps a close watch on projects funded, so California gets full bang for every buck.
Leif Havton of UCLA is an expert on the kind of paralysis you get if you break the tail-tip of your spinal column, like if some idiot pulled a chair out from under you and you sat down too hard.
Carmen Domingo directs the “Bridges” program at San Francisco State University, so that students from a low-income bracket have a chance to become scientists.
Jane Lebkowski never wavered in her support of the paralysis research which may one day allow people like my paralyzed son Roman to walk again. Chief Scientist at Geron and now at Asterias Biotherapeutics, she continues on, determination personified.
Want to challenge blindness? Follow the research of Catherine Bowes Rickman of North Carolina.
Tackle end-stage heart failure? Talk to Dr. Joseph Wu of Stanford.
Rockstar of stem cell research? Hans Keirstead, challenging first paralysis and now cancer. Dr. Keirstead flies a helicopter for relaxation, and works with his father to bring medicines to Africa.
Mr. Quiet but Determined? Mark Tuszynski—but his spinal cord injury research findings are not quiet at all, and may change everything.
And what about the financial aspects of long-term injury? Aileen Anderson, director of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, said: “Even a modest improvement (in spinal cord injury) could save $770,000 over the lifetime of one injured patient….”
Dr. Owen Witte reports directly to the President of the United States on progress for cancer research and cure.
These are just a few of the scientists in my book.
They all deserve a standing ovation from the world.
Don C. Reed is the author of “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”.