Don Reed: Stem Cell Battles: Proposition 71 and Beyond

Cover: Stem Cell Battles


Posthumous foreword by Christopher Reeve
Don C. Reed
World Scientific Publishing, Inc., January, 2016, $24.99
ISBN: 9719814618274

Reed reports:

Stem Cell Battles is a series of stories on the people who changed world medicine with a $3 billion citizens’ initiative, Proposition 71, the California Stem Cells for Research and Cures Act of 2004.

When my 19-year-old son Roman became paralyzed in a 1994 college football game, he and I began a personal adventure to find a cure. Roman talked, I wrote; together we helped pass several laws, one of which provided $17 million in state funding for the newly established Roman Reed Lab for stem cell research at UC Irvine.

But this was couch change compared to the need: chronic disease cost America $2.3 trillion in 2014. When Palo Alto realtor Bob Klein announced in 2003 his intention to write and pass Proposition 71 to raise $3 billion for stem cell science, I had to be a part of it. As vice president of his group, Americans for Cures Foundation, I have worked on stem cell matters ever since.

Don Reed

Don Reed

When I discussed my planned book with a science writer friend, Paul Knoepfler, he suggested I contact World Scientific Publishing, headquartered in Singapore.

Because extensive research to cure paralysis is underway in China, I studied Mandarin for several years. When the publisher asked if I could include materials on Asian research, I was able to reach out to Chinese and Singaporean friends. “Wo shuode bu hao.” (I speak very badly!) Even my baby talk was appreciated as an effort, however, and most scientists were kind and cooperative.

I had written nearly 200 articles on stem cell research politics for Huffington Post, and knew many stem cell research scientists. I contacted and interviewed them, wrote their individual chapters, and asked them to fact-check material for accuracy.

I wrote every day for two years to complete the book. It is being considered for translation into Mandarin.

I wrote two children’s plays that were performed as fundraisers for the late Christopher Reeve. The paralyzed Superman was kind enough to volunteer a foreword for the book I told him I intended to write. After becoming a quadriplegic in a horse-riding accident, Reeve became a strong advocate for stem cell research. He filmed a commercial for Prop. 71. He died in 2004, at age 52, just days before the initiative became law.

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May 18, 2016

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