The cost of changing lives and the face of medicine



Credit: World Scientific

Never in modern history has the need for medical research been clearer, with COVID-19 roaring just outside our windows.

Fighting such nightmares is why the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) was founded. Begun in 2004 as a US$3 billion citizens’ initiative, Proposition 71, the California stem cell program attempts to ease, alleviate or end “incurable” chronic diseases.

One CIRM-backed technique may be the answer to cancer. That technique removes a protein called CD-47 from deadly cancer stem cells.

But now CIRM’s funding is almost gone, and a decision must be made: should the California stem cell program be funded for an additional S$5.5 billion dollars?

Called the “Grandfather of stem cell research advocacy”, author Don C. Reed has been fighting for funding for 25 years, ever since his son was paralyzed in a college football accident. America’s first stem cell therapy was paid for by a bill named after his son, the Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act of 1999.

In Revolutionary Therapies, Reed argues strongly for CIRM’s renewal. He cites successes like the 50 children who were cured of “bubble baby” disease, the paralyzed patients who recovered upper body function, and a blind woman who sees her twin sons for the first time.

The book makes its point by stories. To illustrate the problems of political division, Reed cites Gustave, the giant man-eating crocodile. The orca-sized reptile killed an estimated 300 people–but was not caught due to Burundi’s civil war.

Few realize the mountainous costs of chronic disease: nearly US$3 trillion dollars were spent on treatment, services and therapy for chronic diseases last year–more than all personal federal income taxes combined. Nearly one in two Americans has one or more chronic diseases. The cost of suffering? Incalculable.

Chronic disease is a personal battle for the author, whose son, Roman Reed, is paralyzed. His sister Patty died of leukemia at the age of 23. And as this is written, Reed’s beloved wife of 50 years, Gloria, is dying of pancreatic cancer.

As the author’s wife has said: “No one should have to suffer like this. Stem cell research must go on.”

Revolutionary Therapies: How the California Stem Cell Program Saved Lives, Eased Suffering — and Changed the Face of Medicine Forever, retails for US$118 / £105 (hard cover) in major bookstores and online. A mobile book edition is also available on eBook platforms like Kindle and iBooks. For more information on the book, visit


About the Author

Don C. Reed has been called the “Grandfather of Stem Cell Research Advocacy” for his decades of commitment, beginning with his citizen-sponsorship of the Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act of 1999, named after his paralyzed son. Don was grassroots organizer for America’s first stem cell research legislation, California’s Senate Bill 253 (D-Ortiz) and others, and worked on the Board of Directors for Bob Klein’s Proposition 71–establishing the US$3 billion California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), and has supported it vigorously ever since. He has won numerous awards for advocacy, including the first Lifetime Achievement Awards from both CIRM and the World Stem Cell Summit.

About World Scientific Publishing Co.

World Scientific Publishing is a leading international independent publisher of books and journals for the scholarly, research and professional communities. World Scientific collaborates with prestigious organisations like the Nobel Foundation and US National Academies Press to bring high quality academic and professional content to researchers and academics worldwide. The company publishes about 600 books and over 140 journals in various fields annually. To find out more about World Scientific, please visit

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