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Thirteen years ago, America faced an epidemic of chronic disease: cancer, paralysis, blindness, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and more.
But California voters said “YES!” to a $3 billion stem cell research program: the awkwardly-named California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). Born into battle, the scrappy little state agency was immediately blocked by three years of anti-science lawsuits — but it defeated them all. And then?
A quiet triumph. With a focused intensity like the Manhattan Project (but for peaceful purposes, not to build a bomb), scientists funded by CIRM took on the challenges: disease and disability called chronic: incurable.
In a series of connected stories, accurate though written to entertain, “California Cures” relates a war: science against disease, with lives on the line. Think what it means for a paralyzed young man to recover the use of his hands, or for a formerly-blind mother to see her teenaged children for the first time!
Do you know the “bubble-baby” syndrome? Infants without a proper immune system typically die young; a common cold can kill. But for eighteen babies in a stem cell clinical trial, a different future: they were cured of their disease.
No one can predict the pace of science, nor say when cures will come; but California is bringing the fight. The reader will meet the scientists involved, the women and men behind the microscope, and share their struggle.
Above all, “California Cures” is a call for action. Washington may argue about the expense of health care (and who will get it), but California works to bring down the mountain of medical debt: stem cell therapies to ease suffering, and save lives.
Will California build on success — and invest $5 billion more in stem cell research?
“We have the momentum”, says author Don C Reed, “We dare not stop short. Chronic disease threatens everyone — we are fighting for your family, and mine!”
Readership: Scientists in biomed field, parents of children with disabilities, soldiers with injuries; Parkinson’s, diabetes and spinal cord injury survivors, science organizations, fundraisers for medical causes; for anyone who has a chronic disease — or who loves someone who does.