Purchase the book Right to Recover

Right to Recover ~ Winning the Political and Religious Wars Over Stem Cell Research in America presents scientific facts that challenge readers to think for themselves rather than accept political or religious views on stem cell research.


This book is available by request in bookstores nationwide.

RIGHT TO RECOVER is an Award-Winning Finalist in the Current Events: Political/Social of the National Best Books 2007 Awards. Amazon Best-selling book in biomedical category.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Should Religous Beliefs Dictate Stem Cell Legislation?

ARGUING WITH THE CHURCH: Catholic Beliefs to Dictate Stem Cell Program?
by Don C. Reed www.stemcellbattles.com

Religious freedom is a fundamental American right, no matter how foolish that faith may seem to others. If I wanted to worship goldfish, I have the legal right to do so, without being persecuted—but do I have the right to impose Goldfish Worship on others?

My family’s faith (though not my own) is Catholic. Should that religion’s beliefs be required of Baptists, Episcopalians, atheists, Muslims, Presbyterians, Jews, agnostics, Sikhs and Buddhists?

The Catholic Church is trying to force to force its stem cell research policies onto everyone.

This is not a casual attempt, but a world-wide effort, beginning with the Vatican, which recently opined that supporting embryonic stem cell research is an excommunicable offense. Think what that means—that I should literally be condemned to Hell for all eternity for my opinions on medical research?

To me, that is as nonsensical—and cruel—as the religious belief that anesthesia in childbirth was against God’s wishes, because it said in the Bible that “In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children.”

Personally, I have more faith in God than that. For me, the reason God gave us a brain is to think and solve problems. But that is my opinion, and I would not attempt to enshrine it into law.

The reason America separates church and state is because there can never be agreement on something unprovable. How can God be even described, unless we can bring Him/Her/It into the room with us? And if we cannot describe God without arguing, how can we ever hope to agree on religious legislation?

But down through history, the Church has been a power structure, as well as a source of comfort and wisdom. And when it steps into politics, it must not be allowed to go unchallenged.

If religious officialdom forces a law, that affects us all. If you drive into a town where the Churches “persuaded” local officials to require all stores to close on Sundays, and you need to buy a quart of milk, you are out of luck.

And if you live in a state or a country—or a world--- where stem cell research was declared illegal…

In the United Nations, Catholic priests accompanied Bush administration officials as they attempted to impose a world-wide ban on SCNT (Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer, sometimes called therapeutic cloning) an advanced form of stem cell research.

Nationally, the Catholic Church’s and other Religious Right organizations routinely bully and terrify legislators, utterly controlling the Republican Party’s stem cell policy, preventing the passage of even such a moderate and mild law as the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act.

In state after state, the Catholic Church is the center of the anti-research movement.

In Missouri, the church passed out lawn signs opposing Amendment 2 (which said Missouri should not be denied any federally-approved medical research), and let churches be offices for groups which passed out plastic fetuses to children at county fairs, saying this is what embryonic stem cell research is all about.

In California, Catholic churches distributed glossy full-color fliers opposing the science supported by Proposition 71—and every California church receives anti-embryonic research materials routinely, for the priests to intone from the pulpit, and for parishioners to take home with them.

In Michigan, the Church mailed 504,000 anti-research CDs (think of the money—a church which takes a vow of poverty somehow can afford to burn half a million CDs and postage and padded envelopes for one state mailing alone) to the homes of Catholic families.

In Texas, meetings of the legislature are held late at night with little or no public notice—so the Catholic anti-science view can be drummed into the heads of legislators without opposition.

And now, with the experimental “success” of an alternative stem cell technique, their campaign moves into high gear.

Led by the Catholic Church, anti-research forces will try to use the experimental skin cell technique (Induced Pluripotent Stem cells, or IPSc) to shut down embryonic and SCNT research.

Do I exaggerate?

To see the actual open letter from the New York State Catholic Conference revealing the Church’s intent to control stem cell policy and read the rest of this article, please go to www.stemcellbattles.com

Author Attempts Objective View of Stem Cell Research in Book

BY RON WYNN rwynn@nashvillecitypaper.com

Nashville author and speaker Yvonne Perry wanted to separate fact from fiction and investigate the controversy behind stem cell research and understand why it’s become such a divisive issue in America.

Perrys new book Right to Recover: Winning the Political and Religious Wars over Stem Cell Research in America represents more than 600 hours of intensive research coupled with interviews, insights and information from not only doctors and researchers but political and religious figures, plus stories from patients hopeful that their lives can be positively changed through stem cell implants.

Perry will be celebrating the release of her book in a multi-media event tonight at Borders Books & Music, and she acknowledges the volatility of the issue, and adds that while she respects the passion of many involved in the interview, her book represents an objective effort to examine the entire issue and the results of that activity.

“I was very personally moved to get involved and really find out more about stem cell research through meeting a couple of amazing people,” Perry said. “One was the son of Rev. Dan Bloodworth, who suffered a spinal cord injury in 1987. Rev. Bloodworth has spent more than 16 years of his life learning everything he can about stem cell research and sharing that information with anyone willing to listen, and he’s someone who really understands the emotional and religious opposition that in large part has been fueled by misinformation.

“Also while working with Michael Davis on the book From Tragedy to Triumph: A Personal Story about Living with Quadriplegia, that got me even more interested in the healing potential that blastocyst (embryonic) stem cell research offers for not only those with spinal cord injuries, but also Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s cancer, renal failure and other illnesses like heart disease. I wanted to get as many viewpoints as possible, and really do a credible and serious treatment.”

Perrys book has been endorsed by such organizations as Cure Paralysis Now, the Christopher Reeve Foundation and several states’ Parkinson’s foundations.

Among the topics covered in the book are Biblical Support for Blastocystic Research; a point-by-point rebuttal of President Bush’s statement on stem cell research; a look at what cloning has to do with stem cell research; and chapters devoted to national and international research, public opinion, the significance of federal funding, possible cures from stem research and separation of church and state.

Rev. Bloodworth will be speaking as part of tonight’s event, as well as attorney Mary Parker (John Edwards Presidential Campaign), with music from Tom Shinness.

While acknowledging that among current candidates her preference is for John Edwards, due to his statements on behalf of stem cell research, Perry emphasizes that her book was written as an educational and informational tool rather than as a political or advocacy one.

“I want everyone, even those who are opposed to stem cell research, to read the book and see that I’ve put together an objective work on the issue and that we don’t ridicule or demonize the opposition,” Perry said. “I’m very respectful of those who have religious opposition to it, and want to make sure that they fully understand the real situation about stem cell research and exactly what’s happen with blastocystic cell research.”CP

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Fertilized Egg Eligible for Driver's License?

We are indebted to DAILY KOS for bringing this issue to public attention: see article http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/11/14/145659/75

I’m joking about the driver’s license, of course. But there the humor ends.

Read a few sentences from an Associated Press article by P. Solomon Banda, “Court Clears Way for Egg Rights Showdown”, Wednesday, November 14, 2007.

“DENVER (AP) — The Colorado Supreme Court cleared the way Tuesday for an anti-abortion group to collect signatures for a ballot measure that would define a fertilized egg as a person. (emphasis added-dr)…

“If approved by voters, the measure would give fertilized eggs the state constitutional protections of inalienable rights, justice and due process…

"(opponents)… said the measure would hamper in-vitro fertilization and stem cell research and would effectively ban birth control.

“… similar voter-led initiatives or legislative efforts are under way in five other states, including Montana, Georgia, Oregon, Michigan and South Carolina.”

Consider: if a fertilized egg is legally defined as a person, embryonic stem cell research could be considered murder.

Also birth control…

And, of course, all forms of abortion, at any stage.

I have felt for years that the Religious Right was attacking stem cell research for a hidden reason—if they could find a way to call embryonic stem cell research murder, by saying a few cells are the legal equivalent of a person, that would automatically criminalize all forms of abortion.

To stop abortion, they would deny everyone the greatest medical advance in history.

But whatever one’s opinion is on abortion, there is a huge difference between a child growing in the nurturing shelter of a mother’s womb-- and some cells in a dish of water. Implanted in the womb, a blastocyst could become a baby. Stem cells in a Petri dish biologically cannot become a child—I defy any opponent of research to show how a baby can be born in a 5” dish of salt water, or on a microscope slide-- it is physiologically impossible.

This is basic biology. How can there be a pregnancy, unless the fertilized egg implants in the walls of the womb? Without implantation, there is no pregnancy, and no child.

Cells, cells, nothing but cells; stem cell research is nothing but cells.

Eventually, reason will prevail, and the attacks on our research will cease, or at least become so ignored as to have no effect. But that day could be delayed fifty years.

Don Reed

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Opposition Using an Embryonic Stem Cell Advance to Stop Research

You’ve read and heard about adult stem cells being coaxed to become pluripotent. This may (or may not) be a legitimate stem cell success, but is it no reason to shut down embryonic and SCNT research.

I urge you to join Karen Miner and Don Reed this coming Friday, November 30, at the website, www.stemcellbattles.com, and read the essay, “Arguing with the Church.” Friday’s essay, “Arguing with the Church” is about censorship of research. If you agree with it, please pass it along to your friends.

Don C. Reed is co-chair (with Karen Miner) of Californians for Cures, and writes for their web blog, www.stemcellbattles.com. Reed was citizen-sponsor for California’s Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act of 1999, named after his paralyzed son; he worked as a grassroots advocate for California’s Senator Deborah Ortiz’s three stem cell regulatory laws, served as an executive board member for Proposition 71, the California Stem Cells for Research and Cures Act, and is director of policy outreach for Americans for Cures. The retired schoolteacher is the author of five books and thirty magazine articles, and has received the National Press Award.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Ed Fallone, President of Wisconsin Stem Cell Now, Inc. (www.wistemcellnow.org) sent me a press release about a scientific breakthrough in stem cell research. There is now increased reason to believe that researchers can overcome the ethical and religious concerns that have been raised to delay progress in embryonic stem cell research. Perhaps now our elected leaders can rally around a national policy (and increased funding) sufficient to bring the potential of this
research to fruition.



PHOTO EDITORS: High-resolution images are available at

CONTACT: Terry Devitt, (608) 262-8282, trdevitt@wisc.edu


MADISON - In a paper to be published Nov. 22 in the online edition of
the journal Science, a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison
researchers reports the genetic reprogramming of human skin cells to
create cells indistinguishable from embryonic stem cells.

The finding is not only a critical scientific accomplishment, but
potentially remakes the tumultuous political and ethical landscape of
stem cell biology as human embryos may no longer be needed to obtain the
blank slate stem cells capable of becoming any of the 220 types of cells
in the human body. Perfected, the new technique would bring stem cells
within easy reach of many more scientists as they could be easily made
in labs of moderate sophistication, and without the ethical and legal
constraints that now hamper their use by scientists.

The new study was conducted in the laboratory of UW-Madison biologist
James Thomson, the scientist who first coaxed stem cells from human
embryos in 1998. It was led by Junying Yu of the Genome Center of
Wisconsin and the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center.

"The induced cells do all the things embryonic stem cells do," explains
Thomson, a professor of anatomy in the University of Wisconsin School of
Medicine and Public Health. "It's going to completely change the

In addition to exorcising the ethical and political dimensions of the
stem cell debate, the advantage of using reprogrammed skin cells is that
any cells developed for therapeutic purposes can be customized to the

"They are probably more clinically relevant than embryonic stem cells,"
Thomson explains. "Immune rejection should not be a problem using these

An important caveat, Thomson notes, is that more study of the newly-made
cells is required to ensure that the "cells do not differ from embryonic
stem cells in a clinically significant or unexpected way, so it is
hardly time to discontinue embryonic stem cell research."

The successful isolation and culturing of human embryonic stem cells in
1998 sparked a huge amount of scientific and public interest, as stem
cells are capable of becoming any of the cells or tissues that make up
the human body.

The potential for transplant medicine was immediately recognized, as was
their promise as a window to the earliest stages of human development,
and for novel drug discovery schemes. The capacity to generate cells
that could be used to treat diseases such as Parkinson's, diabetes and
spinal cord injuries, among others, garnered much interest by patients
and patient advocacy groups.

But embryonic stem cells also sparked significant controversy as embryos
were destroyed in the process of obtaining them, and they became a
potent national political issue beginning with the 2000 presidential
campaign. Since 2001, a national policy has permitted only limited use
of some embryonic stem cell lines by scientists receiving public

In the new study, to induce the skin cells to what scientists call a
pluripotent state, a condition that is essentially the same as that of
embryonic stem cells, Yu, Thomson and their colleagues introduced a set
of four genes into human fibroblasts, skin cells that are easy to obtain
and grow in culture.

Finding a combination of genes capable of transforming differentiated
skin cells to undifferentiated stem cells helps resolve a critical
question posed by Dolly, the famous sheep cloned in 1996. Dolly was the
result of the nucleus of an adult cell transferred to an oocyte, an
unfertilized egg. An unknown combination of factors in the egg caused
the adult cell nucleus to be reprogrammed and, when implanted in a
surrogate mother, develop into a fully formed animal.

The new study by Yu and Thomson reveal some of those genetic factors.
The ability to reprogram human cells through well defined factors would
permit the generation of patient-specific stem cell lines without use of
the cloning techniques employed by the creators of Dolly.

"These are embryonic stem cell-specific genes which we identified
through a combinatorial screen," Thomson says. "Getting rid of the
oocyte means that any lab with standard molecular biology can do
reprogramming without difficulty to obtain oocytes."

Although Thomson is encouraged that the new cells will speed new
cell-based therapies to treat disease, more work is required, he says,
to refine the techniques through which the cells were generated to
prevent the incorporation of the introduced genes into the genome of the
cells. In addition, to ensure their safety for therapy, methods to
remove the vectors, the viruses used to ferry the genes into the skin
cells, need to be developed.

Using the new reprogramming techniques, the Wisconsin group has
developed eight new stem cell lines. As of the writing of the new
Science paper, which will appear in the Dec. 21, 2007 print edition of
the journal Science, some of the new cell lines have been growing
continuously in culture for as long as 22 weeks.

The new work was funded by grants from the Charlotte Geyer Foundation
and the National Institutes of Health. In addition to Yu and Thomson,
authors of the new study include Maxim A. Vodyanik, Kim Smuga-Otto,
Jessica Antosiewicz-Bourget, Jennifer L. Frane and Igor I. Slukvin, all
of UW-Madison; and Shulan Tian, Jeff Nie, Gudrun A. Jonsdottir, Victor
Ruotti and Ron Stewart, all of the WiCell Research Institute.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Save the Whales, Save the Cells

Georgia has endured a severe lack of rain this summer and their water supply was greatly threatened because water from the lake that contains the state's drinking supply was released by a mandate to save mussels in Florida. I'm all for saving endangered species, but forgive me if I value human life over sea creatures. I realize both are important parts of our ecological balance.

However, I cannot understand why anyone who says they are pro-life would deny humans a chance for a better life through treatments and technology that may arise through blastocystic stem cell research. Why would they give preference to a clump of cells in a laboratory dish over living, breathing human beings? They do not have the scientific facts. They wrongly believe that embryos exist in a lab dish.

These right-wing religious groups want you to picture a tiny baby with recognizable arms and legs, little fingers and toes swimming in amniotic fluid. However, the truth is, IVF eggs are a clump of microscopic cells with no identity. DNA is found in every cell of our body, so having DNA is certainly not a qualifying factor to say that a cell is equal to a human being.

A fertilized egg does not equal pregnancy. Pregnancy occurs only when conception is complete. Conception requires that a blastocyst implant itself in the uterine lining (inside a woman, not in a lab dish). Pregnancy or conception is confirmed by testing hCG levels in the mother's blood.

"Save the eggs, Save the cells, save nascent life!" right-wingers advocate. I agree:

Let's save the eggs, save the leftover blastocyst cells
that are currently being flushed down the drain or placed in biohazard bags in in vitro fertilization clinics. Save the nascent life of these cells by releasing the date limiting funding for research and let's see what a real "Pro-life" is all about. Human life is the real endangered species.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Judge a Book By It's Cover: Right to Recover by Yvonne Perry

This interview with author Yvonne Perry was conducted by Judge a Book by its Cover. This blog is all about the cover of the book. Click here to read the original interview.

Judge: Did you design the cover?
Yvonne: No

Judge: Did your publisher design the cover?
Yvonne: Yes

Judge: Did you get to give any input about the cover design?
Yvonne: Yes

Judge: Is there an interesting story behind the cover design? If so, please share the details.
Yvonne: My publisher works with the subtle messages a picture or design implies. She assures me this cover makes the appropriate statement and conveys a message.

Judge: Who is the cover artist?
Yvonne: I have no idea. My publisher came up with all the photos and the layout.

Judge: Are you happy with the cover?
Yvonne: Yes, over all.

Judge: If not, what would you change and why?
Yvonne: The subtitle lettering is hard to read and messes with my eyes. Maybe it is supposed to do that.

Judge: Tell us what you think is the best part of the cover.
Yvonne: I like the colors and the photos in the middle group.

Judge: Please provide your website link.
Yvonne: www.right2recover.com

Judge: What is the link to buy your book?

Yvonne: The book is available by request in all major bookstores. It is available online many places, but these are the most popular ones:


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Cord blood treatment does it again!

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding stem cells, but there is even more reason to hope that they hold the potential to curing and treating many illnesses and conditions.

Today my Illinois friend, Mary Schneider, told me about a friend of hers whose little boy, Dallas, had been suffering from cerebral palsy. Like Mary's own son, Ryan, this mother banked her son's cord blood at birth. Both boys have had a treatment using their own stem cells. Both boys are showing remarkable improvement.

Here is an article that may be living proof that stem cells can have remarkable results.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Meet Author Yvonne Perry

The month of September sure has been a great one here at The Book Connection. Today the spotlight on talented writers continues as the multi-faceted Yvonne Perry joins us to chat about her new book Right to Recover: Winning the Political and Religious Wars Over Stem Cell Research in America. Yvonne is a freelance writer, author, and keynote speaker who enjoys assisting people on a spiritual path. She is also the owner of Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services—a team of freelance writers located in Nashville, Tennessee.

Welcome to The Book Connection, Yvonne. What a great thrill it is to have you with us. Let’s start by getting to know more about you. How long have you been a writer? What made you choose this career path? How do your many other roles influence your writing?

Thank you for having me as your guest. It’s a pleasure to share with you. I’ve been a writer all my life, but I’ve been in business as a freelance writer since 2003. I was using my writing skills on the job as an administrative/executive assistant on corporate jobs I have held, and I got a lot of compliments on my writing. I decided to take a chance and see if there were people out there willing to hire me to write for them. My roles as a podcast host and public speaker definitely come in handy in promoting my book. My newsletter and blog serve as informational resources for anyone interested in writing, publishing or book publicity and it also offers me a way to connect with people looking for a writer or editor and to share my journey as an author. All writing contains somewhat of a spiritual slant, since I am unable to separate my body, mind, spirit from one another because they are all interconnected. Mind, body and spirit all work together in business—from manifesting what I want to create—to taking care of my body by knowing when to take a break from work and find balance in life.

Your author’s bio says your “open style is lovingly controversial and challenges people’s belief systems in order to help them grow spiritually.” How do you present controversial topics in a way that doesn’t automatically cause people to become defensive about their beliefs?

Sometimes you have to offend someone’s mindset before they will open up enough to view other options. I try to do that without offending the person or their integrity. Because I have been a religious fanatic in the past, I understand where right-wing ultra-conservative people are coming from, so I use my knowledge of Biblical scripture to approach them on their own terms without condemning them. I present both sides of the stem cell issue. Those who are the least bit open minded will appreciate the logic and educational information presented in my book.

The topic of stem cell research certainly is a controversial one. It is a subject that is sure to come up again in the 2008 presidential election. When did you decide to tackle the subject of stem cell research? Is it something that you’ve been interested in for a long time?

Before I form an opinion on an issue, I like to be sure I know enough to support my position. I decided to learn more about stem cell research when I had two clients mention the topic to me. This was in July 2006 when President Bush vetoed H.R. 810. I couldn’t understand why he was so against science and the potential of blastocystic (embryonic) stem cell research. As I began to dig for information, I realized that there was a lot of misinformation out there. Listening to my inner guidance, I embarked on writing a book using the information and contacts I had gathered during my research. When I found a publisher to represent me, she emphasized the timeliness of the topic as it correlated with the 2008 election campaigns.

Let’s talk about Right to Recover. According to the Table of Contents, there is a great deal of information included in its pages. How did you go about deciding what to put into this book?

Like with any book I write, whether for a client or under my own name, I look for ways to organize the material that I feel needs to go in the book. I knew there was a political and a religious component to the issue of stem cell research so both of those would have to be addressed. Understanding that science in one nation affects progress in all nations, I knew I needed to present both national and international material. I know a lot of people who might benefit from therapies resulting from stem cell research, and I wanted to get their stories and opinions. I’ve believed for a long time that our government has too much control over the freedoms we say we have in the US, so I decided to approach the Church and State issue. From there, it was a matter of deciding in what order to put the information.

How much of the research for Right to Recover was done before you started writing? What types of information did you verify or re-check after you began writing it?

I did a few weeks of research and decided there was enough information out there to write a book, but rather than just repeating what was already on the Internet, I wanted to add a personal component by offering interviews with the scientists who are actually doing the research. As I began writing, one person I interviewed would suggest I speak to another person, and as I interviewed that person they would mention another person in the field. When I connected with Don C. Reed of California’s Proposition 71, he put me in contact with political, medical, and religious experts who offered me a wealth of information. Don Reed is also a former editor, who helped me “hone my voice” and present my message clearly.

One of those persons is Frank Cocazzelli, author of “By the Better Angels of Our Nature,” which is a plan of action to revive centrist liberalism. Mr. Cocozzelli is a private practice New York City attorney afflicted with muscular dystrophy. He is a political advocate for expanded blastocyst stem cell research that could conceivably help him walk again. As a liberal Catholic, Frank speaks on issues of progressive faith.

Shane Smith, Ph.D. Science Director of the Children’s Neurobiological Solutions Foundation (advocate for California’s Proposition 71) took time out of his busy schedule to review my facts and help me edit the entire book.

There are three chapters that caught my eye as I browsed the Table of Contents--Chapter 3. BIBLICAL SUPPORT FOR BLASTOCYSTIC RESEARCH, Chapter 4. SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE, and Chapter 5. REBUTTAL OF BUSH’S STATEMENT. I would like to talk separately about each.

I read through the Bible verses noted in the Table of Contents. 1 Corinthians 3:9-11, Ephesians 3:20, and also Ephesians 2:10 could perhaps be construed as Biblical support for stem cell research, but I struggled to find any connection between stem cell research and the Bible in the other verses mentioned. Can you briefly share with us how those connections were made in Right to Recover? How did religious leaders lead you to Biblical support of stem cell research? Were these leaders from a variety of organized religions?

Reverend Dan Bloodworth attended Rhema Bible College in order to better understand how right wing groups support their beliefs against blastocystic stem cell research His education led him to believe that stem cell research and any subsequent therapy is a gift from God.

Hosea 4:6
"My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children."

Dan uses this verse to show that ignorance about a topic causes people to perish when the answer to their problem is right under their noses.

Malachi 3:6
“I, the LORD, do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.”

If God cannot change, and we need blood to be born the second time (Dan is referring to salvation through the blood of Jesus), then we can’t be born without blood the first time (natural birth).

John 1:13
"Children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God." (NIV)

Not of the flesh, not of human desire, nor of the blood but of the Holy Spirit. (KJV)

In other words, neither the flesh act (coitus) nor the desire to get pregnant, and not even the appearance of blood guarantees that life will begin. Life only comes if the Holy Spirit deems it to be. Some time after blood appears, the Holy Spirit enters the womb and purposes whether or not the potential life is to become a live human baby. The blood must be present before this takes place. Remember, God is always the same. He doesn’t do things one way one time and another way the next.

John 6:62-65
"------The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe. For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him." He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.”

God gives life, not the body. Humans look at the flesh and not at the spirit, which gives life. Cells have life, but no consciousness.

I Corinthians 2:4-5
"My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power."

God always shows us an example of his greatness and the way he wants us to go. When a medical discovery is made, a loving God would want us to use it as a tool for healing, not as a subject for debate.

James 1:17
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."

Stem cell technology, in the limited way we know it now, is a great gift for, and to, humankind. The future of stem cell technology is great. Imagine being on the donor list and being able to receive a heart without another person having to die in order to donate it. The heart and other organs may be created in a laboratory one day. Where do good gifts come from? How faithful will we be to use our God-given skills, abilities, and gifts to help others?

John 12:24
"I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds."

My grandmother and I raised a garden together for many years. When we were planting the seeds each spring, she would always remind me to plant four seeds to each hole we dug: two for the birds, one for the weather, and one for us. Even with our generous planting regime, we nearly always had to replant a second time to fill in the holes where none of the seeds survived.

Going back to nature, let’s compare a plant seed to a fertilized egg. Both a seed and a zygote hold the potential for reproducing life. When a seed is planted into the ground, it begins to draw nourishment from the soil. This can be considered the conception or beginning of life. It is the same with a fertilized egg. It must be implanted in a woman’s womb in order to become an organism. From this, we see that fertilization and conception are not synonymous and do not occur at the same time.

In order to determine whether we are talking about the beginning of cell division or the beginning of a pregnancy, we need to be reminded of the difference between fertilization and conception.

Fertilization of a human egg may occur in the fallopian tube or in-vitro by scientific means. It takes only a few hours after the sperm and ovum unite to start the process of cell division.

Conception occurs when a fertilized egg, which has become a blastocyst, implants itself into the uterine lining and begins to draw nourishment from the mother. This can be confirmed by testing hCG levels.

Thus, we correctly use the term “in-vitro fertilization” but not “in-vitro conception.” Be aware of the indispensable role of a woman in childbirth. Without a mother’s womb, there is no baby.

Chapter 4 discusses the issue of religious tolerance. What does religious tolerance mean to you? Why is it an important topic for this book?

Religious tolerance means that we can accept another person’s belief system or religion even when it differs from our own. Religion has caused many wars throughout history and until we learn to look past what separates us and begin to see what connects us, we will continue to have fighting and physical struggle.

This chapter also talks about the Nicene Creed. As a former Catholic, I am familiar with this creed. What is the role of the Nicene Creed in stem cell research?

The Nicene Creed is used as part of a detailed history of how the Church and religion came to be intertwined.

Chapter 5 of Right to Recover appears to address comments made by our president, George W. Bush. Its topics include the Sixth Commandment—Thou Shalt Not Kill; the issue of being Pro-Life yet Anti-stem cell research; and what is death, to name a few. I’m reminded of something I once heard about The Federalist Papers versus The Anti-Federalist Papers, which was how it is much easier to be in favor of something than against it. Did you ever fear coming out against these statements?

I realize that I have put myself in an uncomfortable position and will have to stand strong on my convictions when promoting my book.

You’ve also included chapters on the public opinion surrounding stem cell research and the importance of Federal Funding. Can you talk briefly about each of these?

There are two issues here because we are looking at two factors: in-vitro blastocyst stem cell research in general and the funding of such by using taxpayer dollars. In the surveys I reviewed, about 65 to 70 percent of Americans support blastocyst stem cell research in general, but only about 50 percent want their tax dollars used for the research. Even President Bush is not against blastocystic stem cell research, he is limiting the date that the cell lines were created to be before August 2001. As you may know, many of the “Bush-approved” lines have been contaminated with mouse feeder cells and cannot be used for research on humans. The technology used for harvesting blastocyst stem cells has improved greatly since 2001. What is so significant about a date? If the U.S. is willing to fund research on a limited number of IV-Bs, then why not fund research on all of them?

Researchers say that the Bush-approved lines are hard to work with, and most stem cell researchers won’t bother trying to grow new lines from them in the lab. The knowledge of how to work with the old lines is obsolete, and researchers who are new to this field do not have the “old” knowledge. Instead, they possess cutting-edge and up-to-date skills in working with newer lines that are easier to work with because they renew more quickly for reproducibility. These new lines would include diversity in race and genetic types.

Both H.R. 810 (2006) and The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act (2007) would have released hundreds of new lines of in vitro blastocyst stem cells to be used for research regardless of the date they were created. Scientists don’t need a higher quantity of cells; they need higher quality cells.

The private sector has been funding blastocystic stem cell research under restrictive conditions for years, and, while we have seen tremendous progress, a lack of greater funds definitely limits advancement toward a cure for any ailment. Compare that to the medical technology we now have available with adult stem cells and you will see how much government funding helps in developing new treatments for disease.

Federal funding will allow more scientists around the world, including our nation’s most prominent researchers, to conduct research that will hasten the discovery of therapies, drugs, and treatments for a gamut of illnesses and injuries. Federal funding will ensure collaboration and information sharing among researchers and will lessen the overall costs of doing research. Efforts would no longer need to be duplicated in separate labs that isolate research conducted through federal funds from research conducted through non-federal funding.

Where can readers find a copy of Right to Recover?

Amazon.com, Nightengalepress.com; Barnesandnoble.com, Target.com, many online bookstores, and in all major book retail stores.

I hope I haven’t overwhelmed you with so many questions. What can I say—I’m a writer with a curious mind. Is there anything else you would like to add?

I hope you will check out my blog at http://www.right2recover.com/. There are essays, articles, links, video trailers, surveys and a lot of information about stem cell research you might be interested in.

Thanks for sharing so much about how Right to Recover came into being and the research and opinions that shaped it. I wish you continued success in all your endeavors.

Thank you. It is a privilege to share with you and your readers.

Click here to read the original interview.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Does the Religious Right Believe It's Own Propaganda?

This was sent to me by Don C. Reed. His son, Roman, suffers from spinal cord injury. SCI is one of the conditions for which researchers hope to find treatment using stem cell research.

Remember when President Bush’s spokesperson Tony Snow said the President considered embryonic stem cell research murder?

MR. TONY SNOW: The president believes strongly that for the purpose of research it is inappropriate for the federal government to finance something that many people consider murder. He is one of them. The simple answer is he thinks murder is wrong.”

A few days later Mr. Snow “backpedaled” saying he had “overstepped his brief”, that the President had not called the research “murder” but only “destruction of human life,” thereby allowing the original anti-research message to be repeated world-wide.

Similarly, at the ceremony where he vetoed the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, Mr. Bush stated that he objected to the legislation because it "would support the taking of innocent human life…."

Many times, Mr. Bush has used the power of his office to voice the Religious Right argument against ESCR: that it (allegedly) kills babies. The Religious Right bullies Congress with this constantly: threatening massive voter retaliation on anyone who dares to support Embryonic Stem Cell Research (ESCR)—which they equate to abortion.

You and I know this is a lie. Stem cell research is cells, cells, nothing but cells. There are neither moms nor babies involved-- except maybe, someday, people being healed.

Does the Religious Right believe its own propaganda?

Take a look at a straw poll of more than five thousand of the Religious Right’s most ardent true believers, the most faithful of the faithful, the “Values Voters” on Don Reed’s Web site: Click Here to Read More.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I meet the nicest people online!

I virtually met Denis English, Ph.D. through my publicist, Chuck Whiting while issuing invitations to my book signing. Denis is the Professor of Neurosurgery at University of South Florida College of Medicine in Tampa, FL. He is also the Founding Editor for Stem Cells and Development, which by the way has some excellent articles on stem cell research and development.

Denis and I corresponded by email and got to know one another and the work we do for the stem cell cause. I will share some essays written by Denis in future postings.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Inspired Author Interview

Promotional Interview with Yvonne Perry posted September 16th, 2007 by Nikki Leigh litekepr on The Street Smarts Marketing Blog.

The Street Smarts Marketing Blog is for speakers, trainers, authors, consultants and entrepreneurs who want to influence the lives of others with your knowledge through books, information products and presentations - and make lots of money doing it. Strong emphasis on gaining visibility, market reach and credibility through effective Internet marketing.
You have been invited to share you experience with our readers.

Tell us about yourself – where you are from, how you got started writing, what you do when you are not writing (or anything you want our readers to know)

I was raised in Norcross, a Northeast suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. A whole new world opened up for me when I learned to read and write, and I remember my first grade teacher having me show my interpretive expression to the entire class when she caught me privately mimicking the gesture Jane was making in our Dick and Jane readers. I was so involved in the story, I had become the character!

In high school, I had a creative writing teacher named Miss Hallford, who consistently told me that I had a gift for writing. Even though I burned my right hand in a grease fire during my senior year, I made an A in her class by writing my assignments with my left hand. Writing was therapy for me then, and I still carry her encouragement with me 30 years later.

What inspired you to write your first book?

I was going through a difficult time in my life and used my writing as an outlet for release. I hid my pain and frustration with humor as I shared my predicament via daily emails to the friends I had left behind in other states. They kept telling me I should write a book using these stories about raising teenagers, going through divorce and nearly caving in during mid-life crisis. So, I did. I gathered all the emails into a file and started compiling Email Episodes, my first book self-published in 2004.

How many books have you written?

I have personally written or co-authored four non-fiction books and twelve children’s books. I’ve doctored (rewritten, ghosted or performed substantial editing) eight books, and I’ve edited/proofread two more.

How do you decide on their topic?

If it is a client’s book, the topic is already chosen. If it is my own book, I go with an inspired idea and work it into my schedule around client projects.

What works best to keep you focused and on track?

I am extremely self-directed and self-motivated. I am able to multi-task and accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. My problem is, I am so driven I have to make myself take a break

Do you write to make money or for the love of writing?

Both. I love what I do, but I also get paid for writing and editing books, articles, newsletter, brochure and Web site text.

What are some traditional methods of marketing you have used to gain visibility for you and your book(s)?

Media releases, radio shows, and book reviews to major reviewers. I’ve also hired a book publicist to arrange local book tours and speaking engagements.

What are some unique methods?

Networking groups, newsletters, virtual book tours, book trailer, article marketing and blogging.

Do you sell through a website?

Do you plan on writing additional books?

Yes, for clients. I plan to focus on marketing RIGHT TO RECOVER Winning the Political and Religious Wars over Stem Cell Research in America before I write any more titles using my own name.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Umbilical Cord Blood Can Save a Child’s Life

Mary Schneider was interviewed by Fox Network in Chicago about how stem cells made a difference in her son’s life. Another woman claims her life has been saved by cord blood stem cells. This interview is a must-see!

Here’s why you should save your child’s cord blood when you deliver your baby.
An Illinois friend of mine is a mother named Mary Schneider. She banked her son Ryan’s cord blood when he was born. Within a year or so Ryan was showing moderate signs of cerebral palsy. By age two, the child only weighed 25 pounds and was unable to eat. His upper body strength was severely decreased, and he had only a two-word vocabulary. After nine months of speech therapy, his vocabulary consisted of 40 words, but he still had no sentence structure. Only close family members could understand him. Mary worried that her son’s condition would only get worse.

Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg introduced stem cells from Ryan’s own cord blood to his body through a 20-minute intravenous drip of stem cells in the back of his hand. This was followed by two hours of saline drip to nudge the cells through his system. The cells then instinctively knew how to find their place and begin repair and regeneration. Within a week Ryan was showing progress and continued to improve in the weeks and months afterward.

Eight months after the infusion, the dexterity in Ryan’s hands and arms returned. Today the 4-year-old boy speaks clearly in coherent sentences and is at normal weight for his age group. He is testing at normal or even above average levels in motor skill tests. Since there are so few studies on cord blood infusion, it can’t be considered a proven treatment; therefore, insurance companies typically refuse to pay for the procedure.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Stem Cell Research and Autism

Leonard Smith, M.D., is a renowned gastrointestinal, vascular and general surgeon as well as an expert in the use of nutrition and natural supplementation. His research on stem cell therapy as an autism treatment is ground breaking, but he still believes that it is only one part of conquering the autism epidemic.

Donna Gates and Dr. Leonard Smith are teaming up to create a better solution for autism that combines stem cell therapy with a healing Body Ecology diet and lifestyle program. Donna has been collaborating with Dr. Leonard Smith, who along with six other colleagues authored a research paper called Stem Cell Therapy for Autism. Dr. Smith and Donna Gates are excited about how stem cell therapy, the Body Ecology program and some simple lifestyle changes can heal children with autism.

Read more here:

Monday, November 12, 2007


Before I begin today’s column, I have to squelch a rumor. The rumor is that… MICHAEL J. FOX will be doing a radio commercial in support for the New Jersey Stem Cell Research Bond Act. Obviously, this would be the best possible news.

But it is not a rumor—it is the TRUTH!

The star of BACK TO THE FUTURE has once more stepped up to the bat for all of us. Go to www.NJforhope.org, and listen to our own Michael J. Fox speaking truth to power. (And while you are there, considering clicking on the “contribute” bar. Hang on a minute, I am going to do the same--

Okay, I am back. I just listened to Michael J. Fox speaking, and was so moved that I also clicked on the “contribute” button at the top—and I contributed (drum roll, please) $100, because I want Michael’s message to go out—he is donating his time for free, but the airtime to play that ad must be paid for.

Meanwhile, back to the present…

Sunday, November 11, 2007

RIGHT TO RECOVER reaches #2 on Amazon.com

November 11, 2007 Product Details for RIGHT TO RECOVER, Winning the Political and Religious Wars Over Stem Cell Research in America

  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Publisher: Nightengale Press; 1 edition (October 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933449411
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933449418
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon.com Sales Rank: #51,426 in Books (See Bestsellers in Books)

    Popular in these categories: (What's this?)

    #3 in Books > Professional & Technical > Engineering > Bioengineering > Biomedical Engineering
    #4 in Books > Professional & Technical > Medical > Basic Sciences > Biotechnology
    #4 in Books > Science > Medicine > Special Topics > Biotechnology


Simon & Schuster, Penguin-Putnam, HarperCollins, Random House,Houghton Mifflin Co., John Wiley & Sons & Hundreds of Independent Titles Score Top Honors in the 4th Annual National “Best Books” Awards

LOS ANGELES – USABookNews.com, the premiere online magazine and review website for mainstream and independent publishing houses, announced the winners and finalists of THE NATIONAL “BEST BOOKS” 2007 AWARDS (BBA) on November 1, 2007. Over 500 winners and finalists were announced in over 140 categories covering print, audio books & courses, e-books and interactive CD-ROMs. Awards were presented for titles published in 2007 and late 2006.

Jeffrey Keen, President and CEO of USABookNews.com, said this year’s contest yielded an unprecedented number of entries, which were then narrowed down to over 500 winners and finalists.

Award highlights include the following:

  • Yvonne Perry, Author of RIGHT TO RECOVER Winning the Political and Religious Wars over Stem Cell Research in America is the Award-Winning Finalist in the Current Events: Political/Social of the National Best Books 2007 Awards. A complete list of the winners and finalists of the USABookNews.com National “Best Books” 2007

  • The Secret by Rhonda Byrne (Simon & Schuster - Atria Books) snagged Best Self-Help: Motivational Book

  • Clive Barker’s highly-entertaining, recently released Mister B. Gone (HarperCollins) was honored in the Horror category

  • The Personality Code: Unlock the Secret to Understanding Your Boss, Your Colleagues, Your Friends…and Yourself by Travis Bradberry (Putnam) topped the Business Career category

  • Indie Title, The Vengeance Trap by Axel & Linda Hansen (Ophir Publishing) won the General Fiction category

  • White Heat by Cherry Adair (Ballantine Books) took home the Best Mystery/Suspense prize

  • The First Commandment by Brad Thor (Simon & Schuster - Atria Books) was awarded hottest Thriller/Adventure

  • Acclaimed Artist & Author Thom Bierdz won multiple categories for his self-published autobiography, Forgiving Troy: The Art-o-Biography of Thom Bierdz. Named as one of the must-read books of 2007 by USA Book News.

  • Full results listing available online at www.USABookNews.com
Keen says of the awards, now in their fourth year, “The 2007 results represent a phenomenal mix of books from a wide array of publishers throughout the United States. As an executive in the publishing PR and marketing industry and president and CEO of JPX Media, I wanted to create an awards competition that recognized books in their publication year rather than months after the original launch window. With a full publicity and marketing campaign promoting the results of BBA, this year’s winners and finalists will gain additional media coverage for the upcoming holiday retail season.”

Winners and finalists traversed the publishing landscape: Simon & Schuster, Penguin-Putnam, HarperCollins, Random House, McGraw-Hill, Houghton Mifflin Co., John Wiley & Sons & hundreds of independent titles contributed to this year’s outstanding BBA competition. Keen adds, “BBA’s success begins with the enthusiastic participation of authors and publishers and continues with our distinguished panel of industry judges who bring to the table their extensive editorial, PR, marketing, and design expertise.”

USABookNews.com is an online publication providing coverage for books from mainstream and independent publishers to the world online community. USABN Magazine Online is the monthly electronic magazine e-mailed free to a large cross-section of the book buying public. JPX Media, in Los Angeles, California, is the parent company of USABookNews.com.

Jeffrey Keen, President & CEO of JPX Media, is available for television, radio, and press interviews nationwide to talk about the National “Best Books” 2007 Awards and other publishing industry topics. Contact 800-733-6511 or email jpxmedia@earthlink.net for schedule availability.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Stem cell cosmetic cream

A friend sent me an article yesterday. It was actually an ad from MORE Magazine for Amatokin--a stem cell cosmetic cream. The cream does not actually have stem cells in it; the technology simply uses "polypeptides and enzymes to awaken the body's own reservoir of stem cells to rejuvenate the skin and make you look younger" so the ad states.

While researching for my book, Right to Recover, I came across some information about cosmetic companies that were being influenced by stem cell technology. It was just beginning to be explored at the time. I'm sure many more cosmetic manufacturers will follow suit.

I am glad to know that stem cell technology awareness is advancing to the consumer level. I say this because getting those forbidden words “stem cells” in front of customers lessens the mystery and controversy surrounding this valuable science and makes the term more acceptable; which in turn, I hope will bring federal funding for medical research using all types of stem cells .

Friday, November 9, 2007


On November 6th, women of New Jersey will fight to protect their children, their families—and their own freedom—by voting to support the New Jersey Stem Cell Research Bond Act: WWW.NJFORHOPE.ORG

What do stem cells have to do with women’s freedom?

You already know. Just ask yourself one question: in a typical family, if someone is injured or becomes ill, on whom does the extra work fall?

All too often—most of the time!-- it is the woman who gets stuck with the chores of caregiving.

It is not right.

But it is reality.

Now, if the illness is a temporary one, like a common cold or the flu, the unfairness is temporary too. Everybody is a little extra careful around Mom, short-tempered because she is working like two people, but in a few days everything gets back to normal.

But what if the sickness or injury is chronic: an incurable condition?

Two people’s lives are crippled: the sufferer, and the caregiver.

Slavery is not too strong a word for what the permanent caregiver endures. To have no life of your own, to become the limbs and body of the one you love, to endure agonies of exhaustion, when the back burns with the constant bending and lifting; when the mind goes half-crazy from interrupted sleep, the endless getting up in the night to turn a loved one over in the bed because they are paralyzed and cannot do it; the anguish of having to give pain to a loved one because a catheter has to be inserted, or a gloved hand must reach up into the intestinal tract, and it hurts them—and also there is the secret shame and guilt of resenting him or her… and sometimes in our darkest hours, we may even finding ourselves half-wishing he or she-- or we ourselves-- would die, so the suffering could just stop.

But then the morning comes, and the caregiver gets up somehow, and goes on, dragging herself from chore to chore for endless years, even as her own health breaks down.

It is not enough to say, oh, well, she married him, she took the marriage vows.

And it is never right to say, this is a woman’s lot, this is what a woman is expected to do!

Especially not when we may have it in our power to end their suffering.

But since when have women ever had it fair?

Read more on Don Reed’s site: www.stemcellbattles.com

Thursday, November 8, 2007

WHY WE FIGHT: A New Jersey Mother's Words

As you know, New Jersey is fighting an uphill battle to win funding for stem cell research. On November 6th, just a few short days from now, that state will decide if it should spend $45 million a year for ten years toward that goal. (for more information, go to www.njforhope.org.)

According to a just-released study, the Seneca Study from Rutgers University, the annual financial cost to residents will be a (literally) a nickel a year per person, about 4.5 cents each. The financial benefits to an enhanced biomedical industry could be huge, the study points out, in numbers that make my eyes glaze over.

But that’s not why we are fighting.

If you live in New Jersey, you probably already know the Riccio family: a name that makes one stop, and take a breath, and nod, as when someone you respect passes by. Tricia Riccio is the mother of Carl, and she feels about her son the way Gloria feels about Roman, the way we all feel about our loved ones.

The love a parent feels about their son or daughter is universal-- but how we each react in a crisis is very individual. And folks, if you are ever in a fight for your life, you want someone like Tricia Riccio on your side.

Here she is:

“On February 22, 2003 my son Carl Riccio suffered a severe spinal cord injury while competing in a high school wrestling match, leaving him a quadriplegic. I don’t think I can put into words the emotions that a parent goes through when faced with something like this. Carl’s dreams for his future were immediately derailed by this tragic accident. We found out the only hope for a cure is in stem cell research. Carl has been strong enough to go on with his life and attends Villanova University where he lives a life as close as possible as any other college student. His dreams for the future include the hope that he will be cured of paralysis, so we must support stem cell research of all kinds."

“Since that day, I have dedicated myself to three goals: Helping my family cope with this unthinkable tragedy, raising awareness of the extraordinary potential of stem cell research to transform lives, and fighting to ensure that New Jersey invest the funds needed to advance this cutting edge science from hope to reality. I believe that we must arm our scientists with the resources they so desperately need in order to find the cures that we so desperately need."

“I want my son to walk again, and to run. I want him to be able to throw a ball and to catch it. I want him to become a father and a grandfather. I want my son to be able to swim in the ocean, and to be independent in his care. I want him to be able to feel the warmth of someone’s hand holding his. I want my son to have his life back. "

“These are my reasons, and if you ask a parent of a child with diabetes or cancer,
they will give you other reasons, probably different than mine, but really all the same. "

“I thank God every day that I have my son. We are fortunate to be living in
today's times with today's resources. Only a decade ago, there was no such hope for victims of Spinal Cord Injury. Now, because of stem cell research and the wonderful scientists who dedicate their lives to finding cures, there is hope..... REAL HOPE."

Forever hopeful,
Tricia Riccio

Why should New Jersey fund stem cell research? Carl Riccio is one very good reason; and so is someone you love.

Right now, the campaign to pass stem cell research in New Jersey is struggling. The polls show us LOSING by a hair… I don’t know what your politics are, and I don’t really care. But I am old enough to remember losing a couple elections that were so close—and I remember the consequences of those losses—and I don’t want to lose HALF A BILLION DOLLARS FOR STEM CELL RESEARCH for lack of a few lousy campaign fund bucks. Click on www.njforhope.org to contribute to this cause.

Don Reed

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

$450 Million Research Bill Denied in New Jersey

The New Jersey Stem Cell Research Bond Act lost by a vote of 53% to 47% yesterday.

According to Don Reed (www.stemcellbattles.com) the campaign director, Russ Oster gave it everything he had, but the Religious Right with their powerful influence used great sums of money from anti-tax organizations to influence the vote.

The opposition spent about a $1 million on their campaign attacking blastocystic stem cell research. For the past six years they have used pulpit homilies, TV commercials, radio and print ads, glossy fliers and handouts, paid lobbyists and lawn signs to keep people from their right to recover.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

New Jersey People of Faith in Favor of Blastocystic Stem Cell Research

The national group, People of Faith for Stem Cell Research, is reaching out in support of the New Jersey Stem Cell Research Bond Act! Here is the e-mail which was sent to their membership.

Dear Signer of the "People of Faith for Stem Cell Research" petition,

We began the petition (www.pfaith.org) in favor of stem cell research a couple of years ago. Thank you for joining many thousands of Americans across the country in signing that petition, thereby voicing your support for this potentially life-saving research.

We send email to signers very rarely, but we feel that this is a crucial moment -on Tuesday, November 6th, those who live in New Jersey will have the opportunity to vote in favor of the New Jersey Stem Cell Research Bond Act. If you don't already know about this ballot proposal, please visit www.njforhope.org.

We fervently request that you give your support to this measure. And that you ask everyone you know to vote in favor too. This legislation will help to make New Jersey a leader in the search for stem cell therapies through public funding of the research.

Scientists understand that potential effective remedies for many illnesses are locked inside stem cells. As New Jersey advocates say, "Putting New Jersey on the cutting edge of stem cell research means hope for millions and a tremendous boon to the economy of New Jersey. "

Many people in New Jersey may not be aware that this matter is going to be on the ballot. On Sunday and Monday, please talk with friends, family, and colleagues and explain to them the importance of this ballot measure.

This promises to be a close election. With your help, we believe we can win! Thank you for your attention to this message.

Raymond Barglow, Ph.D., Board member, Stem Cell Action Network.

If you know someone in New Jersey, you might want to call and remind them to go to the polls today. Urge them to vote in favor of the New Jersey Stem Cell Research Bond Act.

People of Faith For Stem Cell Research is an organization which began with the efforts of Lisa and Jack Reed of the First United Methodist Church in Tupelo Mississippi. On the People of Faith’s website, www.pfaith.org this description is given about the group:

Who We Are

We are Americans of religious faith who support stem cell research. And we do so because this research holds promise for alleviating the suffering and saving the lives of more than 100 million Americans.

This campaign began when 105 families living in Mississippi and Alabama decided to take action on this vital issue. In July 2001, we wrote a letter to President Bush on the subject of stem cell research. Although we have not yet succeeded in gaining his full support for this scientific effort, we remain hopeful that he can be reached and convinced… We support public policy that will enable scientists to explore the full potential of this promising new field of medicine.

We are now building a nationwide grassroots effort to bring this matter to the attention of the President and to the public. We are of all ages and ethnic backgrounds, and our walks of life and political affiliations are diverse, as are our religious traditions. We are united by our recognition of the healing promise of stem cell research….

The tides are turning for our Right to Recover!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Right to Recover hits #2 in amazon ranking

Product Details for Right to Recover Winning the Political and Religious Wars over Stem Cell Research in America.

November 5, 2007

  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Publisher: Nightengale Press; 1 edition (October 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933449411
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933449418
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon.com Sales Rank: #60,219 in Books (See Bestsellers in Books)

    Popular in these categories: (What's this?)

    #2 in Books > Professional & Technical > Engineering > Bioengineering > Biomedical Engineering
    #2 in Books > Science > Medicine > Special Topics > Biotechnology
    #2 in Books > Professional & Technical > Medical > Basic Sciences > Biotechnology

Family, Fun, and Faith--Right to Recover Interview

The following interview questions were posed by Ralph Bryant to Yvonne Perry, the author of RIGHT TO RECOVER Winning the Political and Religious Wars over Stem Cell Research in America. The original interview was posted on the Family, Fun and Faith blog on www.communati.com

1 - I have seen the trailer for your book, RIGHT TO RECOVER, on YouTube. The trailer makes a distinction between an embryo and a blastocyst. Will you describe the differences here? One point I would like addressed is whether a blastocyst contains the complete genetic code that distinguishes it from all others, making it an individual.

A blastocyst, just like a skin cell or any other cell in the body, carries the DNA of its donor. Different terms are used to describe developmental stages of reproduction. When a sperm and ovum are united (whether in-vitro or inside the female body) fertilization occurs, and the two parts become a single totipotent cell known as a zygote. Within hours after fertilization this cell divides into two identical cells, which also divide thus forming pluripotent stem cells. By the fourth day the cell cluster has divided to reach approximately 16 cells, and it is called a morula. The division/multiplication process continues for about five days until a hollow sphere of about 32 cells is formed along with a fluid-filled cavity. This sphere or cluster of primordial cells is then called a blastocyst. If the blastocyst cells are inside the womb, development continues as these stem cells begin to differentiate and form all the cells needed to make an entire human being. However, in an artificial environment outside the body (in vitro), the pluripotent stem cells from a fertilized egg will only reproduce more undifferentiated cells. They cannot produce a fully developed embryo. After the first two months of development inside the womb, the term embryo is replaced by the word fetus, which applies until birth.

The in vitro process shows us that conception and fertilization are two distinct and separate events. While fertilization can occur either in a lab or inside a woman’s body, conception can only take place in the womb. Conception occurs when a blastocyst becomes implanted in the lining of the uterus and begins to receive nourishment for continued development. This process takes several days and can be confirmed by testing the levels of progesterone and hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) present in the mother’s blood.

2 - In the YouTube trailer for the book, and in bullet points on some of the web pages associated with the book, the claim is made that a blastocyst can be examined without damaging it. What is meant by examination in that claim? Doesn’t the research and associated procedures ultimately alter or destroy the original?

In 2006, Arnold Kriegstein, MD, PhD, neural stem cell researcher and director of the UCSF Institute for Regeneration Medicine, affirmed that the removal of a single cell from a blastocyst can be done without harming the rest of the blastocyst. The claim is supported by the fact that thousands of healthy children who began as in-vitro clusters had pre-implantation genetic diagnosis performed prior to implantation. Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis is done to assure parents that a diseased gene (known to be carried by one parent) is not reproduced in their offspring.

In pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, one cell is removed from an 8- to 16-cell blastocyst for testing purposes. It is allowed to multiply/divide overnight. One of the three new cells is examined the next morning. If it is free of the diseased gene, the rest of the blastocyst is introduced to the uterus where it can begin to successfully produce a healthy embryo and subsequently, a full term baby.

The remaining two cells that were cultured can then be used to create new stem cell lines by simply allowing them to continue growing. However, these new lines would not be eligible for the NIH registry for federal funding since they were created after the August 2001 cut off imposed by the Bush administration.

Dr. Ronald Green, Professor for the Study of Ethics and Human Value at Dartmouth College and Chair for the Ethic Advisory Board for Advanced Cell Technology, revealed in 2006 that a way had been found to grow new lines of stem cells from a single cell of a blastocyst. The report was confirmed in Nature journal by researchers from a biotechnology firm in Alameda, California.

3 - The book also will address the issue of In Vitro Fertilization, including the matter of the leftover embryos, or blastocysts, In recent months Snowflake Babies have come to the public’s attention. Would you here briefly address the issues of those eggs that are fertilized and viable but unused by the parents once they have successfully had IVF children?

A couple utilizing IVF procedures presently has four choices about what to do with their leftover blastocysts:

  1. Pay to have the cells preserved for another attempt at pregnancy later on down the road (although the shelf life of a frozen blastocyst is not eternal).

  2. Simply throw them away if they do not plan to have any more children. Many couples actually abandon their leftover blastocysts and leave them at the fertility clinic. In such cases the clinic has no choice but to discard the leftovers.

  3. Let them be used for research in privately-funded labs.

  4. Give them up for surrogate adoption. Babies born to surrogate parents who adopted them as in vitro blastocysts are sometimes called “snowflake” children.

However, not all leftover blastocysts are going to be adopted and birthed by surrogate mothers. Most are going to be placed into a red biohazard bag and thrown in the trash. If the owners of cells created in-vitro are not going to use them and are willing to donate them for research purposes, scientists should be allowed to use them to further the research process.

In a recent study led by researchers at Duke University Medical Center and Johns Hopkins University, 60 percent of couples who have unused blastocysts on deposit at fertility clinics said they would be likely to donate them for stem cell research.

4 - What is the difference between stem cells that can be collected from umbilical cords and other tissues and those that are embryonic, or blastocystic?

Cells are located throughout our bodies, but they each have different functions. Just as your liver cannot perform the same tasks as your heart, adult stem cells, cord blood, and amniotic stem cells cannot do the same things as blastocyst stem cells. Days-old blastocyst stem cells allow a range of research on the very earliest stages of human development and are more versatile than adult stem cells or fetal cells extracted months later from amniotic fluid or from cord blood at birth. While cord blood, amniotic fluid, adult stem cells, and reprogramming of cells certainly deserve study, no credible expert supports using them as a replacement for IVF stem cells.

Additionally, sticking a needle into a pregnant woman’s uterus can be dangerous. One in 100 amniocentesis results in harm to the developing fetus or mother. Therefore, this is not a safe method for obtaining stem cells, regardless of what kind of organs can be grown from them.

Scientists are still trying to discover which set of stem cell characteristics will ultimately be needed to cure or treat certain diseases. Here are a few key features we know about blastocystic stem cells and multipotent progenitor or adult stem cells (ASC):

  • Blastocyst stem cells are indefinite, robust, and self-renewable. They can transform into virtually any type of cell of the body. Pluripotency disappears as differentiation occurs and development continues

  • ASCs are limited in the number of cells they are able to transform into; in other words, they can only create more of the same type of cells as they already are. For that reason, adult cells are not able to do the same things as IV-B stem cells, which have the characteristics researchers believe are needed to cure some diseases.

  • Stem cells exist in relatively large numbers in blastocysts.

  • ASC or multipotent progenitor stem cells have not yet been found in all tissues of the body. In fact, they are scarce in the brain.

It is important to explore all types of stem cells. Regardless of whether the therapies come from adult stem cells, cord blood, amniotic fluid, or IV-B research, all of humanity stands to profit from stem cell treatment and technology. Any knowledge gained from blastocyst stem cells will complement studies of adult and all other types of stem cells, and vice versa.

5 - One of the concerns that I personally have with the push for use of embryonic stem cells is that the proponents make it seem as though we are near breakthroughs on cures for horrible diseases if we could just grow more stem cell lines. Would you give us realistic projections of how long and how it will be before we will be able to find out if cures would come only from stem cells taken from embryos?

Dr. Madan Jagasia, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, tells me that even if stem cell research were unlimited today, it would be a couple of decades before we could reach our dream of being able to make a stem cell into a liver and insure that an organized and predictable outcome will be achieved.

Michael Shelanski is a stem cell researcher and the co-director of the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s disease and the Aging Brain at the Columbia University Medical Center in New York. He believes that while the immediate chances of repairing damage done to the brains of Alzheimer’s patients is slim, there may be other therapies for Alzheimer’s coming a lot sooner if stem cell research is allowed to expand. Blastocystic stem cell research will at least allow for studies to help identify the molecular errors that underlie Alzheimer’s. This discovery would help chemists create drugs to slow, or even reverse, the disease.

Dr. Hans Keirstead believes that scientists are getting closer to moving into clinical trials using blastocyst stem cell therapies on humans, and that they are close to making viable healing therapies through the untapped potential of blastocyst stem cell research. This potential will only be discovered through research, and that research will be conducted much quicker when more funds and cell lines are available.

6 - Your overall plea seems to be that the federal government should contribute to the funding of the research on blastocysts. Many do not want to be forced to participate in what they consider immoral behavior by having tax dollars spent in such a way. Would you address that here?

We live in a give-and-take world, and it requires both sacrifice and compromise to live in harmony with one another. When our country is at war, innocent people are sacrificed to protect our citizens. Regardless of the fact that many people are opposed to the war in Iraq and cry out against it, our government still sends troops overseas to wage battle in a war that cannot be won.

Even the government agrees with the philosophy of having one person sacrifice something for the good of many. Officials may elect to take your land whether you like it or not, if it can be shown that having a new highway on your property would benefit the majority of people in the area.

I pay federal taxes to support programs that do not benefit me, and I have no choice in the matter. I have to pay Social Security taxes knowing that I may never see a dime of this money when I retire. Why? Because the law requires that I pay for government programs that are for the good of the majority of citizens. Blastocystic stem cell research is for the good of the majority of citizens. Therefore, I believe the government should pay for all types of stem cell technology to be developed, not just some of them.