Thursday, January 10, 2013

Roman Reed is Stem Cell Person of 2012; Leigh Turner Runner-up

Roman Reed, a Fremont, Ca., patient advocate, this week was named Stem Cell Person of 2012 by the Knoepfler Stem Cell Lab at UC Davis, which cited Reed for energizing a new generation of advocacy.

Roman Reed (left) and Paul Knoepfler
Knoepfler Lab photo
UC Davis stem cell scientist Paul Knoepfler awarded Reed $1,000 from his personal funds. The ceremonial check appears to be close to four-feet long in a photo taken in Knoepfler's lab.

Knoepfler wrote on his blog that Reed made a “tremendous difference” in 2012. The researcher said,
“One of the most notable was catalyzing the TJ Atchison Spinal Cord Injury Research Act in Alabama, which provides $400,000/year in funding for research. Of course, TJ and many others who helped make this possible also deserve great credit and have my admiration, but Roman provided key leadership. Here in California, Roman’s Law supported its 11th year of grants all eligible for all forms of stem cell research. Roman informs me that it funded $749,00 overall and approximately $200,000 in stem cell funding. 
“In addition, Roman in 2012 mentored and energized a whole new generation of advocacy from young, energetic leaders: TJ Atchison, Katie Sharify, Richard Lajara and Tory Minus.”
Knoepfler personally made the decision on the award, but also conducted an advisory poll that Reed won. Knoepfler wrote,

Leigh Turner
U of Minn photo
“Only 6% behind Roman was the amazing activist Ted Harada followed by Roman’s dad the remarkable Don Reed, the wonderful Judy Roberson, and the super Katie Sharify nearly all tied for third. Next after them was the relative new kid in stem cell town, Leigh Turner.”
Knoepfler named Turner, an associate professor at the Center for Bioethics at the University of Minnesota, as the official runner-up in the contest, No. 2 behind Reed. Knoepfler wrote,
“Leigh took the courageous, outside-the-box step in 2012 of contacting the FDA to investigate Celltex when he perceived patients could be at risk. As “thanks” for his action, he was put under enormous pressure and there was talk of possible litigation against him. Pressure was applied to his employer, the University of Minnesota. We’ll never know for sure, but from everything that I know I believe that Leigh’s actions directly led to prompt FDA action, which otherwise might not have happened at all or until much later. In my opinion, Leigh’s act of courage, helped make hundreds of patients safer in a direct way and indirectly may have set a higher standard for the field of stem cell treatments.”

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