A San Clemente scientist wanted to demystify stem-cell research so he wrote a book about what's new and what's next in the field.
"Cracking the Stem Cell Code" by Christian Drapeau was one of Amazon's top alternative-medicine sellers before Christmas during its advance sales. The book was officially released Jan. 1.
"I wanted to clear a lot of that cloudiness around stem cells," Drapeau said. "At the moment, when you say stem cells, a lot of people think of killing babies. There's a bad aura."
Drapeau is chief science officer at StemTech HealthSciences, a research firm headquartered in San Clemente that makes stem-cell-enhancing nutritional products. He received his training in neurophysiology from the Montreal Neurological Institute and is a frequent speaker at scientific events.
His book, published by Sutton Hart Press, is like a "Stem Cells for Dummies." Drapeau focuses on adult stem-cell research, which isn't to be confused with the embryonic kind that has long been a topic of public debate. Drapeau says he is against embryonic research for scientific reasons, not ethical ones.
Stem cells are like an internal repair system, according to the National Institutes of Health. When an organ or tissue is hurt, the bone marrow releases adult stem cells that travel back to the injured area, turning into healthy cells. Proponents say stem cells can unlock the key to curing diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Many opponents of stem-cell research say using embryos for research kills life.
Last March, President Barack Obama ended an eight-year ban on federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research.
The public focus on embryonic stem-cell research has pushed adult stem-cell research into the shadows, Drapeau said. He hopes his book changes that.
"I tend to be more on the progressive side" of the research, Drapeau said. "But the literature is out there. I'm just guiding people to the literature that exists."