Tuesday, October 13, 2009

It's Not Just Sci-Fi Anymore

This is amazing!!  There was a story on ABC news tonight about a boy named Brad Guilkey who was born without any cheekbones who, though the miracle of science and his own stem cells, was able to grow new ones.

Did you read that?? He had no bones...then, at age 15, doctors engineered his own stem cells to grow bones in his face!!

This is like Harry Potter, only so much better! Because it's real! Because it's yet one more way that adult stem cells are changing the entire future of so many people!!

Some of you are nodding your heads and saying, "Yeah, yeah, we know, Heidi. You've told us this before," and others of you are scratching your heads and checking the blog address and wondering how a fiction writer got to blogging about stem cells.

But this is why: my book, the one coming out soon, is about this very thing. About the nearly science fiction idea of taking our own stem cells to cure the incurable.

I didn't start off my writing career with any idea that I'd end up writing a medical book and become fascinated - passionate really - about stem cells. I started with the idea of a family and a dying daughter. It was research - asking the questions that needed to be asked and answered by the main characters, and then looking for those answers - that led me to adult stem cell research.

I don't plan on having any more stem cell plot lines in future books, but I do intend on keeping up with the medical advances, and not just because it could someday cure me of my own diabetes, but because it's a modern day miracle. A boy's heart was basically regrown after being shot with a nail gun. Pancreatic beta cells are being regrown. I'm not exaggerating in the least when I say the blind are seeing, the lame are walking, and the sick are being cured.

Because of this passion, my crit partner Erin suggested I add a page to my website with links to new developments in diabetes and stem cell research. And so the website is updated.

If you are a writer, has writing ever taken you in to a place you didn't expect to be? Has it ever opened a door to something in real life you never thought you'd be a part of?


  1. I can't wait for that moment, Natalie. How cool. I can't really say that anything I've written has led me to any particular area. Although I have been dreading..err..thinking about doing some research for a new project. :)
    Perhaps I will find a new passion, as well. :)

  2. I read this article about the cheekbones just before I read your blog! I remember seeing a news story a few years back where doctors had re-grown a man's ear (a replacement for one that had been destroyed in an accident).

    I think it's wonderful-- sometimes a little creepy though. I hate the idea of being able to custom-design a child, which I heard one fertility doctor is already doing.

  3. HA HA HA!

    And I have read your book! And it is good! I shall buy a copy!

    This was quite a story, it was.


  4. Wow that is awesome! I'm always amazed by medical advances. A hundred years ago people were still dying of smallpox. We still have a ways to go but I think adult stem cell advancements are pretty amazing.

  5. Very cool.

    There was a guy last week that had two new hands(arms?) implanted at UPMC in Pittsburgh. They weren't even his own hands. Crazy times we live in.

  6. I can't say writing has ever brought me to such a place--I wish it had. It is awesome to be able to get that passionate about something. I do know I love to research things. You find out such awesome things that you never would find out otherwise.