Tuesday, January 6, 2015


On September 25, 2010, Tory Williams received the devastating news that a family friend, 21-year-old TJ Atchison, had been in a terrible automobile accident and, despite thorough care, was paralyzed from the chest down. Based on many factors surrounding TJ's condition, doctors determined he was the perfect candidate for a new clinical trial using a drug containing embryonic stem cells that was designed to regenerate damaged spinal cord tissue. This was the first trial of its kind to involve a human candidate, and would end up being the start of Tory's courageous journey to document this clinical trial and raise awareness and funding for embryonic stem cells research across the nation, especially to those within "conservative" America. Inevitable Collision documents the true story of TJ Atchison's experience as the first participant in Geron's clinical trial, along with the dynamic team who helped galvanize the cause: Dr. Hans Keirstead, the brilliant young scientist who successfully helped treat rats to overcome paralysis through embryonic stem cell treatments and introduced the therapy to humans; patient advocate, fundraiser and political ally Roman Reed; and author Tory Williams, who persevered to raise public awareness surrounding embryonic stem cell research with the support of family, friends, and faith.  A journey for all people of this world, including the millions afflicted by a disease or paralysis and their loved ones, Inevitable Collision recounts the inspiring story of what happens when patient advocates, scientists, and researchers work together with the goal of finding a cure. 


Inevitable Collision is a book that is full of incredible science. Hans Keirstead is an amazing scientist who designed the scientific process of changing a stem cell into any specific cell such as an ear cell. His main purpose is changing stem cells into oligodendrocytes, cells specific for spinal cord regeneration, producing GRNOPC1 which is the cell based agent. There are many hoops scientists have to jump through for the FDA to prove that their medication or medical procedure is ready just for phase one in human study. Phase one is to make sure that it is safe for humans. This part of the book was amazing. It is told in a way that a person that does not have any science based knowledge can not only understand it but learn from it. The first person to participate in phase one was AJ Atchison who was in a horrible car accident. The accident is explained in great detail in the book. There were others that took place in the trial but not much was told about them. 

The book now takes a change and the author Tory Williams starts to play a big part in the story. She is a family friend of AJ's and helps along with others to pass a law in the state of Alabama using AJ"S name to allow using embryonic stem cells and get funding for the programs. This being very difficult in the bible belt and a lot of explaining is done about where these embryonic cells come from and that a actual "life" in some minds is not destroyed. Very fascinating information on how the embryonic cells are obtained. If you do not know if the law was passed I cannot tell you.

Throughout the book I understood the personal information the author was writing about herself since she did play a part in helping with pushing for the law to change about stem cells in Alabama. Around the end of the book it felt as if I was reading a different book. It became all about the authors life. Tory's problems at home, at work, what she wanted. This was a complete put off. Never did the reader find out about the outcome of the initial GRNOPC1 procedure. Or even how physically the patients were doing. She lost touch with what her project was and even betrayed one of the main characters in the book for her well being. Trying to determine how many stars to give it is the hardest part for me with this book. It is not so cut and dry. I loved a lot of the book but the bad parts really brought it down. So I give it 4 stars but had to deduct 1 for the author losing sight of what the book was really about.

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