The best stem cell books

1 authors have picked their favorite books about stem cells and why they recommend each book.

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Stem Cells

By Christine L. Mummery, Anja Van de Stolpe, Bernard Roelen, Hans Clevers

Book cover of Stem Cells: Scientific Facts and Fiction

This is a beautiful book written by a great team from Utrecht in the Netherlands. It starts with a potted introduction to cell and developmental biology. I like this because, as a developmental biologist myself, I know that it is the basic science underpinning stem cell biology. It explains embryonic stem cells and cloning. Before covering transplantation therapy it explains about immune rejection of grafts and how this is dealt with. Unlike most books on stem cells, it covers non-therapeutic applications such as the study of human development or the use of stem cell-derived cells for safety testing of drugs.

The first and second editions had fabulous colour pictures all the way through. Sadly the 3rd edition has been downgraded to black and white.


Who am I?

I spent my career in developmental biology: the science of how embryos develop. My main discovery was the discovery of one of the signals that controls development, called the fibroblast growth factor. Stem cell biology grew up on the basis of previous discoveries in developmental biology, and now, every day, people around the world use fibroblast growth factor among other substances to control the development of their stem cells. From 2007-2012 I was Director of the Stem Cell Institute at the University of Minnesota, so I got a good inside view of the whole field.


I wrote...

Stem Cells: A Very Short Introduction

By Jonathan Slack,

Book cover of Stem Cells: A Very Short Introduction

What is my book about?

The topic of stem cells has a high profile in the media. We've made important advances in scientific understanding, but despite this, the clinical applications of stem cells are still in their infancy and most real stem cell therapy carried out today is some form of bone marrow transplantation. In this Very Short Introduction, I introduce stem cells, explore what they are, and what scientists do with them.

Introducing both embryonic and tissue-specific stem cells, I explain how they can be used to treat diseases such as retinal degeneration, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, and spinal trauma. I also warn against fake stem cell treatments and discuss how to distinguish real from fake treatments.

The Stem Cell Dilemma

By Leo Furcht, William Hoffman,

Book cover of The Stem Cell Dilemma: Beacons of Hope or Harbingers of Doom?

This is a popular book, focusing on human interest but still scientifically reputable. Its main theme is the ethics, law, and politics of stem cells, mostly from a US perspective. It describes the debate in the USA about embryonic stem cells and how it polarized the nation. It covers many examples of political maneuvering to establish rules and regulations. It also has an international dimension and describes the legal position in countries around the world. I like it because I was in the USA during many of these debates and feel the book nicely captures the atmosphere of the controversy.


Who am I?

I spent my career in developmental biology: the science of how embryos develop. My main discovery was the discovery of one of the signals that controls development, called the fibroblast growth factor. Stem cell biology grew up on the basis of previous discoveries in developmental biology, and now, every day, people around the world use fibroblast growth factor among other substances to control the development of their stem cells. From 2007-2012 I was Director of the Stem Cell Institute at the University of Minnesota, so I got a good inside view of the whole field.


I wrote...

Stem Cells: A Very Short Introduction

By Jonathan Slack,

Book cover of Stem Cells: A Very Short Introduction

What is my book about?

The topic of stem cells has a high profile in the media. We've made important advances in scientific understanding, but despite this, the clinical applications of stem cells are still in their infancy and most real stem cell therapy carried out today is some form of bone marrow transplantation. In this Very Short Introduction, I introduce stem cells, explore what they are, and what scientists do with them.

Introducing both embryonic and tissue-specific stem cells, I explain how they can be used to treat diseases such as retinal degeneration, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, and spinal trauma. I also warn against fake stem cell treatments and discuss how to distinguish real from fake treatments.

Therapy with Cultured Cells

By Howard Green,

Book cover of Therapy with Cultured Cells

A little-known gem! Howard Green was a pioneer of research with stem cells from the skin. Back in the 1970s, he developed methods to grow them in vitro He went on to use this technology to enable treatment for very severe burns which covered too much of the body to make grafting feasible. The text is rather terse but this is a remarkable laboratory and clinical vignette from one who was there. 


Who am I?

I spent my career in developmental biology: the science of how embryos develop. My main discovery was the discovery of one of the signals that controls development, called the fibroblast growth factor. Stem cell biology grew up on the basis of previous discoveries in developmental biology, and now, every day, people around the world use fibroblast growth factor among other substances to control the development of their stem cells. From 2007-2012 I was Director of the Stem Cell Institute at the University of Minnesota, so I got a good inside view of the whole field.


I wrote...

Stem Cells: A Very Short Introduction

By Jonathan Slack,

Book cover of Stem Cells: A Very Short Introduction

What is my book about?

The topic of stem cells has a high profile in the media. We've made important advances in scientific understanding, but despite this, the clinical applications of stem cells are still in their infancy and most real stem cell therapy carried out today is some form of bone marrow transplantation. In this Very Short Introduction, I introduce stem cells, explore what they are, and what scientists do with them.

Introducing both embryonic and tissue-specific stem cells, I explain how they can be used to treat diseases such as retinal degeneration, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, and spinal trauma. I also warn against fake stem cell treatments and discuss how to distinguish real from fake treatments.

Stem Cells For Dummies

By Lawrence S. B. Goldstein,

Book cover of Stem Cells For Dummies

This book is much better than it looks at first sight. Although the “for dummies” theme might be off-putting to some, it is a serious account of stem cells with good scientific content. With 360 pages it has space to cover many topics and deals with the legal and ethical side of the field as well as the science and medicine. To me, it is perhaps a little too credulous about “miracle cells” that can turn into anything but is a lot less credulous than many other sources.


Who am I?

I spent my career in developmental biology: the science of how embryos develop. My main discovery was the discovery of one of the signals that controls development, called the fibroblast growth factor. Stem cell biology grew up on the basis of previous discoveries in developmental biology, and now, every day, people around the world use fibroblast growth factor among other substances to control the development of their stem cells. From 2007-2012 I was Director of the Stem Cell Institute at the University of Minnesota, so I got a good inside view of the whole field.


I wrote...

Stem Cells: A Very Short Introduction

By Jonathan Slack,

Book cover of Stem Cells: A Very Short Introduction

What is my book about?

The topic of stem cells has a high profile in the media. We've made important advances in scientific understanding, but despite this, the clinical applications of stem cells are still in their infancy and most real stem cell therapy carried out today is some form of bone marrow transplantation. In this Very Short Introduction, I introduce stem cells, explore what they are, and what scientists do with them.

Introducing both embryonic and tissue-specific stem cells, I explain how they can be used to treat diseases such as retinal degeneration, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, and spinal trauma. I also warn against fake stem cell treatments and discuss how to distinguish real from fake treatments.

How to Starve Cancer

By Jane McLelland,

Book cover of How to Starve Cancer

I recommend this award-winning book written by a woman who fought cancer successfully 3 times. In this book, she demonstrates bravery and expertise in this subject. This book is exceptionally written with a lot of research within and outside the medical field. Despite her own challenges, her compassion shines through. From reading this book, I found it very healing to understand cancer and how following certain protocols can help the disease to remission.  I love how this book helped my friend affected by cancer and many other people, and I sense the author has saved many lives

The value I got from the book was an understanding of how cancer works and whether affected by cancer or not, how making changes in our everyday life can help aid remission and aid healing of the body.


Who am I?

I have expertise in the area of spirituality and alternative health from working for over 20 years as a shamanic practitioner, spiritual teacher, and healer. I have travelled extensively and trained with many renowned teachers all over the world. I also provide ancestral healing and train students to be ancestral healers. Through my own healing journey, I have studied many healing and alternative approaches to wellness. I have studied extensively with plants and herbs. In 2020 I wrote my award-winning book Illumination of the Shadow, which explores ancestral healing. I have always had an interest in books in the mind, body, and spirit area, and read extensively in this area.


I wrote...

Illumination of the Shadow: Ancestral Wisdom from the past for the future

By Anthea Durand,

Book cover of Illumination of the Shadow: Ancestral Wisdom from the past for the future

What is my book about?

Imagine tracking back thousands of years to the origin of a repeated ancestral illness, for example, depression in your ancestral field. This award-winning book demonstrates that this is possible and how this wisdom can help transform your life. The real-life ancestral stories shared in this book are reflections of ancestral experiences on earth

Shadow work, looking into our own shadow and that of the collective and your ancestors, is the key to healing, spiritual evolution, and development. Healing ancestral patterns is the key to shadow work; it frees the individual from that which does not serve anymore. This book includes exercises and great wisdom to help you heal your life. It also includes 30 powerful illustrations, to aid the healing journey through the book.

Cancer Stem Cells

By Lucie Laplane,

Book cover of Cancer Stem Cells: Philosophy and Therapies

You don’t often get philosophers delving into the biomedical sciences. They mostly prefer physics and cosmology. But there are great pickings in the other sciences too! 

Laplane considers the various proposed attributes of stem cells and classifies these as categorical, dispositional, relational, and system-based. She concludes that stem cells do comprise a "natural kind" i.e. a real thing, out there, not just a figment of our imagination. What emerges from this critical evaluation is that we should think not about stem cells as such but about stem-type behaviors that may be shown by various cell populations in specific circumstances. Defining stem cells is slippery and difficult, but defining stem cell behavior is relatively easy, and stem cell behavior is real and important.


Who am I?

I spent my career in developmental biology: the science of how embryos develop. My main discovery was the discovery of one of the signals that controls development, called the fibroblast growth factor. Stem cell biology grew up on the basis of previous discoveries in developmental biology, and now, every day, people around the world use fibroblast growth factor among other substances to control the development of their stem cells. From 2007-2012 I was Director of the Stem Cell Institute at the University of Minnesota, so I got a good inside view of the whole field.


I wrote...

Stem Cells: A Very Short Introduction

By Jonathan Slack,

Book cover of Stem Cells: A Very Short Introduction

What is my book about?

The topic of stem cells has a high profile in the media. We've made important advances in scientific understanding, but despite this, the clinical applications of stem cells are still in their infancy and most real stem cell therapy carried out today is some form of bone marrow transplantation. In this Very Short Introduction, I introduce stem cells, explore what they are, and what scientists do with them.

Introducing both embryonic and tissue-specific stem cells, I explain how they can be used to treat diseases such as retinal degeneration, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, and spinal trauma. I also warn against fake stem cell treatments and discuss how to distinguish real from fake treatments.

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