Respected Physicians, Scientists and Academics Join Growing YES on Proposition 14 Coalition

Leaders in the Medical, Scientific and Academic Fields from Institutions Across California Come Together in Support of Critical Ballot Measure

Press Release
August 11, 2020

PALO ALTO, CA — The Californians for Stem Cell Research, Treatments and Cures coalition (YES on Proposition 14) today announced endorsements from multiple esteemed physicians, scientists and academic professionals joining the growing, broad coalition of patient advocacy organizations, Nobel Prize winners and leading medical and research institutes in support of the measure. Major endorsements include Dr. John Zaia of the City of Hope Alpha Stem Cell Clinic, Dr. Phillip A. Pizzo, Former Dean and Professor at Stanford Medical School; Dr. Donald Kohn, Pediatrician, Professor and Scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles; and more. These leaders in the medical, scientific and academic fields are part of the growing coalition in support of Proposition 14 because of the hope and potential stem cell research provides for patients and their families searching for treatments and cures.

This November, voters will be asked to consider Proposition 14, where a “yes” vote will renew funding to develop treatments, advance clinical trials and achieve new medical breakthroughs for California’s patients living with chronic diseases and conditions, like cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, stroke, infectious diseases like COVID-19, and many more. If passed, Proposition 14 will authorize $5.5 billion in state general obligation bonds to build on the successes of Proposition 71 and advance more medical discoveries into treatments and cures that could save or improve the lives of millions of Californians.

“We could be on the brink of medical discoveries that could save the lives of patients impacted by COVID-19 and other diseases, and this research simply would not be possible without the initial investment Californians made in the state’s stem cell program in 2004,” said Dr. John Zaia, Director of the City of Hope Center for Gene Therapy and Program Director of the City of Hope Alpha Stem Cell Clinic. “Now, it is absolutely critical that this investment is renewed, allowing researchers like myself to continue to discover treatments and cures that can improve or save the lives of patients today and for generations to come.”

“California has become the global leader in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine, leading to extraordinary scientific discoveries and innovations that are now being translated into an increasing number of promising clinical trials that offer hope to individuals with serious and, in some cases, catastrophic diseases,” said Dr. Phillip A. Pizzo, M.D., Former Dean and Professor at Stanford Medical School.  

“I’ve had the great privilege of leading numerous clinical trials to advance new treatments to help those suffering from previously untreatable chronic diseases, from SCID, or ‘bubble baby’ disease, to Sickle Cell Disease,” said Dr. Donald Kohn, Pediatrician, Professor and Scientist at the University of California, Los Angles. “This work, the advancements we have made and the lives we have saved would not have been possible without California’s 2004 investment in stem cell research, and we must continue this work through this year’s initiative because we have new stem cell therapies for other diseases in the pipeline to bring to patients.”

“Faced with the current COVID-19 crisis, we are reminded every day that we cannot take our health or the health of our loved ones for granted – we must advance Proposition 14 for the millions of Californians and their families who are counting on us to continue advancing new lifesaving treatments and cures,” said Dr. David Schaffer, Director of the Berkeley Stem Cell Center and Professor at the University of California, Berkley.

“Doctors, medical professionals and others in the scientific community are working around the clock to uncover life-changing treatments and cures for various chronic diseases and disorders – but these treatments will remain out of reach if patients can’t access or afford them,” said Dr. Prue Talbot, Professor at the University of California, Riverside. “Proposition 14 helps ensure that more Californians will have greater and more affordable access to these treatments by providing support for disadvantaged patients, giving those previously out of reach a chance to benefit from these discoveries.”

Voting YES on Prop 14:

  • Continues and accelerates the development of new treatments and cures, building on the successes of California’s stem cell research and funding institute, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), which was established when California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 71 in 2004. Past investments in CIRM have led to: 
    • 90+ clinical trials
    • 2 FDA-approved cancer treatments for fatal blood cancers
    • $10.7 billion in increased state economic output
    • $640 million in new state revenue
    • 55,000 jobs spanning every level – from construction and maintenance workers, to lab technicians, nurses and physicians
  • Could save millions of lives and tens of billions of dollars in health care costs. California is expected to spend $4.7 trillion on chronic diseases between 2015 and 2030 – a period of only 15 years. Reducing the cost of treating just 6 of 8 major chronic diseases or injuries by 1-2% would save billions of these treatment costs and pay for the measure twice over.
  • Provides a much-needed economic stimulus and jobs recovery for California. Given bond payments are delayed for the first 5 years and the projected increase in economic activity, jobs and tax revenues, Proposition 14 is projected to provide more state revenue than the cost of the bond payments until the beginning of 2030.

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