U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi Endorses Proposition 14

Necessary to Advance Stem Cell Research & Treatments that Lack Federal Funding

Press Release
October 05, 2020

PALO ALTO, CA – Today, U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced her endorsement of Proposition 14, which will appear on California’s statewide ballot this November to give voters the opportunity to continue the advancement of stem cell research, treatments and cures for chronic diseases and conditions that could save and improve millions of lives. Speaker Pelosi joins a growing coalition of more than 90 patient advocate organizations, hundreds of the world’s top scientists and physicians, leading business organizations, Nobel Prize winners, the California Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, Insurance Commissioner, the California Democratic Party and the University of California in supporting Proposition 14.

Without Proposition 14, vital medical discoveries and clinical trials that are currently saving and improving lives in California will come to a halt. Proposition 14 comes at a critical time when a group of more than 90 U.S. Republican Senators and Congressional Representatives are calling on President Trump to halt embryonic stem cell research at the federal level, which he could make a reality with a simple executive order. Of those 90 federal elected officials, 22 are U.S. Senators – a delegation large enough to block stem cell funding irrespective of who is in the White House in 2021, leaving California as the only world class sponsor of the full range stem cell research and therapies.

There are numerous clinical trials underway in California that would not be eligible to receive federal funding if this ban were to happen. Regardless, federal funding for stem cell research remains limited and inconsistent. Based on all publicly available information thoroughly reviewed by Proposition 14’s scientific advisors, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has yet to fund a single clinical trial in California using embryonic stem cells – even after the Obama administration repealed the Bush-era regulations restricting stem cell research.

“California is the global leader for stem cell research and medical discovery. Proposition 14 will allow our world-renowned research universities and physicians to advance lifesaving treatments for millions of individuals and families in California facing life-threatening or chronic diseases and conditions, now and in the future,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  “Federal funding for stem cell research is limited, unreliable, and at-risk from Trump Administration and Republican attacks. Proposition 14, which will continue what was started in 2004, is the most promising pathway to new treatments and cures – providing an economic stimulus at a time when Californians need it the most. I am proud to support Proposition 14!”

A USC study of the first Initiative’s economic benefits for California demonstrates Proposition 14 will  provide a strong economic and jobs stimulus and should be leveraged by private matching funds – it is exactly the type of long-term investment we should make now to rebuild our economy. If the recent study results are adjusted for the size of the new Initiative, economic benefits of  Proposition 14 would generate an estimated $20 billion in increased economic activity in California, $1.2 billion in additional state and local tax revenues, and more than 100,000 jobs at every level. Proposition 14 will not require any State General Fund payments until year 6 (2026), and it will provide economic benefits that outweigh the cost of the bonds until 2030.

“Speaker Pelosi’s endorsement of Proposition 14 is critical in highlighting the need for Californians to continue the work we started nearly two decades ago,” said Bob Klein, Chairman of Californians for Stem Cell Research, Treatments and Cures. “The Speaker knows better than anyone that some in Washington D.C. seek to score points by politicizing lifesaving and life-changing scientific research. To continue the vital work of stem cell research and clinical trials for new therapies, Californians know that it is up to us to make it a priority — to honor our responsibility to patients and their families and to reduce the suffering and life threatening risks from chronic diseases and illnesses, like my youngest son who died from Type 1 Diabetes, my mother who suffered and died with Alzheimer’s, and my father who died from heart disease. Every child, every wife and husband, every grandparent, all California families and patients, deserve the best medical science and new stem cell therapies possible, with full FDA approval. California, ranked as a nation, is number two in the world, behind only the United States in biomedical research capacity.”

In 2004, voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 71 with nearly 60% of the vote — establishing the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), to fund stem cell research and therapy development throughout the state to advance lifesaving and life-changing medical research and treatments. Proposition 14 will renew funding for CIRM to continue the advancement of stem cell research, treatments and cures that could save or improve the lives of millions living with chronic diseases and conditions, like cancer, Diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, stroke and even COVID-19.

CIRM’s program has already saved and improved lives through the advancement of more than 90 clinical trials, two FDA-approved cancer treatments, 9 new treatments that have earned FDA fast-track status with FDA Breakthrough Therapy Designations or Regenerative Medicine Advanced Therapy Designations, and nearly 3,000 published medical discoveries. While the majority of these clinical trials are ongoing, a few examples of the remarkable preliminary, clinical trial results to date include: cancer patients who had exhausted all other therapies, but are now in remission; Type 1 Diabetics have begun producing insulin; quadriplegics are regaining upper body function; and, blind patients are regaining their sight.

The reality is that California is the only state with the infrastructure and intellectual capital to advance these clinical trials and medical discoveries through to widely available, FDA-approved treatments. While the federal government primarily funds early research, private funders almost exclusively invest in late-stage clinical trials where they can profit faster at lower financial risk – leaving a glaring funding gap for early and intermediate clinical trials, that often ends promising research. CIRM bridges this critical gap, ensuring that potential life-changing cures are not left stranded. California’s unique approach is one of the many reasons why California has been able to achieve progress faster than experts thought possible.

If Californians fail to pass Proposition 14, hundreds of medical discoveries that have contributed to the current translational pipeline may not be able to progress through clinical trials, delaying potential lifesaving and life-changing treatments for years, or decades. Proposition 14 is a small investment to potentially save millions of lives and tens of billions of dollars in healthcare costs in the coming decades.

To learn more about Proposition 14, please visit Yeson14.com.