Let’s Continue California Stem Cell Research to Save Lives: Support Proposition 14

La Opinión
By Senator Art Torres (retired)
October 23, 2020

For more than 20 years, I was proud to work for you as a Senator and Member of the State Assembly, and later as Chairman of the California Democratic Party. For the past 11 years, I have had the honor of serving as the Vice President of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), a state institution that funds stem cell research and treatments, created in 2004 after voters passed Proposition 71. As a civil servant, seizing opportunities that positively impact the communities I work for is always a priority.

That is why I will support Proposition 14 in November, for the potential it has to help our communities and millions of patients. My mother died of breast cancer and my sister survived colon cancer, like me. I know firsthand how chronic diseases affect families. Proposition 14 will continue to advance stem cell research to reduce the number of deaths and the consequences of chronic diseases and conditions that affect the Latino community, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, etc.

Since 2004, CIRM has conducted more than 90 clinical trials and two FDA-approved cancer treatments. Most of the more than 90 clinical trials are still underway, and with them, many lives have already been improved and many people saved. There are cancer patients who had already been through all the other treatment options and are now in remission. There are quadriplegic people who are recovering the function of the upper body. There are blind patients who are recovering their sight. There are patients with type 1 diabetes who have returned to producing their own insulin.

However, if Proposition 14 is not passed, our journey to empower new and promising disease cures and treatments could end here, and we would miss out on life-saving and improving early intervention therapies. We would also miss an opportunity to boost our state’s economy, which is in dire straits. Proposition 14 will generate additional tax revenue of about $ 1.2 billion and more than 100,000 jobs.

I look forward to you joining and joining me and the growing coalition of more than 90 patient advocacy organizations, hundreds of leading scientists and physicians, Nobel Prize winners, Governor Gavin Newsom, Mayor Eric Garcetti, Secretary of State Alex Padilla, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and many others in the YES vote on Proposition 14.