In 2004, California voters said “YES!” to stem cell research– which had been blocked by Republican President George W. Bush.

Bob Klein, father of a diabetic son, organized and led Proposition 71, the $3 billion dollar citizens’ initiative to fund stem cell research.

We won! Voters by a strong majority (59.1%) approved the new stem cell program. But curves were in store. Frivolous lawsuits blocked the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) — for two and a half years,

Finally, in 2007, the last empty lawsuit was thrown out of court.

California stem cell research began, full-force, taking on diseases called “chronic”, meaning long-lasting, or incurable.

And the results?

Today, 50 little children who once had the “bubble baby” disease– Severe Combined Immune Disorder, or SCID–can now run around outside, and live normal lives.

A young man, Brenden Whittaker, is on his way to becoming a doctor—instead of dying of granulomatous disease.

Paralyzed young people have recovered the use of their upper bodies.

Perhaps most promising of all, more than 80 human trials are underway (or have been completed) toward therapies for vicious conditions, like heart disease, cancer, and leukemia.

That is the purpose of CIRM, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, to bring cures where there were none: to answer unmet medical needs. But now, CIRM’s funding is gone.

California should renew that funding. A measure to do just  that will hopefully be on the November ballot– $5.5 billion in new funding.

Here is the bill itself:

In addition to helping extremely sick people, the program brings other benefits as well. Here’s one:

Was your college helped by the California stem cell program?

Few people realize how many (and how much) California colleges benefited from our stem cell program. For example:

QUESTION: how much money went to support stem cell projects at the University of California at Irvine?

ANSWER: the California stem cell program provided  more than one hundred twenty-four million ($124,830,106.00) dollars in support of UCI projects.  (verifiable below)

The result? UCI is a world-renowned center for neurological research, battling diseases of the nerves, including: epilepsy, Parkinson’s, paralysis, multiple sclerosis, stroke, dementia, migraines, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, more—and that is just one college!

How many stem cell research dollars went to YOUR California college or institution? Here is the URL.

(For your convenience, a partial list follows at bottom of page).

If I was to speak before your college’s alumnae group, those public-spirited citizens who work night and day to raise funds for your beloved university, I would say:

Support the renewal of CIRM! If we get enough ballot signatures, there will be a renewal of  $5.5 billion (with a B!) on the November ballot.

You only have to turn on the TV to understand the need—COVID 19 is killing thousands of people in America and across the world.

The California program would be an army against this and all chronic diseases.

But maybe we are getting all the research help we need from Washington?

I don’t think so.

For example, the Trump Administration has blocked funding for fetal tissue research, the basis for Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine, as well as vaccines for whooping cough, measles, rabies, rubella, and shingles.

Blocking valuable research makes the fight against COVID-19 like fighting with one hand tied behind your back.

Once more, it is up to California. As the old World War II song puts it, “We did it before, and we can do it again!”

It comes down to this; do you support stem cell research?

If so, this is your chance to make a real difference—we need to bring back the California program, funding it for an additional $5.5 billion.

You can help three big ways:

  1. Endorse it as an individual, or as a group. Ideally both!

Click here for an easy, one-step endorsement form.

If you want to see some of the major groups which have endorsed us already, I have included several pages of them: see bottom of letter.

  1. And the second big ask?

Because of COVID-19, normal signature gathering (to get the initiative on the ballot) has been suspended. But the struggle does not end. Every signature is useful, even just one, and we need yours, your family, and friends—anyone who comes into your California home.

Want to help gather signatures from the safety of your own home?

Contact Melissa King!

Or—go directly to:

  1. And our third request? Talk it up! Discuss the renewal of CIRM with your friends. Add comments at the bottom of web articles. Importantly, write a letter to the editor of your local California paper—even if they do not run it, the editors will read it—and educating the editors is terrifically important!

Do everything you can to support the renewal of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. If we can get it on the ballot, and vote it in, the world changes. The war against COVID-19 makes a turn in our favor.  I know CIRM well. David Jensen of STEM CELL REPORT once said I probably attended more public meetings of CIRM than anyone else, including staff. And this I know:

CIRM will fight against the coronavirus with all its strength, mobilizing our state’s resources against this evil thing, this supposedly incurable disease.

Want more information, including an easy message box? Go to:

Thank you very much!

Don C. Reed

Treasurer, Californians for Stem Cell Research, Treatments and Cures

Don C. Reed is the author of three books on the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, including the new “REVOLUTIONARY THERAPIES: How the California Stem Cell Program Saved Lives, Eased Suffering and Changed the Face of Medicine Forever”, from World Scientific, Inc., publishers of the late Stephen Hawking.

P.S. Here are California colleges and institutions which received grants from CIRM. First is the name of the college– then the number of grants received– and then the total amount the institution received.

Look for your college! See the difference CIRM made, not only for the college itself, but for the previously incurable diseases your scientists are fighting. Then help us, because the world needs CIRM.

Institution | Total Awards | Award Value
Stanford University 138 $387,818,024
University of California, Los Angeles 114 $305,913,079
University of California, San Diego 108 $231,259,030
University of California, San Francisco 88 $198,054,592
University of California, Davis 58 $143,156,677
University of California, Irvine 50 $124,830,106
City of Hope, Beckman Research Institute 39 $116,647,699
University of Southern California 37 $113,751,804
ViaCyte, Inc. 9 $72,308,445
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center 24 $72,107,048
Gladstone Institutes, J. David 32 $56,437,364
University of California, Berkeley 25 $56,272,739
Salk Institute for Biological Studies 22 $53,317,589
Scripps Research Institute 23 $50,582,424
Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine 8 $43,116,439
Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute 24 $39,164,415
Buck Institute for Age Research 9 $34,857,775
Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles 14 $32,401,897
IQVIA, Inc. 2 $27,000,000
University of California, Santa Cruz 12 $26,154,919
Humacyte, Inc. 2 $24,082,393
Poseida Therapeutics, Inc. 2 $23,805,497
SanBio, Inc. 1 $18,970,000
Capricor, Inc 2 $17,782,116
Cellular Dynamics International 1 $16,000,000
BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics 1 $15,912,390
University of California, Santa Barbara 10 $15,285,163
Forty Seven Inc. 2 $15,234,048
Angiocrine Bioscience, Inc. 3 $14,989,696
jCyte, Inc 2 $14,904,342
Lineage Cell Therapeutics Inc. 1 $14,323,318
Calibr 3 $12,422,058
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital 1 $11,924,780
Caladrius Biosciences 2 $11,568,363
Medeor Therapeutics, Inc. 1 $11,217,155
Scripps Health 2 $10,778,642
Sangamo BioSciences, Inc. 2 $10,760,540
Coriell Institute for Medical Research 1 $9,942,175
San Diego State University Foundation 4 $9,058,049
StemCells, Inc. 2 $8,991,742
Children’s Hospital of Oakland Research Institute 6 $8,855,374
University of California, Merced 6 $8,724,275
Orchard Therapeutics plc 1 $8,465,745
Calimmune, Inc. 1 $8,278,722
Parkinson’s Institute 4 $7,797,866
Cal State Univ, San Marcos 4 $7,756,700
Human BioMolecular Research Institute 4 $7,403,428
Cal State Univ, Channel Island 2 $7,195,995
San Jose State University 2 $7,190,853
San Francisco State University 2 $7,159,893
Cellerant Therapeutics, Inc. 1 $6,863,755
Cal State Univ, Northridge 2 $6,574,769
Rocket Pharmaceuticals, Inc. 1 $6,567,085
Cal State Univ, Long Beach 2 $6,496,193
Neurona Therapeutics 2 $6,465,041
Geron Corporation 1 $6,405,771
Pasadena City College 2 $6,153,881
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo 2 $6,112,735
Ankasa Regenerative Therapeutics 2 $6,083,026
Humboldt State University 2 $5,960,993
Cal State Univ, Fullerton 2 $5,783,901
Brain Neurotherapy Bio 1 $5,510,462
Cal State Univ, Sacramento 2 $5,432,565
Cal State Univ, San Bernadino 2 $5,421,221
ImmunoCellular Therapeutics 1 $5,391,016
University of California, Riverside 6 $5,370,973
City College Of San Francisco 2 $4,753,419
BioTime, Inc. 1 $4,721,706
Nohla Therapeutics Inc 1 $4,310,000
Children’s Hospital of Orange County 2 $4,266,801
California Institute of Technology 5 $4,173,458
Fate Therapeutics, Inc. 1 $4,000,000
iPierian, Inc. 2 $3,868,000
Jackson Labs 1 $3,759,134
Cal Poly Pomona 1 $3,056,191
Palo Alto Veterans Institute for Research 4 $3,031,998
Fluidigm Corporation 2 $2,688,754
Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research 3 $2,384,254
Berkeley City College 1 $2,227,230
University of California San Diego 1 $2,167,200
MAX BioPharma, Inc. 1 $1,689,855
La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology 1 $1,464,446
TriFoil Imaging, Inc. 1 $1,456,989
Escape Therapeutics, Inc 1 $1,453,040
Western University of Health Sciences 1 $1,401,642
Rumi Scientific CA 1 $1,399,800
GMR Epigenetics 1 $1,356,052
Cellular Biomedicine Group, Inc. 1 $1,200,000
The Scintillon Institute 1 $1,103,185
VistaGen Therapeutics, Inc. 1 $971,558
X-Therma Inc. 1 $887,883
Vala Sciences, Inc. 1 $870,717
Gamma Medica-Ideas, Inc. 1 $800,065
Scaled Biolabs Inc. 1 $657,528
Semma Therapeutics 1 $597,333
Numerate, Inc. 1 $520,015
Loma Linda University 2 $351,837
Vitalant Research Institute 6 $323,440
Mosaic Event Management, Inc. 1 $205,388
Aspen Neuroscience 1 $201,150
International Society for Stem Cell Research 3 $136,475
Ali Nsair 1 $120,312
Zenobia Therapeutics 1 $112,500
International Alliance for Biological Standardization 1 $100,000
Samumed, LLC 1 $99,110
Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology 2 $70,000
OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, Inc. 1 $65,120
Gordon Research Conferences 3 $65,000
Human Organ Project 1 $50,000
Biocom Institute 1 $50,000
Pathways to Stem Cell Science 1 $49,915
American Association of Blood Banks 2 $45,000
JDRF International 1 $42,425
Alliance Forum Foundation 4 $38,500
Tippi C. Mackenzie 1 $36,436
Reza Ardehali 1 $35,511
Benjamin D. Yu 1 $28,388
Mohammad Pashmforoush 1 $27,949
International Society for Experimental Hematology 1 $25,000
Research for Cure 1 $22,113
Ocular Research Symposia Foundation, Inc. 1 $20,000
International Symposium on Neural Regeneration, Inc. 1 $20,000
Brain Mapping Foundation 1 $17,200
Children’s Neurobiological Solutions (CNS) Foundation 1 $10,000
RUNX1 Research Program 1 $9,500
Midwinter Conference of Immunologists 1 $5,000
OCTANe Foundation for Innovation 1 $2,500
Total grants: 1033
Total funds contributed: $2,718,150,792.0
That is nearly TWO AND THREE QUARTER BILLION DOLLARS which went to California Colleges, Universities and Institutions—so their scientists can battle devastating diseases like those confronting us now—help us continue that fight!

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