THE STANFORD/CIRM STEM CELL CONNECTION — to be Continued?

By Don C. Reed

Stanford University: it is huge, and useful. Probably no medical institution in the world has produced more advanced stem cell research, treatments and therapies.

Add that strength to the power of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), and you have something truly amazing. See for yourself. Click on the below URL, to find page after page of Stanford/CIRM cooperation.

https://www.cirm.ca.gov/our-progress/institutions/stanford-university

Wonderful stuff, beginning with a building! Stanford’s magnificent Lorry I. Lokey Stem Cell Research Building — how was it made? The great philanthropist Lorry I. Lokey himself donated $75 million, while CIRM provided $43,578,000.

But a research building, however beautiful and well-equipped, is nothing without women and men researchers — CIRM has contributed $387,789,386.00 to scientists working at Stanford University. Three hundred eighty-seven million…

What was it spent on? Here are just a few of the many Stanford scientists who received grants from the California stem cell agency.

Dr. Helen Blau: stimulating muscle cells to counter age-induced weakness;

Dr. Alan Cheng: working to restore inner-ear function — and hearing;

Dr. Kyle Loh: developing new sources of liver cells;

Dr. Theodore Leng: working on a product to treat blindness;

Dr. Bertha Chen: smooth muscle stem cells for urinary incontinence;

Dr. Michele Calos: therapy to overcome Duchenne disease;

Dr. Alfred Lane: treating Epidermolysis Bullosa, so the skin won’t come off!

But is such research practical, usable, real world — or just pie in the sky stuff?

Let’s put it this way. One CIRM-assisted cancer remedy developed by Irv Weissman of Stanford was recently sold — to Gilead, Inc. — for $4.9 billion dollars.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-06/stanford-doctor-to-get-191-million-for-cancer-fighting-biotech

How much did California invest in Stanford scientists? In cooperation, the California stem cell program contributed $387 million ($387,789,386.00) to Stanford stem cell researchers.

https://www.cirm.ca.gov/our-progress/institutions/stanford-university

Tragically, the California program, (officially titled the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, or CIRM) has run out of money — which means a major source of research funding for Stanford will be cut off.

We need a funding renewal, and one is on the way. Bob Klein, the man who began the California stem cell program, has written a renewal bill of $5.5 billion dollars for California scientists up and down the state.

IF we can gather enough valid signatures to get on the ballot, we have a strong chance to win.

But we have only seven more days to gather signatures.

In one week the curtain falls: after that, no more signatures will be accepted.

This is a terrible time to gather signatures. We can’t go outside to do it — no professional signature gatherers now, no rallies either — but we are not giving up.

Why not? What has been accomplished, what is there to fight for?

Today, 50 little children who once had the “bubble baby” disease — Severe Combined Immune Disorder, or SCID, typically fatal — are now well.

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

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

A blind young woman has seen her twins — for the first time.

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

That is the purpose of CIRM, (technically the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine), to bring cures where there are none: to answer unmet medical needs.

But now, CIRM’s funding is gone.

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

Here is the bill itself: https://caforcures.com/read-the-initiative/

CIRM has been a terrific source of grants for the scientists at colleges.

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 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.

https://caforcures.com/

Turning on the TV highlights the problem — COVID 19 is killing thousands of people in America every day — and across the world.

The California program is an army against this and all chronic diseases. Even now, when their funding has almost run out, they still managed to scrape together $5 million to tackle various aspects of COVID-19 on a beginning basis. But much more is needed.

https://www.cirm.ca.gov/about-cirm/newsroom/press-releases/03272020/stem-cell-agency-board-approves-5-million-emergency

It all boils down to this; do you support stem cell research and gene therapy?

If so, this is your chance to make a real difference — do not let our program die!

We need to renew CIRM, recharging it with an additional $5.5 billion

You can help make it happen in three big ways:

1. Endorse it! For an easy, one-step endorsement form, go to:

https://caforcures.com/become-a-part-of-this-initiative-sign-an-endorsement-form/

2. From the safety of your own, help gather a last few signatures.

Because of COVID-19, normal signature gathering (to get the initiative on the ballot) has been suspended.

But we are still gathering signatures, electronically! Every signature is useful, even just one, and we need yours, your family, and friends. Have you signed yet? If not, please do — we will win by one signature at a time. We must get more, in case some of the signatures are disqualified for not being filled out correctly.

Want to help? Contact Melissa King! Melissa@caforcures.com

Or — go directly to: https://caforcures.com/help-us-qualify

3. And our third request? Talk it up! Discuss the renewal of CIRM with your friends. Add comments at the bottom of web articles. Important: 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 vital! They must know we care!

Support the renewal of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. If we can get it on the ballot, and gain a majority vote, the world changes.

CIRM will fight against COVID-19 with all the organized power of a science-supporting state: mobilizing to attack this vile condition, as it creeps across our country and the world, killing as it goes. Science is the only way we’re going to beat this thing. So let’s do it.

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

www.caforcures.com.

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.: Total funds contributed by CIRM to many California scientists all across our state: $2,718,150,792.00

That is TWO BILLION, SEVEN HUNDRED EIGHTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS which went to many California Colleges, Universities and various Institutions — so their scientists can battle devastating diseases like the ones confronting us now — help us to continue CIRM and win that fight!

https://www.cirm.ca.gov/our-progress/funded-institutions

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