For Immediate Release
June 18, 2004
LA Area Chamber Supports Stem Cell Initiative
First Major Business Group to Join Battle to Close Funding Gap
The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, representing over 1,300 businesses in Southern California , today announced its support for the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative. The LA Area Chamber is the first major business organization in California to support the initiative.
In announcing support for this initiative, the LA Area Chamber joins a broad coalition that includes Nobel-prize winning scientists and medical experts, families involved in patient advocacy and efforts to cure diseases, and major nationwide medical organizations.
"This initiative makes good economic sense," noted George Kieffer, Chair of the Board of Directors of the LA Area Chamber. "The entire Southern California region is poised to benefit substantially from this measure, given our standing as a hub for top medical and research institutions. With more than 125,000 people employed in biomedical careers in Southern California , earning more than $6.4 billion in wages and salaries and producing exports totaling more than $3.7 billion in 2000, p assage of this measure will generate even more economic strength to the region."
"This measure gives California the unique opportunity to become a global leader in the development of stem cell therapies, to create new jobs and businesses, and to cure diseases and reduce human suffering," said California State Controller Steve Westly, who has been actively campaigning for the measure throughout the state. "At a time when Californians spend more than $118 billion annually on healthcare expenses, this initiative has the potential to save billions of dollars and to help generate new state revenues from patents and royalties."
Medical experts believe that stem cell research is the breakthrough medical technology of the 21 st Century. Stem cells hold the promise of new treatments or cures for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's Disease, spinal cord injuries, blindness, HIV/AIDS and more than 70 other conditions that afflict millions of people in this state.
The California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative, which will appear on the November 2004 statewide ballot, would provide on average $295 million a year over ten years, via tax-free state bonds, in critically needed funding to support life-saving stem cell research. State funds are currently not available for stem cell research.
While the Initiative does not stipulate who will receive Institute funding, the proximity of the Los Angeles area to top medical and research institutions, its forward-thinking entrepreneurial base, existing infrastructure and potential for growth give the region the natural capacity to be a leader in the stem cell revolution. Further, Los Angeles area research institutions have the potential to quickly become world leaders in stem cell research. These include, but are not limited to:
- City of Hope National Medical Center
- UCLA Medical Center
- Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
- USC University Hospital
- Children's Hospital Los Angeles & Orange County
- UC Irvine Medical Center
- UC Riverside
The California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative is supported by such organizations as the California Medical Association, American Nurses Association of California, Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, American Diabetes Association, Sickle Cell Disease Foundation of California , Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, California Healthcare Institute (representing over 200 biotech and biomedical organizations) , National Coalition for Cancer Research, A merican Parkinson's Disease Association, Los Angeles Chapter and the Parkinson's Action Network.
More information about the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative can be obtained from their website: www.curesforcalifornia.com
The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, with 1,300 members, represents the interests of business in LA County. Founded in 1888, the Chamber promotes a prosperous economy and quality of life in the Los Angeles region.