| For Immediate Release
September 23, 2004
YES ON PROPOSITION 71 LAUNCHES STATEWIDE
(Los Angeles, CA) — Proponents of Yes on Proposition 71, the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative, today announced the launch of their fall ad campaign to inform voters about the initiative.
The Yes on 71 coalition will begin airing television spots statewide on Friday, September 24. The spots can also be viewed on the campaign web site at www.YESon71.com.
The coalition’s first four TV spots feature medical experts and patients and are titled: “Dr. Berg - Logjam”, “Dr. Weissman - Oath”, “Dr. Bluestone - Diabetes,” and “June and Leilani - MS & Paralysis.”
“Dr. Berg - Logjam” features Dr. Paul Berg, a Nobel Prize winning scientist and Professor of Cancer Research at Stanford University. In the spot, Dr. Berg says: “Stem cell research is an important scientific and medical breakthrough that can produce new cures for diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and Parkinson’s. But politics have blocked vital areas of this research. Proposition 71 breaks the political logjam by supporting stem cell research at California medical schools, hospitals, and other research facilities. Please join me in voting YES on 71.”
Dr. Berg was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1980 for his work with DNA. In the mid-1970s, the National Academy of Sciences asked Berg to explore the safety of recombinant DNA technology. He responded with the historic "Berg letter," calling for a moratorium on recombinant DNA research until safety issues could be addressed. He was one of the key organizers of the international forum on recombinant DNA technology, the Asilomar Conference, which took place in February of 1975. The ensuing dialogue resulted in the National Institutes of Health guidelines published a year later, a milestone of responsible self-regulation in science.
“Dr. Weissman - Oath” features Dr. Irv Weissman, California Scientist of the Year (2002) and Cancer Researcher at Stanford University, saying: “We must pass Proposition 71. As an M.D., I took an oath that the very highest priority was the treatment of patients. The chances for diseases to be cured by stem cell research are high, but only if we start. If the promise of stem cell research comes true, we can hope for a single treatment with the right stem cells to cure diseases every family has. Please join me in voting YES on 71.”
Dr. Weissman is one of the leading stem cell experts in the world. He was the first scientist to identify and isolate stem cells in any species and the first to isolate blood-forming stem cells in humans. His discoveries opened many new avenues for research and treatment of many different kinds of cancers. Dr. Weissman is currently the Director of Stanford’s Institute for Cancer/Stem Cell Biology and Medicine, where his breakthrough research offers new hope for the treatment of cancer, diabetes and other diseases.
“Dr. Bluestone - Diabetes” features Dr. Jeff Bluestone, Director of Diabetes Center at the University of California, San Francisco, who says: “When a seven year old girl comes up to me and she’s scared, and she says, ‘Will stem cells be an answer for me? Will they be a cure for me?’ I’m absolutely confidant in saying that, ‘This will happen.’ It would just be such a shame if ten, twenty years from now we had this great opportunity and we missed it. And we’d have to be telling that seven old girl, twenty years from now, that, ‘Yeah, there was this great opportunity and we let it slip by.’ Please join me in voting YES on Prop 71.”
Dr. Bluestone is one of the world's leading experts on diabetes and immune system research. He is recognized internationally for his contributions toward clarifying the biological basis of immune tolerance. He is perhaps best known for molecular-level approaches to control the immune activity of antibodies and boost the beneficial effects of tolerance-inducing drugs. This research has stimulated recent progress in using islet cell transplantation to treat Type 1 diabetes.
“June and Leilani - MS & Paralysis” features June Gutierrez, a young California mother who was recently diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and her daughter, Leilani, who was paralyzed in a car accident in 2002. June says: “I will vote YES on Prop 71. Definitely. I believe that it’s something that can cure spinal cord injury. I was just diagnosed in December with MS, so for myself too, trying to find a cure for myself with stem cell research can end the pain and the suffering of so many people. Injury, disease...it can happen to anybody.”
Prop 71 has drawn a broad and diverse coalition of grassroots supporters that include over 20 Nobel Prize-winning scientists over 70 medical and patient advocacy organizations, and dozens of business organizations. A complete list of endorsing organizations can be found on the campaign’s website, www.YesOn71.com.