In 2004, seven million Californians voted to pass Proposition 71, authorizing a $3 billion investment in stem cell research and therapy development in California, and created the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the state public funding corporation responsible for allocating these funds.
This voter-backed investment propelled California to the forefront of scientific discovery and launching a revolution in medicine. What began with only a vision—a dream—that is now a reality, with 49 different FDA-approved human cell-based clinical trial efforts underway, in various states of progress, supported by Proposition 71 funding.
Patients enrolled in these clinical trials are already benefiting from stem cell therapies—in some cases, lives have been saved. These are trials for devastating diseases and injuries such as Type 1 diabetes, age-related macular degeneration—which afflicts one in four Americans over 65—heart failure, paralysis, cancer, HIV/AIDS and dozens of others. These early trials represent the final bridge to bringing therapies and cures to patients. These initial results must be refined and tested further, but they represent critical milestones of progress in a revolutionary era of medical research.
Americans for Cures was formed on November 3rd, 2004—the day after the Proposition 71 election—so that support during the organizational period of the new stem cell funding agency, CIRM, and continuing support for the mission, could be funded with tax-exempt donations to a 501(c)3 organization.
Americans for Cures subsequently played a leadership role in assembling the amicus briefs that supported the case of the stem cell funding agency, CIRM, when ideologically extreme opposition incorporated a new non-profit in California and sued on constitutional and statutory grounds to invalidate the agency. Munger, Tolles and Olson contributed their legal services in leading the amicus for USC, Stanford, Salk, City of Hope, and a number of patient advocacy organizations. The strength of the amicus brief provided a depth of insight to the judicial system that helped with the accelerated trial schedule and the verdict at the Superior Court, Court of Appeals and California Supreme Court, in favor of the agency, on every one of 50 or more different causes of action.
Throughout this period, and particularly now, Americans for Cures has a vital role in communicating back to the public that their visionary investment of $6 billion has numerous milestones of success, and has surpassed many of the initial projections on levels of therapeutic progress that were possible in the first ten years.
To accomplish this objective, Americans for Cures is leading a “Report Back to the Public” communication program to inform and engage the 7 million California citizens, civil society leaders and leadership organizations who endorsed and/or voted in support of Proposition 71, including the 70+ patient advocacy organizations, the 30+ Nobel Laureates, 150+ elected officials, the 30+ Chambers of Commerce and business and labor groups, of the remarkable progress in stem cell research.