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Archive for November, 2009

What Paralyzed People Want

WHAT PARALYZED PEOPLE WANT

By Don C. Reed

Remember the old English legend about the man who had to find out (on pain of death) what every woman wants?

Hold that thought, please…

A few days ago, Gloria and I drove down to a paralysis support group meeting at  Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. An outstanding medical facility (a Center of Excellence in every sense of the word, though always short of funding) SCVM works with paralyzed people, both during treatment and, importantly, afterward.    

As every good meeting should, this one began with pizza. Everybody had two pieces of pizza (well, maybe somebody had more than his share, but nobody tattled on the former pizza-eating champion of Castro Valley High) and then we talked.

Gloria took notes, for which I am indebted. I always start off writing stuff down, but then I get excited and when I start to talk the pencil stops.   

With the exception of us and one or two attendants, everybody in the room was paralyzed. Gloria always says, “Look past the chair”, which is good advice, because it is the spirit of the person which determines him or her, but at this meeting life in a chair was the common denominator, and we were all linked by that experience.

One man, David, was leaving the medical center.

Soft-voiced Richard Patterson called the meeting to order, and then focused on David: asking him, did he have any concerns, or worries about leaving the center? 

I almost choked on my pizza. What a question!  Four months ago, David’s body had been healthy, normal. Then, the accident, and paralysis… But here at least there were nurses and therapists, doctors and friends in chairs, people who understood, and wanted to help. There were ramps, accessible bathrooms and showers.

Now, to leave an environment designed to meet his needs, trading it for a world which basically does not care—did he have any concerns? 

There was a long pause. 

But Richard waited patiently, giving David the interviewer’s gift of silent attention.

At last, David said, as a matter of fact, he did have some questions about flying—what was involved, for a paralyzed person on a commercial airline?

I thought about Roman, and what it took to get him on a plane. For one thing, he had to be lifted by two or three attendants and/or me, from his wheelchair into the narrow aisle chair. Then, for his own protection, they had to strap his legs together, which I hated. He was always cheerful about it, encouraging them as they took on the unfamiliar task. 

Practical tips came from all corners of the room.

The chair itself: make sure it gets on the plane! Single out an individual, get him/her involved, ask if they personally will make sure your only means of transportation gets safely stowed aboard. If the plane arrives without the chair, you are stuck in the airport. Once you are actually on board, ask another steward to go and double-check, make sure the chair was stowed. It must be securely fastened,  tied into place, a high-performance piece of gear must not bounce around loose.  At the far end of the flight, inspect your chair before you transfer into it; if it is damaged, complain immediately.

Toilet needs: plan ahead.  Wheelchair drivers can’t fit into narrow airplane bathrooms. Restrict fluids several hours before. Catheterize (inserting a rubber tube into the urethral canal) right before the trip. If you get caught short on the flight, ask for a blanket for privacy, put it across your lap, and “cath” yourself right there. For those with no hand use, the caregiver must travel in the seat beside yours.

Tonight’s main event speaker was a scientist, who planned to ask the opinions of paralyzed folks about a project he was working on. A great idea—but at the last minute he had to cancel.

Richard went ahead anyway. I got the impression that he was pretty good in emergencies, that he would go ahead with the meeting in the middle of a flood. Sure enough, he passed around copies of brainstorming tips from the scientist, questions about the project.  

Unfortunately– the brainstorming sheet was written in scientific-ese… for me at least, it was indecipherable.

If the scientist had been there to translate, maybe it could have worked—but it was full of sentences like: “MAP study felt to be unrealistic with sample size”.

I knew if Roman was here, (he was coaching his son’s basketball team) he would be asking one particular question—the same one asked every year at “Meet the Scientists Day”, at the Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act, held at UC Irvine. The scientists explained their projects, and that was fine. But also the scientists were there to listen to the people in chairs.

“If you had control over a scientist, what would you want him or her to work on?”

Richard was kind enough to let me ask that question of the group.

As always, the comments were direct, and stimulating.

“They could develop a personal ultrasound monitor, small enough to take along, let me know when the bladder is full”, someone suggested.

As always, bowel and bladder control was the most prominent concern. No one likes to be tied down by the needs of the body, two hours (and an attendant) just to use the toilet.

Which was more important, walking or gripping? Hand use, by far.

They were of course interested in the project closest to human trials: Dr. Hans Keirstead’s work with embryonic stem cells, differentiated into cells to re-insulate those in the damaged spinal cord. They knew this was only for “acutes” (new injuries, only a few days after the accident) and only for low injuries, broken backs instead of necks. (The latter may be changing, due to new data just presented to the FDA).

They wanted scientists to focus on chronic injuries, those who had been paralyzed for a while. This is crucial. 

Nobody stays acute. Every new injury becomes an old one, and that means chronic.

Suddenly, everything stopped. Above us was a thrum-thrum-thrum-thrum noise—a helicopter approaching. Someone said he hated that sound, because it meant the arrival of a paralyzed person: some one else whose life was now so monumentally challenged.

Like the young man I met here years ago, shot in a drive-by attack. Almost completely paralyze, he told me his goal in life was to be able to direct attendants how to take care of him. He could breathe and talk but that was about all. I wondered how he was doing. Was he still alive? Did he have the money to take care of himself?

The voices rose again.

Spasticity was a major concern: when the legs flail about, uncontrollably. When this happens to Roman, I am never sure what to do. Generally, I do as little as possible. If I was to tackle the legs, the violence of the struggle might pitch him off the chair. On the other hand, we did not want his foot lashing against a doorway or something.  So, was this something scientists should work to prevent, or was it valuable as a form of exercise?

Dysreflexia, when nerve messages blocked by the damaged spine cannot get through, and suddenly a wave of unforeseen consequences happen, perhaps including death.

Sexual function, one person said, and a wave of nods went around the room.

And then somebody said—

Politics.

Now, you cannot say stem cell politics in front of me and expect me to be silent. There are certain topics about which I must speak or explode.   

Naturally, I had to brag about the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. I told the good stuff, like that one billion dollars had already gone out in research, plus the program had already attracted another billion dollars in matching funds.

I pointed them to the website (increasingly powerful) www.cirm.ca.gov, where you could click on the “meetings” tab and find out when the next one was, and join us there.

They would be so welcome. Also necessary, if their views were to advance.

I go to as many of the meetings as I can, which is most of them, and I talk the way I eat pizza, which is to say enthusiastically—but often I am the only public person there.  

This wonderful program, dedicated champions of research working to advance the dream of cure—but the disability community all too often is not there.

“Nothing about us, without us”, a disability advocate once said, and that is a terrific sentiment, words to live by—but it also puts the responsibility on  people in chairs.

Suppose there is a hearing in the State Capitol about stem cell research. Somebody has to speak to the concerns of the enormous disability community.

I will go, of course, and so will Roman and Karen and two or three other stalwarts, when their health and schedule permits—but there should be dozens there, at least.

Roughly one American in five has a disability, either physical or mental—and these folks have families—when you stop and think, that’s pretty much everybody.

If the disability community was ever represented in anything like our true numbers, the government could never ignore us again

This ridiculous fight about health care would have been over before it began—like, duh, public option, that is a middle of the road option, not extreme—of course we will have it!

It took so few people to move a mountain.  If just the people in this room—maybe thirty– worked together, there was no limit to what they could accomplish.

I told them about Texans for the Advancement of Medical Research, (TAMR) and how a group of people no larger than this group had fought back against the anti-research forces—and had done so for years. Texas has a three billion dollar cancer program, and as we get closer to cures, it is only right and proper that some of that money should go to stem cell research. The opposition worked hard to deny that, putting in a clause that no embryonic stem cell research should ever be funded—but TAMR fought back, and left that door open to the future. Texas is still the most conservative state in the nation, probably, but one day they will get tired of denying their community the hope of cure. When they do, it will be because of a few patient advocates, themselves with health problems, but they would not sit home and be left out of the equation.

Everybody here had the paralysis mountain to climb, in addition to all the other problems everyone faces. It is tough—extremely tough—for even the most dedicated wheelchair warrior to travel.

But remember the story of the man who had to find out what every woman wants?

Finally, he met up with an old woman, bent and wrinkled, who said she would tell him the secret—if he promised to marry her. Seeing the alternative was execution, he said yes.

And she whispered the secret in his ear. Every woman wants–

Power. They want the same thing every person wants: control over their own destiny.

It is the same for people in chairs. Nobody wants charity, but everybody wants to control their own life—and that cannot be achieved individually.

Does the opposition fight alone? Never.

And neither should we.

The only way to advance is to organize.

Example: Remember when HIV/AIDS was considered an automatic death sentence?

What if the patients had just accepted what the doctors told them, that there was no hope? Nothing against doctors, of course, but they are mechanics of the body. As with an auto mechanic, there is more for a doctor to know than they can ever learn in a lifetime; they cannot be expected to know what scientists spend their own lives learning as well.

The people with HIV/AIDS got tired of being left alone to die, and so they got vocal. They and friends and family organized, and made noise systematically, until all of a sudden the reaction was: “Oh, no, here they come again—we better do something!”

Today, while there is still as yet no cure for HIV, there are medications available, and our friends have a chance at living– because the HIV/AIDS community got active.

We face huge decisions: like should we put protections of stem cell research into law? If not, what is to prevent an anti-research President (as I believe a President Sarah Palin would be, for instance) from doing damage? When Senator Diane DeGette and Representative Mike Castle come up with their new version of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, (twice vetoed by former President Bush) we must get that passed without delay.

Huge example: the National Institutes for Health  (NIH), is the ultimate source of research funding in our land. If we want the scientists to have the funding to fight for cures, the National Institutes of Health itself must be funded.

President Obama supports the NIH, bigtime. But we need to let him know we back his efforts. If we do not, there is a distinct possibility the NIH funding may be savagely cut. Remember, every leader works on consensus. He/she must balance the competing interests. And who are the competing interests? These are the folks who step up to the table and demand to be heard.  If we do not speak —we will be ignored.

Want something you can do right now? Here is a message from our friends at Research!America, whose sole purpose is to advance the research which will save lives and ease suffering. (They of course have no connection to any of my personal opinions; I just support their work, and so should every American family who wants the best medicine science can provide.)

I clicked on the following, which is set up so you can contact the President: took about 90 seconds to go to the website and send an email they have waiting there for you—so easy!

And vital.

 

 

 

 

Thank President Obama for Reprioritizing Science and Health

Urge Him to Fulfill His Commitment to Research

During this season of thanks, join advocates nationwide to express your gratitude for the recent revitalization of research. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has invigorated the research community after years of diminishing budgets for the National Institutes of Health.

Please contact President Obama now to thank him for his recommitment to science and urge him to continue to make research a priority in Fiscal Year 2011. It is critical to strengthen the scientific and economic momentum generated by ARRA by making NIH’s new research capacity permanent.

President Obama will decide what funding to recommend for NIH before the end of the year. Patients, scientists and other research advocates across the U.S. must demonstrate our collective support for his innovation strategy by sending a strong call to robustly invest in NIH.  Write to President Obama today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NEBRASKA STANDS UP FOR SCIENTIFIC FREEDOM!

 By Don C. Reed

 Moments ago, a Nebraskan, University Regent Jim McClurg, struck a blow for scientific freedom. I just had to tell you about it!

 Eight members on the board of regents. Four had authored a resolution to restrict embryonic stem cell research to only those few inadequate cell lines which existed before 2001—in other words to stop the research—at the only place in the state that could do it.

 Consider the pressure. The man’s phone number had been posted publicly by the Religious Right, which urged its membership to call Mr. McClurg, and “politely” (their word) convince him to vote the way the Religious Right demanded.

 But he would not bend. He voted against the resolution. He deserves the respect and appreciation of all who support research for cure.

 He and three other members of the board—thank you, Chuck Hassebrook of Lyons, Bob Whitehouse of Papillion, and Kent Schroeder of Kearney—all voted in favor of research for cure.

 The President of the College J.B. Milliken also spoke out clear and strong, which is extraordinarily difficult politically for a college leader: but he stood up for all of us.   

 Champion scientist Larry Goldstein set aside his crowded schedule, and came to Nebraska to speak with whomever would listen. If you have heard Larry talk, you know you have heard one of our field’s best advocates, and an outstanding human being.

 And fighting every step of the way, were the patient advocates: like my buddy Victoria Kohout—and Sanford M. Goodman, President of the Nebraska Coalition for Lifesaving Cures.

 Mr. Sanford was kind enough to credit this column for spreading the word. He said that when he contacted other states to ask for information, they knew about the struggle, because they read it here. If so, I am very glad. If Nebraska wins, everybody wins.

 But this is Sandy Goodman’s moment, when he fought for Nebraska and the future of stem cell research.

 I want you to hear exactly what he said, when everything was hanging in the balance.

Chairman Schroeder and Regents; thank you for the opportunity to address you today.  I am Sanford M. Goodman, President of the Nebraska Coalition for Lifesaving Cures.

You have heard that research institutions in six other states have prospered under more severe restrictions than in Nebraska and that the work of international scientific leaders suggests that we should focus all our efforts on iPS, a key premise of the proposed resolution.

Notwithstanding the fact that the state analysis is too simplistic to be meaningful, of the states cited, only Louisiana has research restrictions similar to those being proposed here, and the two stem cell biologists there that I spoke to anticipate building pressure to remove those restrictions.

Iowa and Michigan were listed as having had bans of some sort – and they were both lifted due to the negative impact on those states.  Virginia has a cloning ban but no restrictions on embryonic stem cell research.  Minnesota and Pennsylvania were incorrectly listed as having long-standing bans on the use of embryonic stem cell lines.

As for the international scientific leaders cited, make no mistake about it — none would support the proposed resolution.  Indeed, two who contacted us yesterday are appalled that their names were used in this context.

Two of them were interviewed for a current article, along with Shinya Yamanaka and another scientist, in which they unanimously describe the important, ongoing role for new embryonic stem cell lines in highly regulated, ethical research to alleviate suffering and save lives.  George Daley also emphasized this point in his e-mail to us.

Among others, you have received letters from James Thomson and Sir Ian Wilmut, the International Society for Stem Cell Research, representing thousands of stem cell researchers, and, just yesterday, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest multidisciplinary science society, representing the interests of ten million scientists worldwide, and publisher of the prestigious peer-reviewed journal, Science.  Every single one of them expressed their support for President Milliken’s position on this issue.

The evidence is overwhelming that the underlying premise of the proposed resolution is entirely without foundation.  It will hinder, not advance, the University’s biomedical research program.

The resolution will harm the university and I urge you to vote it down.

I will close with substantially the same words with which I closed when I first addressed this issue before the regents on September 7, 2001.

I noted then that some see the derivation and use of embryonic stem cells as a devaluation of life.  But everything about embryonic stem cell research is a celebration and affirmation of life.

Parents yearning for a genetic offspring create the embryos in the first place.  Scientists dedicated to the preservation and improvement of life seek the opportunity to apply their skills and efforts to the search for cures with the otherwise to be discarded remains of these excess embryos.  Parents and loved ones of those who suffer want only to see them restored to the full enjoyment of a long life.

I quoted Senator Orin Hatch then as declaring “that this research is consistent with bedrock pro-life, pro-family values.”  Last March he said, “I strongly believe that being pro-life means helping the living by allowing critically important and ethical medical research to go forward.  This research enhances, not diminishes, human life.”

Life is what this work is all about.

So I urge you to make it clear to the dedicated researchers throughout the University of Nebraska system that you recognize their commitment to life and support them in their efforts; that you will stand with them through controversy; that Nebraska will not shrink from its obligation to contribute its talents to this great and promising new era of medical research.

Thank you.”

And thank you, Nebraska.

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NEBRASKA DECISION: Resolution to Ban Embryonic Stem Cell Research?

Friday, November 20th, Religious Right forces will attempt to impose their beliefs on the state of Nebraska. If they win, embryonic stem cell research will be banned at the University of Nebraska, (NU)— the only place large enough to do the research.

As you know, right to life groups had already agreed to a compromise law: LB 606, signed by every legislator in that state, and which was supposed to have settled the issue.

In exchange for major concessions and advantages given away by the pro-research side (no SCNT or therapeutic cloning, also no new stem cell lines made in the state, even a half-million dollar annual grant given to the Religious Right’s research of choice, adult stem cell research) the religious right groups agreed to back off on further anti-research legislation.

It was a harsh law, very restrictive. But at least it was something (we thought) that would let the researchers work without fear of further harassment.

Unfortunately: as soon the anti-research forces got their law, they immediately shifted their attack– to the only place in the state that could actually do the research.

If they can block embryonic stem cell research at NU, they will have succeeded with their original goal of blocking the research in the entire state, and all this talk of “compromise” will be revealed as an empty joke.

 Technically, they did not break their word. Technically.

 But it reminds me of another joke: remember the one about the Russians and the Americans having an athletic contest?

 According to the story, the Russians had a two-way contest with America, some sports event with only two countries entered. Russia lost; America won.

 But the Russian press release said: “Russian athletes perform brilliantly, finish strong second. American athletes do terribly, finish next to last.”

 That press release was technically accurate. But its planned impact was otherwise.

 Similarly, the Nebraska Religious Right did not break its carefully worded official promise—like a nation which signs a peace treaty, promising to end its war of bow and arrows and then shifts to machine guns instead—but there was a point of honor here.

 The bill (LB 606) was supposed to settle the issue for the state. It was a compromise. It was carefully worked out, with the full involvement of the Religious Right groups in the state. It involved major restrictions on the research—but it could have been lived with.

 It was peace.

 And then the peace was violated by this new assault.

 Personally, although an outsider to the state, I supported LB 606. I thought it was a reasonable compromise, though at the very edge of acceptability–and I backed it. Every great step forward is a compromise, and I supported this one. I felt it might be even be a useful example, an olive branch between two sides.

 People in the middle can shake hands; extremists never can.

 And then this happens?

 Personally, if I were a member of the Religious Right, (which obviously I am not) I would be on the phone right now, recommending that the move against the University of Nebraska be stopped: because it poisons the well for chances for future cooperation.

But of course they are not taking my advice. Here is how they will try to block the research.

They essentially claim ownership of the board of Regents of the University of Nebraska. Before the election, the Right to Life groups passed out a form, detailing their positions. If you wanted their support (which may swing 5% of the votes in a close election), you must agree to their demands. Apparently, a majority signed that political agreement.

 Now, the Religious Right issued their commands:  ordering the board to ban the research—shutting down the research they could not defeat in law.

Four Regents, all of whom received the Right to Life endorsement, wrote the resolution.

Four of eight. One more vote, and they can impose their policy. Who is that one man? 

His name is Jim McClurg. Whatever he decides in the end, he deserves credit for courage. When offered a chance to co-author the resolution (and give it the fifth vote, which would have imposed it on the state) he declined, saying:

“There’s a lot of good people on both sides of this issue who have heartfelt opinions on it. I’ll decide once I’ve heard what everybody has to say.”

—World Herald Bureau, Leslie Reed, “Stem Cells to Face Vote”, November 13, 2009

The religious right is putting enormous pressure on Mr. McClurg. They have publicly posted his name, email, and phone number, and encouraged their members to call him.  This is dirty pool, political bullying of the worst sort.

How would you like to have a bunch of religious enthusiasts calling your home, day and night?

As for the resolution itself, it is two pages of rationalization, trying to put as good a face as possible on the theft of research from a state.

Here is the only part that matters.

“…no research with stem cells derived from human embryos may be conducted unless the stem cell lines used in the research were derived prior to 8 p.m. Central Standard Time, on August 9, 2001….”

In other words, defy the Obama NIH guidelines, and go back the Bush era restrictions.

This is an extremist position: out of touch not only with the beliefs of Nebraskans ( NU President J.B. Milliken estimates that between 2/3 and ¾ of all Nebraskans support embryonic stem cell research) but also with the State’s government, the official state policy, America’s current policy and much more.

If the board obeys the right-to-life command, they will be overriding a carefully worked-out policy signed by all 48 Nebraska state legislators (Democrats and Republicans unanimously voted yes on LB 606, the compromise legislation), and the Governor of the State Dave Heineman, who signed that bill into law. 

The policy also ignores the expert opinion of virtually the entire scientific community.

Do I exaggerate? Let me prove my point, two ways: 

First, remember the national law, HR 3, the  bi-partisan Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act (Castle,DeGette), to allow federal funding for stem cell lines made from left-over blastocysts, which would otherwise have been thrown away after In Vitro Fertility (IVF) procedures.

Who was against it? Here is the official list of organizations which opposed this bill.

  GROUPS AGAINST the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act:

The following list was obtained from the RSC Republican Study Committee, Rep. Jeb Hensnarling, (R-TX), Chairman, 132 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515.Legislative Bulletin, January 10, 2007

 “National Right to Life Committee, US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Family Research Council, Christian Coalition , Concerned Women for America, Focus on the Family, Christian Medical Association, Eagle Forum, Traditional Values Coalition, Southern Baptist Convention, Susan B. Anthony List, Republican National Committee for Life, Cornerstone Policy Research, Culture of Life Foundation, Religious Freedom Coalition, Coral Ridge Ministries, Center For Reclaiming America.”

End quote.

How many scientific groups do you see up there? How many patient groups? How many medical groups, disease advocacy groups, research groups–— there aren’t any. The opposition was entirely conservative religious/ideological political organizations.

And this, I strongly suspect, is what you would find if you made a list of those groups that are trying to kill the research at the college.

Point Two: Which groups support embryonic stem cell research?  That group is huge, far too large to fit comfortable in this small column. A part of it is included at the bottom of the page.

But if you want to really see the vast level of support, here is a website to visit.

Alliance for Stem Cell Research is a group I worked with to help pass Proposition 71, which funds stem cell research in California, the largest source of embryonic stem cell research funding in the world.

If you push control/click on it, and go to “coalition”, you will see the really astonishing levels of American support for embryonic stem cell research.  

If the Nebraska University Board of Regents caves in to the religious right, it will have a long term negative effect on the state. Jobwise, Nebraska will be denied opportunities open to the rest of the country. In humanitarian costs, the nation will be denied Nebraska’s contribution to the advancement of medical science.

But right now, think of just one child, growing up in Nebraska today, maybe dreaming of becoming a scientist, to help heal suffering and save lives through medical research.

If this backwards resolution is passed, the only advice I could give to that child would be:

Leave Nebraska.

Folks, there is a lot more I could say, but time is running short. The decision will be made this Friday, in Lincoln, Nebraska. If you have an opinion, voice it now, or forever hold your peace.

Here is how you can be heard.

Below is a short piece I found on the web, from a champion athlete of Nebraska. (Please note that he has no connection with any of my opinions.)  I am running it without the pictures, to save space.

Protect Research in Nebraska

I’m Rik Bonness and these are our sons, Eric and Beau.

Both of our sons have Type 1 diabetes. They have lived with tens of thousands of finger pricks, insulin shots and constant worry over signs of retina or nerve damage or kidney failure. We believe someday there will be a cure for diabetes.

As an All-American center at the University of Nebraska, I was expected to give 100% every minute of every game.

And that’s what we need to do here in Nebraska when it comes to research. Stemcell research – including embryonic stem cell research – offers hope to our sons and thousands of Nebraskans who suffer from diabetes, Parkinson’s and other devastating diseases.

 For years, it has been the policy of the University of Nebraska to follow the strict, ethical guidelines established by the National Institutes of Health, the federal government and state law. But now the Board of Regents is being pressured to change that policy to ban some of the most promising avenues of research.

 Now, I’m asking you to give 100% for Nebraska.

Please go to http://www.nebraskacures.com and ask your regent to keep the University’s existing research policy.

 8401 West Dodge Road, Suite 100, Omaha, NE 68114  402-390-2461

www.nebraskacures.com

 P.S. Here is a partial list of the supporters of  California’s stem cell research initiative: compare it to the list of  opponents of  H.R. 8.

 

 

 

 

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A partial list of members. Titles and affiliations are included for identification purposes only.

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California Elected Officials and
Governmental Organizations

 

Disease and Patient Advocacy Organizations

 

AIDS Project Los Angeles

AIDS Research Alliance

ALS Association

ALS Therapy Development Foundation

Alliance for Aging Research

Alzheimer’s Association, California Council

American Diabetes Association

American Lung Association of California

American Parkinson’s Disease Association

Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America, Southern California Chapter

California Arthritis Foundation Council

California Hepatitis C Task Force

Californians for Cure

Californians for Disability Rights

Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation

Children’s Neurobiological Solutions

The Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation

Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research
Comprised of 84 nationally recognized patient organizations,
universities, scientific societies, foundations, and individuals.

Cure Autism Now Foundation

CuresNow

Cure Paralysis Now

Cure Pulmonary Fibrosis and COPD

Cystic Fibrosis Research, Inc.

Diabetes Research Institute

Diabetes Research Institute Foundation

Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation

Diabetes Coalition of California

Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy

Fair Foundation: Fair Allocations in Research

Friends of Cancer Research

Hereditary Disease Foundation
An international organization committed to the cure of Huntington’s disease.

International Society for Stem Cell Research

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

Steven and Michele Kirsch Foundation

 

 

Late Onset Tay-Sachs Foundation

Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Lupus Foundation of America, Inc. California Chapter

Lupus LA

Maximum Life Foundation

The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis

Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research

Napa Spinal Cord Injury Network

National Association of Hepatitis Task Forces

National Brain Tumor Foundation

National Coalition for Cancer Research (NCCR)

National Medical Association

National Parkinson Foundation, Orange County Chapter

National Prostate Cancer Coalition

The Neuropathy Association

Paralysis Project of America

Parkinson’s Action Network

Parkinson’s Alliance

Parkinson’s Disease Foundation

The Parkinson’s Institute

Peninsula Parkinson’s Support Group, Inc.

Peninsula Stroke Association

PKIDS

Project ALS

Prostate Cancer Foundation

Research! America

Research for Cure
A non-profit organization raising funds for cures for spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological diseases.

San Francisco AIDS Foundation

Sickle Cell Disease Foundation of California

Stem Cell Action Network

Stem Cell Research Foundation

Student Society for Stem Cell Research

Team Parkinson

United Spinal Association

Women’s Cancer Research Fund

 

Medical Groups and Hospitals

 

AIDS Services Foundation Orange County

American Academy of Pediatrics, California District IX

American Nurses Association of California

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, District IX

American College of Cardiology, California Chapter

American Society of Gene Therapy

American Society of Hematology

American Society for Reproductive Medicine

American Society for Neural Transplantation & Repair

Association of Northern California Oncologists

Auxiliary to the National Medical Association
Promotes the interests of physicians and patients of African descent.

Alameda-Contra Costa Medical Association

The Buck Institute for Age Research

The Burnham Institute

California Academy of Family Physicians

California Association of Nurse Practitioners

California Biomedical Research Association

California Society of Anesthesiologists

California Medical Association
Comprised of over 35,000 physicians.

California Society of Pathologists

Cedars-Sinai Health System

Central Valley Health Network
Providing health care to 98 clinical sites in 19 Central Valley counties.

 

Childrens Hospital Los Angeles

Children’s Oncology Group, California Coalition

Cord Blood Options

Endocrine Metabolic Medical Center

Genetics Policy Institute

HealthTech: The Health Technology Center

Humboldt-Del Norte County Medical Society

Institute of Myeloma and Bone Cancer Research

Kern County Medical Society

LA Care Health Plan

Lifepoint Wellness

Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute (LA BioMed)

Marin County Healthcare District

Monterey County Medical Association

Medical Oncology Association of Southern California

Pennington Institute for Health and Wellness

San Francisco Medical Society
A nonprofit organization consisting of over 1200 physicians that advocate in the interest of public health.

San Joaquin Medical Society

Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society

UCLA AIDS Institute

Venice Family Clinic

 

 

Nobel Prize Winners

 

Sidney Altman, PhD
Sterling Professor of Biology & Chemistry,
Yale University
Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1989)

David Baltimore, PhD
President, California Institute of Technology
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1975)

Baruj Benacerraf, MD
Past President, Sidney Farber Cancer Institute
Former Chair of Pathology, Harvard Medical School
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1980)

Paul Berg, PhD
Professor of Cancer Research Emeritus, Director Emeritus Beckman Center
Stanford University
Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1980)

J. Michael Bishop, MD
University Professor and Director, G.W. Hooper Foundation
Chancellor, University California, San Francisco
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1989)

Paul D. Boyer, PhD
Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry
University of California, Los Angeles
Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1997)

Sydney Brenner, PhD
Distinguished Professor
Salk Institute for Biological Sciences
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (2002)

Renato Dulbecco, MD
Distinguished Professor and President Emeritus
Salk Institute for Biological Sciences
Nobel Prize Physiology or Medicine (1975)

Edmond H. Fischer, PhD
Biochemistry Professor Emeritus
University of Washington
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1992)

Walter Gilbert, PhD
Professor of Cellular and Molecular Biology
Harvard Univeristy
Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1980)

Donald Glaser, PhD
Professor of Physics and Neurobiology
University California, Berkeley
Nobel Prize in Physics (1960)

Joseph L. Goldstein, MD
Regenetal Professor, University of Texas
Southwestern Medical Center
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1985)

Roger Guillemin, MD, PhD
Distinguished Professor
Salk Institute for Biological Sciences
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1977)

Leland H. Hartwell, PhD
President & Director
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (2001)

Herbert A. Hauptman, PhD
President, Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute,
State University of New York at Buffalo
Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1985)

Alan J. Heeger, PhD
Professor of Physics
University of California, Santa Barbara
Nobel Prize in Chemistry (2000)

H. Robert Horvitz, PhD
Professor of Biology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (2002)

David Hubel, MD
Research Professor of Neurobiology
Harvard University
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1981)

Eric R. Kandel
Director & Professor, Institute for Brian Sciences
Columbia University
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (2000)

Walter Kohn, Ph.D.
Professor of Physics, Emeritus and Research Professor
University of California, Santa Barbara
Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1998)

Arthur Kornberg, MD
Emeritus Pfeiffer Merner Professor of Biochemistry
Stanford University
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1959)

Herbert Kroemer, PhD
Professor of Computer & Electrical Engineering
University of California, Santa Barbara
Nobel Prize in Physics (2000)

Rudy A. Marcus, PhD
Arthur Amos Noyes Professor of Chemistry
California Institute of Technology
Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1992)

Paul Nurse
President, Rockefeller University
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (2001)

George A. Olah, PhD
Donald P. & Katharine B. Loker
Distinguished Professor of Organic Chemistry
University of Southern California
Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1994)

George Palade, MD
Professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine
UCSD School of Medicine
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1974)

Martin L. Perl, PhD
Professor and Chair of the High-Energy Physics Faculty, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center
Stanford University
Nobel Prize in Physics (1995)

Stanley Prusiner, MD
Professor of Neurology
University of California, San Francisco
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1997)

Burton Richter, PhD
Director Emeritus, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Stanford University
Nobel Prize in Physics (1976)

K. Barry Sharpless, PhD
Professor of Chemistry
Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla
Nobel Prize in Chemistry (2001)

E. Donnall Thomas, MD
Professor Emeritus of Medicine
Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1990)

Susumu Tonegawa, PhD
Director, Picower Center for Learning & Memory
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1987)

Daniel C. Tsui, PhD
Arthur LeGrand Doty Professor of Electrical Engineering, Princeton University
Nobel Prize in Physics (1998)

Harold E. Varmus, MD
President & CEO
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Former Director, National Institutes of Health (1993-1999)
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1989)

Frank Wilczek, PhD
Herman Feshbach Professor of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Nobel Prize in Physics (2004)

 

Medical Doctors

For a more complete list of Medical Doctors
who support a YES vote on Prop 71, click here.
Karen Aboody, MD
Neuroscientist
City of Hope National Medical Center

Paul J. Cimoch, MD, PhD
Director
Center for Special Immunology

Denard Fobbs, MD
Director/Owner
Lifepoint Wellness Institute

Steve Forman, MD
Director of Hematology and
Bone Marrow Transplantation
City of Hope

Thomas Freeman, MD
Medical Director
Center for Aging and Brain Repair
University of South Florida

Jon M. Greif, DO, FACS
Cancer Surgeon/Researcher
Kaiser Permanente Medical Center

Hans Gritch, MD
Surgical Director
University of California, Los Angeles

Kevin Kaiserman, MD
Medical Director, Clinical Diabetes Center
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Fran Kaufman, MD
Division Head of Endocrinology and Metabolism
Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles
Past President, American Diabetes Association

Bertram H. Lubin, MD
President and Director of Research,
Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute
Co-Director, Northern California Sickle Cell Center

Phyllis Preciado, MD
Sequoia Community Health Foundation
Fresno Chapter President, CA Latino Medical Association

J. Joseph Prendergast, MD
President
Endocrine Metabolic Center

Camillo Ricordi, MD
Scientific Director
Diabetes Research Institute

Stuart Siegel, MD
Head, Division of Hematology-Oncology
Director, Childrens Center for Cancer & Blood Diseases
Childrens Hospital Los Angeles

Edwin Tasch, MD
Chief, Department of Neurology
Kaiser Santa Clara

Raymond Weisberg, MD
Past President
American Cancer Society, California Division

 

Professors, Researchers and Scientists

For a more complete list of Professors, Researchers and Scientists
who support a YES vote on Prop 71, click here.
Genevieve M. Ames, PhD
Professor, Pacific Institute for Research
University of California, Berkeley

David Anderson, PhD
Professor of Molecular, Cellular & Integrative Neuroscience
California Institute of Technology

Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD
Professor of Biology and Physiology
University of California, San Francisco
California Scientist of the Year, 1999

Jeffrey Bluestone, PhD
Director, UCSF Diabetes Center
University of California, San Francisco

Susan Bryant, PhD
Dean, School of Biological Sciences
Professor of Developmental & Cell Biology
University of California, Irvine

Thomas Cesario, MD
Dean, College of Medicine
University of California, Irvine
Orange County Medical Association,
Physician of the Year, 2001

Dennis Clegg
Professor and Chair
Dept of Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology
University of California, Santa Barbara

Roy Curry, PhD
Professor and Associate Dean
University of California, Davis

Kenneth Dorshkind, PhD
Professor and Vice-Chair
Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
David Geffen School of Medicine
University of California, Los Angeles

Caleb E. Finch, PhD
Professor, Neurobiology of Aging
University of Southern California

Fred Gage, PhD
Professor, Laboratory of Genetics
Salk Institute

Robert Gish, MD
Medical Director Liver Transplant Program
California Pacific Medical Center

Lawrence Goldstein, PhD
Professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine
University of California, San Diego School of Medicine

Barry Greenberg, MD
Professor of Medicine
University of California, San Diego
Secretary, Heart Failure Society of America

David A. Greenberg, MD, PhD
Professor and Vice President
Special Research Program
Buck Institute

G. Denman Hammond, MD
Founder, National Childhood Cancer Foundation
Associate VP of Health Affairs
University of Southern California

Clark D. Hinderleider, MD, PhD
Secretary, Clinician-Scientists for the Public’s Weal
Instructor of Surgery, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery

Edward W. Holmes, MD
Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences
Dean, University of California San Diego
School of Medicine

Lois Jovanovic, MD
Director and CSO
Sansum Diabetes Research Institute, Santa Barbara

Henry Klassen, MD, PhD
Director, Stem Cell Research
Children’s Hospital of Orange County

Michael Karin, PhD
Frank and Else Schilling American Cancer Society Professor
Cancer Biology Program
University of California, San Diego School of Medicine

Hans Kierstead, PhD
Assistant Professor, Institute for Aging and Dementia
University of California, Irvine

Gary Kleiman
Executive Director
Diabetes Research Institute Foundation

Harley Kornblum, MD, PhD
Director, Neural Stem Cell Research Center
University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine

Richard E. Latchaw, MD
Professor of Neuroradiology
University of California, Davis

 

Bertram H. Lubin, MD
President, Director of Research
Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute
Co-Director, Northern CA Sickle Cell Center of Oakland

Randall W. Maxey, MD, PhD
President
National Medical Association

Richard Murphy, PhD
President & CEO
Salk Institute

Elizabeth Neufeld
Professor of Biological Chemistry
David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA
California Scientist of the Year, 1990

Michael Oldstone
Head, Division of Virology
Scripps Research Institute

Robert Pearlman
President and CEO
Diabetes Research Institute Foundation

Renee Reijo Pera, PhD
Associate Professor
Co-Director, Stem Cell Program
University of California, San Francisco

Phil A. Pizzo, MD
Dean, Stanford University School of Medicine
Vice Chair, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation

John C. Reed, MD, PhD
President & CEO
Burnham Institute

Alan Robinson, MD
Associate Vice Chancellor
Executive Associate Dean
David Geffen School of Medicine
University of California, Los Angeles

Paul Sanberg, PhD, DSc
Distinguished Professor and Director
Center for Aging and Brian Repair
University of South Florida

Judy Shizuru, MD
Assistant Professor Bone Marrow Transplant Division
Stanford University School of Medicine

Stuart Siegel, MD
Professor and Vice-Chair, Department of Pediatrics
University of Southern California
Keck School of Medicine
Director, Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Evan Snyder, MD, PhD
Professor and Director, Stem Cell Program
Burnham Institute

Oswald Steward, PhD
Director, Reeve-Irvine Research Center
University of California, Irvine

Gary Steinberg, MD, PhD
Co-Director, Neuroscience Institute
Co-Director, Stroke Center
Stanford University

Leon Thal, MD
Professor and Chairman, Department of Neurosciences
Director, Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center
University of California, San Diego

David Thompson, PhD
Professor and Chair of Biology
California State University, San Bernadino

David Warburton, DSc, MD
Professor of Pediatrics and Surgery
Childrens Hospital Los Angeles

Irving Weissman, MD
Director
Institute for Cancer/Stem Cell Biology and Medicine
Stanford University
California Scientist of the Year, 2002

Phyllis M. Wise, PhD
Dean of the Division of Biological Sciences
Distinguished Professor of Neurobiology
University California, Davis

Keith Yamamoto, PhD
Professor of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology
Executive Vice Dean
University of California at San Francisco
School of Medicine
University of California at San Francisco

Jerome A. Zack
Professor of Medicine
University of California, Los Angeles
AIDS Institute

Mark Zern, MD
Director Transplant Research
University of California, Davis

 

Disease and Patient Advocacy Organization Leaders

 

Raymond Barglow
Bioethicist & Founder
Stem Cell Action Network

Mary Brown
President & CEO
Sickle Cell Disease Foundation of California

L. Natalie Carroll, MD
Chair,
Institute for the Advancement of Multicultural
and Minority Medicine

Pamela Freeman Fobbs, JD
President
Auxiliary to the National Medical Association

Paul Carvey
President
American Society of Neural Transplantation
and Repair

Richard Darling, DDS
Founder
Fair Foundation

Elizabeth Benson Forer
CEO
Venice family Clinics

Thomas Freeman, MD
Past President
American Society for Neural Transplantation
and Repair

Michael Freidman, MD
President and CEO
City of Hope

Maria Fuhrman
Vice President
Hope for A Cure Guild

Thom Gauthier
Executive Director
International Society for Stem Cell Research

Karen Miner
Founder, Research for Cure

Mary Tyler Moore
International Chairman,
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

Gail Pressberg
Chair of Public Affairs
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

Don Reed
Founder
Californians for Cure

Bill Remak
Chairman
CA Hepatitis C Task Force

Michael Roanhaus
President
Cystic Fibrosis Research, Inc.

Joan Samuelson
Founder and President
Parkinson’s Action Network

Kenneth Trevett, JD
President and CEO
Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute

Carol Walton
Executive Director
Parkinson Alliance

Raymond Weisberg, MD
Past President
American Cancer Society, California Division

Nancy Wexler, PhD
President
Hereditary Disease Foundation

Geoffrey Williams
President
Lymphoma Research Foundation

Ann Winthrop
President
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation of Orange County

 

 

Women’s Advocacy Groups and Leaders

For a more complete list of women’s groups and leaders
who support a YES vote on Prop 71, click here.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, District IX

American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Black Women Organized for Political Action

California NOW

Catholics for Free Choice

Dr. Donnica.com
The first name in women’s health

Feminist Majority Foundation

 

Hadassah: Women’s Zionist Organization of America

National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease

Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California (PPAC)

Sapphire Women’s Health Group

Westwind Women’s Health Services

Women’s Cancer Research Fund

Women For:

Women for Reform Judaism

 

Latino Groups and Organizations

For a more complete list of Latino organizations and leaders
who support a YES vote on Prop 71, click here.
Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Labor Council for Latin American Advancement

La Raza Lawyers Association

Latino Business Forum

Latino Coalition for a Healthy California

National Coalition of Hispanic Organizations

African American Groups and Organizations

For a more complete list of African American organizations and leaders
who support a YES vote on Prop 71, click here.
Black Women Organized for Political Action

California Black Chamber of Commerce

California NAACP

FAME: First AME Church

Greater LA African American Chamber of Commerce

National Medical Association

Operation Hope

Community Organizations and Leaders

 

Ashley’s Diabetes Information Center

Asian American Donor Program

Ballot Initiative Strategy Center

Black Women Organized for Political Action

California Federation of Teachers

California NAACP

California National Organization for Women

Feminist Majority Foundation

LA Gay and Lesbian Center

Labor Council for Latin American Advancement

La Raza Lawyers Association

Latino Coalition for a Healthy California

LGBT Greens of Los Angeles

Lincoln Club of San Diego

Methodist Federation for Social Action

National Association of Socially Responsible Organizations

National Coalition of Hispanic Organizations

Operation HOPE

Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California (PPAC)

Rock the Vote

Women For:

Michael Booher
Fire Chief
Bridgeport Fire Department

John Bryant
Founder and CEO
Operation HOPE

 

 

 

Delaine Eastin
Former Superintendent of
Public Instruction

Charles Gahn
Fire Chief
Ocotillo Wells Fire Department

Jose A. Garcia
Executive Director
Inquilinos Unidos – United Tenants

Elizabeth Benson Forer
CEO
Venice Family Clinic

Robert A. Martinez
President
Pico Water District

Margie Murray
Vice President
Valley Democrats United

Keda Alcala Obledo
Executive Director
National Coalition of Hispanic Organizations

Mario Obledo
President
National Coalition of Hispanic Organizations
Former CA Secretary of Health & Welfare

Terry O’Connor
Principal
Antelope Valley Adult School

Lois Rodriguez
President
California La Raza Lawyers Association

Jeff Sheehy
Former HIV/AIDS Advisor
to Mayor Gavin Newsom

Paul Vega
Executive Director
Young Latino Leaders

Daphna E. Ziman
Founder and Chairperson
Children Uniting Nations

 

Faith Organizations and Leaders

 

Catholics for a Free Choice

Congregation Beth Am

FAME: First AME Church

Hadassah

Women of Reform Judaism
The Federation of Temple Sisterhoods

The Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring

California Church IMPACT
Legislative Advocacy Sister Organization
of the California Council of Churches

Rabbi Camille Shira Angel
Congregation Sha’ar Zahav

Rabbi Raphael Asher
Congregation B’nai Tikvah

Rabbi Michael Berk
Northern California Regional Director Union for Reform Judaism

Rabbi Kenneth Chasen
Leo Baeck Temple

Rabbi Elliot N. Dorff
Rector and Distinguished Professor of Philosophy
University of Judaism, Los Angeles
Conservative Judaism’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards

Rabbi Jacqueline Koch Ellenson
Director
Women’s Rabbinic Network

Rabbi David Ellenson
President
Hebrew Union College
Jewish Institute of Religion

Rabbi Sheila Goloboy
Congregation Beth Israel

Rabbi Alan Henkin
So Cal Regional Director Union for Reform Judaism

Reverend Vern Jones
Episcopal Priest

Rabbi Stuart Kelman
Congregation Netivot Shalom

Rabbi Mordecai Kieffer
Temple Emet

Rabbi Steven Leder
Senior Rabbi

 

 

Rabbi Michael Lezak
Congregation Rodef Sholom

Rabbi Susan Lippe
Congregation Beth Am

Mac McConnel
Priest

Rabbi Janet Marder
President, Central Conference of American Rabbis
Senior Rabbi, Congregation Beth-Am

Rabbi Shaldon Marder
Jewish Home of San Francisco

Rabbi Sydney Mintz
Congregation Emanu-El

Rabbi Michelle Missaghieh
Temple Israel of Hollywood

Ricki Oleon
Western Federation of Temples Sisterhoods
Women of Reform Judaism

Rabbi Stephen S. Pearce
Congregation Emanu-El

Rabbi George Schlesinger
Congregation Beth Am Santa Rosa

Rabbi Jacob Traub
Past President
Northern California, Board of Rabbis

Jan Tuttleman
Past President
San Diego Women’s Division
United Women’s Federation

Rabbi Laura Novak Winer
Director
Youth and Informal Education Union for Reform Judaism

Rabbi Rick Winer
Congregation Beth Emek

Rabbi David Wolpe
Sinai Temple

Rabbi Koch Wolpe
Women’s Rabbinic Network

Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie
Union for Reform Judaism

Rabbi Josh Zweiback
Congregation Beth Am

 

Business and Labor Groups and Leaders

 

AFSCME: American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees

Alliance of California Taxpayers

BIOCOM
Life science industry association representing more than 450 member companies.

Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO)

CA/NV Council of Operating Engineers

California Healthcare Institute

California Black Chamber of Commerce

California Chamber of Commerce

Central City Association of Los Angeles

Contra Costa Council

Greater LA African American Chamber of Commerce

Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Latino Business Forum

Los Angeles Business Council

Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce

Orange County Business Council

Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce

San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce

San Diego County Taxpayers Association

San Francisco Chamber of Commerce

San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce

Tri Valley Business Council

 

 

United Chambers of Commerce

United Farm Workers

Valley Industry and Commerce Association

West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce

Steve & Lisa Altman
Executive Vice President
Qualcomm Incorporated

Steven Burrill
CEO
Burrill & Company

Brook Byers
Partner
Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers

John Doerr
Partner
Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers

Lucy Fisher
Producer
Red Wagon Entertainment

Michael Goldberg
Managing Director
Jasper Capital

Steven Krausz
Managing Partner
US Venture Partners

Herbert & Marion Sandler
Chairman and CEO
Golden West Financial Corporation Executive

George Shultz
Distinguished Fellow
Hoover Institution, Stanford University
Former US Secretary of State

Richard Ziman
Chairman and CEO
Arden Realty

 

 

Political Organizations and Leaders

 

Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club

Ballot Initiative Strategy Center

Berkeley Democratic Club

Black Women Organized for Political Action

California Democratic Party

California National Organization for Women

Culver City Democratic Club

Democratic Alliance for Action

Democratic Club of the High Desert

Democratic Party of the San Fernando Valley

Feminist Majority Foundation

FDR Democratic Club

Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club

Hayward Democratic Club

Irish American Democratic Club, San Francisco

LA County Democratic Central Committee

La Morinda Democratic Club

LGBT Greens of Los Angeles

Los Angeles County Democratic Party

Los Angeles County Young Democrats

Noe Valley Democratic Club

Placer County Democratic Central Committee

Richmond District Democratic Club

Rock the Vote

San Diego County Democratic Committee

San Fernando County Young Democrats

San Joaquin Valley Democratic Club

Santa Barbara Democratic League

Santa Clara County Democratic Party

Santa Clara Democratic Party

Seal Beach/Leisure World Democratic Club

Stonewall Democrats

Visalia Democratic Club

Margie Murray
Vice President
Valley Democrats United

Jim Wachob
President
Irish American Democratic Club, San Francisco

 

California Elected Officials and Governmental Organizations

Statewide Constitutional Officers

 

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
State of California

Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante
State of California

Controller Steve Westly
State of California

Attorney General Bill Lockyer
State of California

Treasurer Phil Angelides
State of California

Secretary of State Kevin Shelly
State of California

Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi
State of California

 

Federal Officeholders

 

President Jimmy Carter
United States of America

United States Senator Barbara Boxer
State of California

United States Dianne Feinstein
State of California

Congressman Xavier Becerra
US House of Representatives
31st District of California

Congressman Howard Berman
US House of Representatives
28dth District of California

Congresswoman Lois Capps
US House of Representatives
23rd District of California

Congressman Dennis Cardoza
US House of Representatives
18th District of California

Congresswoman Susan Davis
US House of Representatives
53rd District of California

Congressman Cal Dooley
US House of Representatives
20th District of California

Congresswoman Anna Eshoo
US House of Representatives
14th District of California

Congressman Sam Farr
US House of Representatives
17th District of California

Congressman Bob Filner
US House of Representatives
51st District of California

Congresswoman Jane Harman
US House of Representatives
36th District of California

Congressman Tom Lantos
US House of Representatives
12th District of California

Congresswoman Barbara Lee
US House of Representatives
9th District of California

 

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren
US House of Representatives
16th District of California

Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald
US House of Representatives
37th District of California

Congressman George Miller
US House of Representatives
7th District of California

Congresswoman Grace Napolitano
US House of Representatives
38th District of California

Congressman Doug Ose
US House of Representatives
3rd District of California

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi
US House of Representatives
8th District of California

Congresswoman Linda T. Sanchez
US House of Representatives
39th District of California

Congresswoman Hilda Solis
US House of Representatives
32nd District of California

Congressman Fortney Pete Stark
US House of Representatives
13th District of California

Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher
US House of Representatives
10th District of California

Congressman Mike Thompson
US House of Representatives
1st District of California

Congresswoman Diane Watson
US House of Representatives
33rd District of California

Congressman Henry Waxman
US House of Representatives
30th District of California

Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey
US House of Representatives
6th District of California

 

State Legislators

 

Senator Richard Alarcon
State Senator, 20th Senatorial District

Elaine Alquist
Candidate for State Senator, District 13

Assemblywoman Patty Berg
1st Assembly District of California

Assemblyman Rudy Bermudez
56th Assembly District of California

Senator John Burton
State Senator, 3rd Senatorial District

Senator Gilbert Cedillo
State Senator, 22nd Senatorial District

Assemblyman Ed Chavez
57th Assembly District of California

Senator Wesley Chesbro
State Senator, 2nd Senatorial District

Assemblywoman Judy Chu
49th Assembly District of California

Assemblyman Rebecca Cohn
24th Assembly District of California

Assemblywoman Ellen M. Corbett
18th Assembly District of California

Jim Costa
Former California State Senator
Current Congressional Candidate

Assemblyman John A. Dutra
20th Assembly District of California

Senator Denise Moreno Ducheny
State Senator, 40th Senatorial District

Assemblyman Mervyn M. Dymally
52nd Assembly District of California

Senator Martha Escutia
State Senator, 30th Senatorial District

Senator Liz Figueroa
State Senator, 10th Senatorial District

Assemblyman Marco Firebaugh
50th District of California

Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg
45th Assembly District of California

Assemblywoman Hannah-Beth Jackson
35th Assembly District of California

Assemblymember Christine Kehoe
76th Assembly District of California

Senator Sheila Kuehl
State Senator, 23rd Senatorial District

Assemblyman John Laird
27th Assembly District of California

Assemblyman Mark Leno
13th Assembly District of California

Assemblywoman Sally Lieber
22nd Assembly District of California

Assemblyman Alan Lowenthal
54th Assembly District of California

Senator Michael Machado
State Senator, 25th Senatorial District

Carole Migden
Chairwoman, California State Board of Equalization

Assemblywoman Cindy Montanez
39th Assembly District of California

Assemblywoman Gene Mullin
19th Assembly District of California

Assemblyman George Nakano
53rd Assembly District of California

Assemblyman Joe Nation
6th Assembly District of California

Fabian Nunez
Speaker of the Assembly

Senator Deborah Ortiz
State Senator, 6th Senatorial District
Chair, Senate Health and Human Services Committee

Senator Don Perata
State Senator, 9th Senatorial District

Assemblywoman Sarah Reyes
31st Assembly District of California

Senator Gloria Romero
State Senator, 24th Senatorial District

Assemblyman Simon Salinas
28th Assembly District of California

Senator Jack Scott
State Senator, 21st Senatorial District

Senator Byron Sher
State Senator, 11th Senatorial District

David Silva
Assembly Candidate
6th Assembly District of California

Assemblyman Joe Simitian
21st Assembly District of California

Senator Nell Soto
State Senator, 32nd Senatorial District

Senator Jackie Speier
State Senator, 8th Senatorial District

Assemblyman Darrel Steinberg
9th Assembly District of California

Senator Tom Torlakson
State Senator, 7th Senatorial District

Herb Wesson
Speaker Emeritus, California State Assembly

Assemblywoman Patricia Wiggins
7th Assembly District of California

Assemblywoman Lois Wolk
8th Assembly District of California

 

Local Officeholders and Municipalities

 

Alameda County Board of Supervisors

City of Capitola

City of Carson

Los Angeles City Council

Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors

City of Malibu

Marin County Board of Supervisors

City of Oakland

City of Orange Cove

San Francisco Board of Supervisors

Santa Barbara City Council

Santa Clara Board of Supervisors

West Hollywood City Council

Mayor Larry Agran
City of Irvine

Mayor Paul Albritton
City of Sausalito

Mayor Irma Anderson
City of Richmond

Deputy Mayor Toni Atkins
City of San Diego

Mayor Tom Bates
City of Berkeley

County Supervisor Hal C. Brown
County of Marin

County Supervisor Yvonne B. Burke
County of Los Angeles

Mayor Anna Caballero
City of Salinas

Supervisor Marita Callaway
Calaveras County

County Supervisor Keith Carson
Alameda County

Council Member Allen Co
City of South El Monte

Mayor James Dear
City of Carson

Supervisor Roger Dickinson
Sacramento County

Supervisor Bevan Dufty
San Francisco County

Mayor John Duran
City of West Hollywood

Council Member Charles England
City of Cathedral City

Council Member Mike Garcia
City of Santa Ana

Council Member Maggie Gomez
City of Daly City

Council Member Joseph Gonzales
City of South El Monte

Council Member Josie Gonzales
City of Fontana

Mayor Ron Gonzales
City of San Jose

Council Member Wendy Greuel
City of Los Angeles

Mayor James Hahn
City of Los Angeles

Mayor Harvey Hall
City of Bakersfield

Council Member Mike Harris
City of Petaluma

Council Member Olden Henson
City of Hayward

 

 

Sandra Hernandez
Former Director of Health
City/County San Francisco

Council Member Emily Ishigaki
City of El Monte

Mayor Marshall Kamena
City of Livermore

Council Member Judy Kleinberg
City of Palo Alto

County Supervisor Liz Kniss
Santa Clara County, California

Council Member Patrick Kolstad
City of Santa Clara

County Supervisor Gary Lewis
Lake County, California

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THE TRIAL OF AMERICAN STEM CELL RESEARCH—DISMISSED?

 By Don C. Reed

 As you recall, the lawsuit against America’s new stem cell guidelines (Sherley et al vs. Sebelius et al, filed August 19, 2009) was moving forward;  until resolved, all federal funding of embryonic stem cell research was shut down.

 Research delayed is research denied. Every day the opposition can tie us up in court is a victory for them, and another day for people like my son to remain paralyzed, and my sister suffer cancer, and millions more good folks: their cures delayed, their hopes denied.  

 The plaintiffs had made their case, arguing that embryonic stem cell research should not be funded. Our side (the defendants) responded—asking for the case to be thrown out.  

 Everything depended on “standing”: could those making the complaint show some injury they had received (or would receive) from the new stem cell research guidelines?

 Without legal standing, there can be no case.   

 But there were five sets of plaintiffs; if even one had a legitimate grievance, the suit could go forward, the research funding would remain blocked for the length of the trial—and in California, a similar lawsuit had tied up the funding for our beautiful stem cell research program for two years…   

 So here we go. For each plaintiff I will quote the official description, claim of injury, some court comments, my own views– and the judge’s decision.   

1. Nightlight Christian Adoptions, (Nightlight) “… an adoption agency that helps individuals adopt human embryos that are being stored in fertilization clinics.”

 Looking it up on the web, I found Nightlight is a fee-charging nonprofit, which helps childless couples obtain blastocysts from In Vitro Fertility (IVF) clinics. Nightlight appears to be either part of a company called Snowflakes, or closely associated with them. They are not shy about charging fees.

 Here are some of their cost estimates: 

 “Program fees: Snowflakes Program fee: $8,000;

Nightlight home study fee is $2,600;

Fertility clinic frozen embryo transfer fees $3,000-$5,000.  

Total Fees $12,000–$16,000.” (the possibility of additional charges is made clear.)

 Alleged Injury: “Nightlight alleges that the (new) guidelines will cause a decrease in the number of embryos available for adoption.”  

 The court commented: “This alleged injury does not satisfy the “injury in fact” requirement because it is speculative and dependent upon third party conduct. The guidelines do not mandate a decrease in the number of embryos available for adoption.  Rather, the guidelines allow funding for hesc research on embryos that were donated “by individuals who sought reproductive treatment,, and who gave voluntary written consent (their emphasis) for the embryos to be used for research purposes.”

 By my non-lawyer understanding, “third party” means someone not named in the lawsuit. This is important because it is the new guidelines that are being sued– and nothing in the guidelines orders a decrease in the number of embryos. The decision (whether the blastocysts shall be frozen and stored, destroyed, given away or donated to research) remains exactly where it should be: with the un-named third party—the donors.  

And the Judge’s official finding?

 “Accordingly, the Court finds that Nightlight lacks standing (emphasis added) because its alleged injury is “mere unadorned speculation as to the existence of a relationship between the guidelines and the third party conduct.” Indeed, if Nightlight suffers any injury at all, it will be because of the choices of third parties not before this court, and not because of the guidelines.”

 If this were baseball, that would be strike one—but it would take five strikes to put the anti-research team out of the game.

 2. Shayne and Tina Nelson, William and Patricia Flynn: “The Nelsons and Flynns are clients of Nightlight who seek to adopt human embryos in the future.”

 These folks had children through the IVF process, with the help of Nightlight, adopting (and implanting) left-over blastocysts. I am glad for them. Most couples want a child. I have two, and they are treasures to me. That is why I will fight to protect them, and that includes not allowing politics to block research for cure.

 Alleged Injury:  “The Nelsons and Flynns, who each have had a child through the adoption of an embryo from Nightlight, allege they are seeking to adopt additional human embryos. They contend the guidelines injure them by “jeopardizing the likelihood that embryos will become available in a timely manner for adoption and implantation.”

 Apparently, the four clients of Nightlight worry that the new guidelines mean they will have less blastocysts to choose from, if they decide to have another child through IVF, with the help of Nightlight. Presently, there are about 450,000 blastocysts frozen in storage.  How many choices are required?   

 “The Court finds that the Nelsons and Flynns have not alleged a concrete and imminent injury… the guidelines do not regulate embryonic adoption… neither the Nelsons nor the Flynns allege…guidelines have erected any barriers to their efforts to adopt an embryo.”

 FINDING:  “Accordingly, the Nelsons and Flynns do not have standing.” (Strike two…)

 3. Embryos “The Embryos consist of all individual human embryos that were created for reproductive purposes, but are no longer needed for those purposes.”  

 Alleged Injury: “The embryos, through Nightlight, contend that their lives will face a recurring risk of destruction as a result of the guidelines.”

 I hardly know where to start: “The embryos…contend…” Talking blastocysts? This is more than just foolishness. This is a subtle attempt at deception, like the anti-research propagandist who talked about embryonic stem cells, while behind him was a huge picture of a baby in the womb. They know the research is about cells, cells, nothing but cells, but they use words which plant a false picture in the minds of the listeners.

 Even the word “embryo” is to my mind prejudicial, because it implies a baby in a womb, which is false; we are talking about bits of tissue smaller than the point of a pin– and not in the woman’s body. No blastocyst can ever become a child, unless it is implanted in the womb. No mother, no child; this is not rocket science.

 And what amazing arrogance in this claim… How could any organization claim the right to decide what is best for every unused IVF embryo in the world?  

 A great deal is at stake here, as the Court noted:

 “This case…concerns whether an embryo qualifies as a person (emphasis added)… The Supreme Court has stated that “the unborn have never been recognized in the law as persons…”

 This is vital. If a blastocyst (the first linkage of microscopic sperm and egg) can be declared a full human under law, the entire field of embryonic stem cell research becomes illegal, as does every woman’s right to choose to terminate her pregnancy—ever. The In Vitro Fertility process would be illegal, and many forms of birth control.

 This is the Religious Right’s personhood concept: their attempt to get every blastocyst declared a legal person, with standing in a court of law. If they win on “personhood”, our hopes and dreams for embryonic stem cell research are gone.  

 But the judge spoke out clear and plain, no translation required: “The Court finds… that the embryos are not “persons” under the law, and thereby do not have standing.”

 We must remember this. We are fighting to save real people’s lives, not potential ones. A droplet of sperm may contain the beginnings of a million lives, but that does not mean each one should be protected under law.

 The exact time when tissue becomes a person has been argued for centuries. Is it viability, when a child can live on its own, outside the womb? That is the official definition, according to American law. Or, as the Catholic Saint Thomas Aquinas opined, does life begin at the “quickening”, when the mother first feels the baby stirring in her womb? Earlier? Later?

  “Personhood” wants humanity declared at the joining of sperm and egg—even in a Petri dish of salt water, outside the womb, when there is no possibility it could become a child.

 What’s next, are we going to say that new life begins at the twinkle in Dad’s eye?

 But while we can argue forever about that definition, there is no debate about the personhood of my son Roman, who is paralyzed, or my sister Barbara, who has cancer. They are full human beings, protected by the law of this land. Their right to life is guaranteed under the Constitution– and must not be jeopardized by political games, which could block research to heal disease or disabilities which blight their lives.

 FINDING: “Accordingly, the Court concludes that the embryos lack standing because they are not persons under the law.” (Strike 3 of 5…)

 4. Christian Medical Association, (CMA) a non-profit which “strives to improve the ethical standards of health care in the United States and abroad”.

 Note: The CMA appears to be part of a larger group, the 2,400 member Christian Medical and Dental Association (CMDA). If that assumption is correct, (I could not find the CMA listed as a separate organization) I am not sure why the CMA sued, while their parent organization did not. Perhaps they disagree; I do not know. (I do know, however, that even some of the nation’s most conservative Christians no longer worry about this issue. A poll was taken at a recent Values Voters Summit, the ultimate conservative gathering, put on by the Family Research Council. When 5,000 values voters were asked to list their issues of concern, less than 1 (one) per cent listed “early embryo research”.)

 Alleged Injury:  “CMA alleges that it will suffer injury because: the guidelines will frustrate CMA’s purpose and require CMA to devote significant resources to address and counteract the grave ethical problems posed by illegal public funding of embryo research.”

 This is an amazing claim, when you think about it. If a “frustration” argument was allowed, it would open the door for lawsuits against probably every law ever passed.  

 The Court stated: “Frustration of purpose is not a sufficient injury to establish standing….allegations that frustrate an organization’s objectives is “an abstract concern that does not impart standing.”

 Finding: “Accordingly, the Court finds that CMA lacks standing.” (Strike 4…)

 5. Drs. James L. Sherley and Theresa Deisher, adult stem cell researchers.

 “Drs. Sherley and Deisher specialize in adult stem cell research and plan to seek NIH funding for adult stem cell research in the future. In addition, Dr. Sherley has one proposal currently pending.”

 Alleged Injury: Drs. Sherley and Deisher contend that the new guidelines will “result in increased competition for limited federal funding and will thereby injure their ability to successfully compete for… NIH stem cell research funds.”

 To me, this sounds like they want a monopoly on what type of research gets funded. During the Bush Administration, adult stem cell research was heavily favored; seven times more money given to it than embryonic; even under the Obama Administration, adult stem cell research appears likely to receive triple the funding of embryonic. Personally, I favor a level playing field, where the quality of science will decide.

 “ The Court finds that increased competition for funding is an insufficient injury to impart standing… The guidelines neither prevent nor hinder either doctor’s opportunity to compete for funding. Indeed, Drs. Sherley and Deisher’s proposals for adult stem cell research can receive funding, if they survive the review process all applicants undergo…

 “… the guidelines will not “almost surely cause (Drs. Sherley and Deisher) to lose” funding…  The application process to receive NIH funding is extremely competitive. Only about 22% of applications receive NIH funding… Even if the guidelines did not exist, Drs. Sherley and Deisher are not assured of receiving funding…”

 Finding: “Accordingly the court concludes … that Drs. Sherley and Deisher lack standing.” (Strike 5!)

 “Conclusion: For the reasons set forth above, the Court finds that plaintiffs lack standing and will grant defendants Motion 22 to dismiss. A separate order shall issue this date.

 “Signed by Royce C. Lamberth, Chief Judge, on October 27, 2009”

 So did we win?

 Yes.

 Will they appeal? No way of knowing, of course, but probably they will.

 I am sure they believe in their side as thoroughly as we believe in ours.

 We won’t give up; neither will they.

 Until cures come.

 P.S. Below is the Court’s decision on the case. I two-finger-typed the Judge’s decision below, so you can read as much or as little as you like of it.  It is essentially complete, but I left out document references, etc. You can find the original on the web, just Google it.  (For my two previous articles on this subject, go to http://www.stemcellbattles.com)

 United States District Court for the District of Columbia

 James Sherley et al, Plaintiffs, v. Kathleen Sebelius, et al   Cic. No. 1;009-cv-1575 RCL

Memorandum Opinion

 This matter comes before the court on defendants’ Motion to Dismiss. Plaintiffs brought this suit to enjoin the defendants from taking further actions to implement and apply the guidelines promulgated by the National institute of Health (NIH) that provide for public funding of human embryonic stem cell (hesc) research. Defendants motion states, among other things, that plaintiffs lack standing. This court agrees with defendants and finds that plaintiffs lack standing. Accordingly, the Court will grant Defendants motion to dismiss.

  1. Background

Plaintiffs are Drs. James L. Sherley and Theresa Deisher, Nightlight Christian Adoptions (Nightlight), Embryos, Shayne and Tina Nelson, William and Patricia Flynn, and Christian Medical Association (CMA), Drs. Sherley and Deisher specialize in adult stem cell research and plan to seek NIH funding for adult stem cell research in the future. In addition, Dr. Sherley has one proposal currently pending. Nightlight is an adoption agency that helps individuals adopt human embryos that are being stored in fertilization clinics. The Embryos consist of all individual human embryos that were created for reproductive purposes, but are no longer needed for those purposes. The Nelsons and Flynns are clients of Nightlight who seek to adopt human embryos in the future. CMA is a non-profit association of doctors that strives to improve the ethical standards of health care in the United States and abroad. Together, plaintiffs seek to enjoin defendants “from applying the Guidelines (promulgated by NIH) or otherwise funding research involving the destruction of human embryonic stem cells.”

 On March 9, 2009, President Obama issued Exec. Order (which) removed President Bush’s limitations on hesc research. In addition, the Order directed NIH to issue new guidelines to allow hesc research to the extent permitted by law.

 After a notice and comment period, NIH issued the final guidelines on July 7, 2009. Under the guidelines, for an applicant to conduct research on hESC derived from embryos donated on or after the effective date of the guidelines, the applicant must either limit his or her research to cell lines posted on an NIH registry, or submit an assurance of compliance with part A of the Guidelines (which) ensure that the proposed research involves only hesc that are no longer needed for reproductive purposes and were voluntarily donated to be used for research  purposes. For an applicant to conduct research on hesc derived from embryos donated before the effective date of the guidelines, the applicant must either show compliance with part A of the guidelines, or submit materials  to an advisory committee, which will make recommendations concerning the eligibility for NIH funding.

 Plaintiffs allege that the guidelines, by allowing NIH to fund hesc research , will cause them irreparable harm. Specifically, Drs. Sherley and Deisher contend that the new guidelines will “result in increased competition for limited federal funding and will thereby injure their ability to scccessfully compete for… NIH stem cell research funds,.” Nightlight alleges that the guidelines will cause a decrease in the number of embryos available for adoption.  The embryos, through Nightlight, contend that their lives will face a recurring risk of destruction as a result of the guidelines. The Nelsons and Flynns  maintain that the guidelines will “jeopardize the likelihood that embryos will become available” for them to adopt in the future. Finally, CMA alleges that the guidelines will frustrate its purpose and require it to expend significant resources to combat the ethical problems posed by hESC research.

  1. Discussion.

Defendants move to dismiss plaintiffs’ complaint on the grounds that this Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, or, in the alternative, that plaintiffs have failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.  The Court finds that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction because subjects do not have standing. Therefore, the Court need not address defendants’ additional arguments.

  1. Legal Standard

Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. When a defendant files a motion to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction pursuant to Rule 12 (b) 1, the plaintiff must demonstrate by a preponderance of evidence that the court has subject-matter jurisdiction. The Court must accept all the factual allegations in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff’s favor.  Furthermore the court may consider material outside of the pleadings in its effort to determine whether the court has jurisdiction in the case.

 A court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction if the plaintiff fails to establish standing. (“The party invoking federal jurisdiction bears the burden of establishing standing.”) To have constitutional standing the plaintiff must demonstrate  1. an injury in fact; 2. causation: and 3. redressability.  An injury in fact is “an invasion of a legally protected interest which (a) concrete and particularized … and actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical.    (internal citations and quotations omitted)

 “When a plaintiff’s asserted injury arises from the Government’s regulation of a third party that is not before the court, it becomes ‘substantially more difficult ‘ to establish standing ….. The court, however, will not dismiss a complaint  brought by multiple  plaintiffs if one of the plaintiffs has standing.  (the presence of one party with standing is sufficient to satisfy articles  III”s case-or-controversy requirement”

  1. Plaintiffs lack standing

 CMA:  CMA alleges that it will suffer injury because: the guidelines will frustrate CMA’s purpose and require CMA to devote significant resources to address and counteract the grave ethical problems posed by illegal public funding of embryo research. Frustration of purpose is not a sufficient injury to establish standing…. allegations that frustrate an organization’s objectives is “an abstract concern that does not impart standing.” Indeed, plaintiffs do not argue in their opposition that this injury is sufficient for standing purposes. Accordingly, the Court finds that CMA lacks standing.

 Nightlight:    Nightlight contends that it will suffer injury  because the guidelines will cause a decrease in the number of embryos available for adoption. This alleged injury does not satisfy the “injury in fact” requirement because it is speculative and dependent upon third party conduct. The guidelines do not mandate a decrease in the number if embryos available for adoption.  Rather, the guidelines allow funding for hesc research on embryos on embryos that were donated “by individuals who sought reproductive treatment,, and who gave voluntary written consent (their emphasis) for the embryos to be used for research purposes.” Thus, for Nightlight to suffer an injury, potential embryo donors have to choose to donate their embryos for research, and not for adoption.

 The choice, however, is not simply whether to donate embryos for research or for adoption. The donors must choose between continuing to store the embryos, discarding them, donating them for research, or giving them to an adoption agency involved in embryonic adoption.

 Accordingly, the Court finds that Nightlight lacks standing because its alleged injury is “mere unadorned speculation as to the existence of a relationship between the guidelines and the third party conduct.” Indeed, if Nightlight suffers any injury at all, it will be because of the choices of third parties not before this court, and not because of the guidelines.

 Embryos.  Nightlight also seeks to proceed in this complaint on behalf of all embryos created for reproductive purposes that are no longer needed for such purposes. The complaint alleges the embryos face the risk of imminent injury, i.e. destruction, as result of the NIH guidelines. The Court finds, however, that the embryos are not “persons” under the law, and there(by) do not have standing. (my emphasis)

 Plaintiffs’ reliance on Hatch v. Riggs Natl. Bank, 361, F.2d 559, 566 (D.C. Cir. 1966) for the proposition that embryos qualify as persons and should have a guardian ad litem appointed to represent their interest is misplaced. “Hatch” concerned the “interests of unborn and/or otherwise unascertainable beneficiaries of a trust.” An unborn’s legal interest in a trust has been recognized for centuries. See Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 114, 162, (1973) (noting that historically guardians at litem have been appointed to represent property interests of the unborn that are “contingent upon live birth”). This case, however, does not concern whether an embryo qualifies as a person in order to enforce a trust. Rather, it concerns whether an embryo qualifies as a person in order to assert a liberty interest. The Supreme Court has stated that “the unborn have never been recognized in the law as persons in the whole sense” and that they have no right to life protected under the Fourteenth Amendment…Accordingly, the Court concludes that the embryos lack standing because they are not persons under the law…

 The Nelsons and Flynns, who each have had a child through the adoption of an embryo from Nightlight, allege they are seeking to adopt additional human embryos. They contend the guidelines injure them by “jeopardizing the likelihood that embryos will become available in a timely manner for adoption and implantation.”

 The Court finds that the Nelsons and Flynns have not alleged a concrete and imminent injury.  As discussed with Nightlight, the allegation that fewer embryos will be available for adoption is speculative and dependent upon third parties. Moreover, the guidelines do not regulate embryonic adoption, and neither the Nelsons nor the Flynns allege that the guidelines have erected any barriers to their efforts to adopt an embryo. Accordingly, the Nelsons and Flynns do not have standing.

 Drs. Sherley and Deisher allege that the guidelines “will result in increased competition for limited federal funding and will thereby injure (their) ability to compete successfully for….NIH stem cell research funds. “ The Court finds that increased competition for funding is an insufficient injury to impart standing.

 Drs. Sherley and Deisher contend that they have standing under the “competitor standing” doctrine. Under the competitor standing doctrine, a plaintiff “suffers constitutional injury in fact when agencies lift regulatory restrictions on their competitors or otherwise allow increased competition.”

 The competitor standing doctrine is not applicable to the facts of this case. The Supreme Court has held that the competitor standing doctrine applies only “when the particular statutory provision (or regulation) involved… reflects a legislative purpose to protect a competitive interest.”  Here, Drs. Sherley and Deisher have not demonstrated that they have a protected competitive interest in receiving NIH funding. Their only protected interest is their opportunity to compete with other applicants for limited NIH funding… The guidelines neither prevent nor hinder either doctors opportunity to compete for funding. Indeed, Drs. Sherley and Deisher’s proposals for adult stem cell research can receive funding if they survive the two-tier review process that all applicants undergo.

 In addition, the cases relied upon by Dr. Sherley and Deisher are readily distinguishable. In both cases, the competitor standing doctrine applied where the petitioners were active participants in the strictly regulated economic markets of energy, communication, and banking. … Drs. Sherley and Deisher, however, are not participants in strictly regulated economic markets. They are applicants for research grants… As stated above, Drs. Sherley and Deisher may still receive funding.

 Last, even if the competitive standing doctrine did apply, Drs. Sherley and Deisher would not have standing because the guidelines will not “almost surely cause (Drs. Sherley and Deisher) to lose” funding…The application process to receive NIH funding is extremely competitive. Only about 22% of applications receive NIH funding. Thus, even if the guidelines did not exist, Drs. Sherley and Deisher are not assured of receiving funding for adult stem cell research.

 Accordingly the court concludes that the competitor standing doctrine does not apply and that Drs. Sherley and Deisher lack standing.

  1. Conclusion: For the reasons set forth above, the Court finds that plaintiffs lack standing and will grant defendants Motion 22 to dismiss. A separate order shall issue this date.

Signed by Royce C. Lamberth, Chief Judge, on October 27, 2009

 

 

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FOUR HORRORS: Stroke, Diabetes, Blindness, ALS—and How Embryonic Stem Cell Research May Defeat Them

By Don C. Reed

 Before I met the monster on the road, I had been on my way South to Los Angeles for the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee (ICOC). This was an especially important meeting at which the big disease team grants would be decided, as much as $20 million each, loans or grants. Some projects would go forward, others would die.

 My cell phone rang. 

 Pulling off the freeway and fumbling through my suitcase (keep ringing, keep ringing!), I found the phone, opened it, recognized the numbers on the screen.

 Dr. Hans Keirstead…. I dreaded what the voice might say.

 He had a project in question: a way to use embryonic stem cells to fight Spinal Muscular Atrophy: important not only to the children who suffer and die from this terrible condition, but to the entire field of research. Some of the problems he was taking on in this project would affect everyone.

 But the funding had been turned down.

 The problem, as I saw it, was procedural:  the official cutoff deadline for new project information was April… Since the cutoff date, Dr. Keirstead had gotten a ton of new information, some 9,000 pages of it, including the results of animal testing, and much correspondence with the FDA: important stuff which I felt sure would change the opinions of the reviewers—but they had not seen it.

 There was a process for appeal, and I had been encouraging him to use that process to try and overturn the denial of funding.  

 As a member of the public I have a First Amendment right to talk to just about anyone, (including state employees like the ICOC, who enjoy the equally valid right to ignore me) and I had spoken with about half of the 29-member board who would be making the final decision. (I emailed first, asking if we could talk. Those who did not object strongly enough got a phone call.) Most of them said the same thing, that it was an uphill battle, (like everything else in this business) but they would listen at the meeting with an open mind. That was all anybody could ask.

 Could the potentially game-changing new information be included?

 I believe the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has ways that late-breaking news can be added to proposals, and we should consider incorporating those procedures into our own bylaws. But in the meantime we had the “extraordinary appeals” process, and if the scientist was willing–

 “I decided not to go forward with the appeals process”, said Hans Keirstead.

 Internally I said something unprintable. I had invested maybe seventy hours in the struggle to understand and defend this one project, and was loaded for bear.  But–

 “I understand their decision,” he said, “If I had been a reviewer, and only got what I was able to give them in April, I would probably have done the same thing…”

 And so, on a technicality of timing, a grant would not be given: what might have been a hugely important embryonic stem cell project would not be funded by us.

 Well. Adjusting to the new reality, the fight that would not happen, I pulled back out onto the empty stretches of Highway I-5, just past Bakersfield, before the L.A. grapevine. Since gas prices skyrocketed, there are far fewer vehicles driving: I was almost alone on the road.

 In the distance was a blur across the road. I paid it no mind, thinking it some object that would soon be gone, went back to my day-dreaming,now my mind was free to wander.

 The ground in that area is desolate, barren. A huge road-side sign blamed it on the government—“this dustbowl brought you by Congress”—apparently the same people who put up the sign, “where water flows, food grows” beside the canal.

 Translation: Southern California wants more of Northern California’s water.

 I thought about the movie, CHINATOWN, based on a true story, the multi-gazillion dollar consequences of a water rights decision, made by a government board…. (You can read about it in “Rivers in the Desert: William Mulholland and the Invention of Los Angeles”, by Margaret Leslie Davis.)

 The real culprit was also at the side of the road—cotton…. raw material for underwear, cotton is a robber of water, thieving moisture more greedily from the soil than any other crop.

 The blur in the distance grew, into something huge and dark across the freeway.

 A vast wall of dirt, suspended in the air.

 Bizarre and ugly tendrils reached out from it, coiling and extending, like a special effects monster, creature of darkness, snatched from the ground…

 There was no way around, no time to think, just step on the brakes as hard as I could without losing control, reducing speed from 70 to 30, entering the wall…

 Whooooshshshsh…. Darkness. I could only hope the road went straight ahead, because I could see nothing…

 Then, the other side, my car emerging filthy, windshield wipers scraping dirt, brown sky ahead, the sun glaring palely.

 It being almost Halloween that day, thoughts of monsters entered my mind, Godzilla coming to stomp some poor city again.  

 But real-life horrors come at us every day, rearing up out of the unexpected, coming to destroy our lives.

 Consider just the financial costs of four horrible—and presently incurable– medical conditions:  Stroke. Diabetes. Blindness. ALS.  

 In one year, stroke costs America $56 billion in medical costs.

 Diabetes–$174 billion. 

 Vision problems (of which macular degeneration is a huge component)– $51.4 billion. 

 ALS—I cannot find an overall figure, but it may cost two hundred thousand dollars–for one patient, per year.   My rough guess (based on 20,000 patients) would be $4 billion.

 Add that up:  $285 billion a year—for just four medical conditions. 

 We spend so little fighting back against these real-life horrors: as if Godzilla attacked New York– and the military got a nickel for a slingshot to fight it.

 Opponents complain about the expense of California’s entire stem cell program– which has a budget of only $295 million a year—roughly  one one/thousandth of the cost of just those four conditions. If we can help alleviate or cure even one of those devastating conditions, it would be the greatest bargain in medical history.

 

 Fast forward to the meeting.

 Two dozen leaders of the ICOC sitting at a square of four tables. Champions all. People like Ed Penhoet, just chosen to be a special biomedicine adviser to the President. (Dr. Alta Charo, one of our advisors, was also recently honored by being selected to advise the FDA!) Bob Klein was recently honored by Research!for America, receiving the Gordon and Llura Gund Award for medical research advocacy. Over there was Television’s Leeza Gibbons, head of her own organization to fight Alzheimer’s, and to her right was Sherry Lansing, former President of Paramount Motion Pictures, battling for cancer research—a book could be written about just the members of this board. Not a political hack among them. 

 Today, they would be deciding the biggest medical research grants in our history.

 Before the meeting began, $210 million had been set aside (with a buffer of an additional $30 million) for the disease team grants.

 To my amazement, the review board (a separate panel made of scientists from different states and nations, none from California) had recommended cautiously—$189 million.

 What? We were not going to spend the money budgeted to fight disease?

Naturally, being of an age when everything reminds me of something else, I had to step up to the microphone and give my two cents worth, telling a true story which seemed applicable.

 A settler in old West times was found dead after an Indian attack. Arrows were stuck all through him—and, clutched uselessly in his hands, a single-shot rifle, its one bullet unfired…

 I would have fired that bullet, I said. After that, I like to think, I would have swung the  rifle as a club until it broke, and then looked around for rocks to throw. 

 We are here to fight terrible diseases and conditions. We have the money, let’s go for it.

 “But only when the science is first-rate,” Bob Klein put in quickly.

 At the end of two days careful consideration, the ICOC approved the expenditure of just shy of $230 million.

 Our money was on the table, the bets were made. Fourteen grants…   

 Here came something ironic.

 Guess which got more money– embryonic or adult stem cell research?

 Prop 71 was designed to be sure the best science was funded, at a time when President George Bush’s ideological convictions were blocking the advance of embryonic and other advanced forms of stem cell research.

 Today, adult stem cell research (often combined with gene therapy) got the bulk of the funding. The opposition of course is playing this up for all they can, trumpeting this as “proof” that they were right all along, and there is no need for hESC research.

 Let’s look a little closer.

 These are grants for team projects which had the best chance to advance—in just four years– to a phase one clinical trial for an “incurable” disease or disability.

 Remember all the advantages adult stem cell research has had: a fifty year head start, massively preferential funding from Washington, zero political harassment—contrast that with the virulent opposition from the religious right and its allies in state and national capitols, not to mention near strangulation of funding– it would be natural to assume that all of these ready-to-go grants would be for some form of adult stem cell research.

 But that is not quite how it worked out.

 Remember the four “monsters” mentioned earlier– stroke, diabetes, ALS, and macular degenerative blindness?

 Naturally, being California, we are going after all four– and the weapon of choice to fight them?

 Embryonic stem cell research.

 With every option available, California chose embryonic stem cell research for these four horrific conditions. Why?

 Because California is going for the best method to find a cure. Adult, embryonic, iPS—we seek to save lives and ease suffering. Unlike our opponents, we do not select medical research by its political acceptability.

 Personally, I believe that embryonic or the embryonic-like reprogramming (or SCNT, which has a lot more potential still to be explored) will be the way to go: that projects based on adult stem cells will eventually need to be re-done with the more powerful hESC or reprogramming approach.

 Even so, one of the projects I spoke up most vigorously in favor of was an adult stem cell project, Dr. Irv Weissman’s attack on leukemia.

 Why? Because not only do I (and the scientific community!) have enormous respect for Dr. Weissman, but also because I know I can be wrong. If an adult stem cell approach turns out to the best way to help people, of course I’m for it.

 That’s what medical research advocacy is about: to find out—and fund—the best.

 Take a quick look at the four embryonic stem cell projects.  This information comes from the website of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine website:  www.cirm.ca.gov. The reports are also available through the clickable list at the bottom.

 I have shortened them (thirty-some pages down to 3), for ease of reading. Other than that (and parenthetical insertions like this one) these are the actual words.

 STROKE

 Description: stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel in the brain, and cuts off blood flow. Brain cells begin to die…(which) can cause permanent loss of motor control, movement and cognitive abilities… (imagine being paralyzed, losing the ability to speak, perhaps even unable to think properly—dr)

 Quick Fact: Stroke causes more serious long term disabilities than any other disease.

 Disease Team Award: The Stanford University-led team (Primary Investigator Dr. Gary Steinberg) plans to use cells derived from human embryonic stem cells… to improve recovery in the weeks and months following a stroke.

 The team will be…(turning) embryonic stem cells into neural (nerve) stem cells…normally found in the brain. When these…cells are transplanted into the brains of mice or rats one week after a stroke, the animals are able to regain strength in their limbs.

 Based on these findings, the Stanford-led team proposes to further develop these neural stem cells into a clinical development program for stroke in humans…. 

 MACULAR DEGENERATION BLINDNESS

 Description: Macular degeneration (a disease of aging) gradually destroys sharp central vision, making it impossible to see faces, to read, or to drive… deterioration of the retina… 

 Underlying (the retina) is a single layer of cells (retinal epithelial cells, RPEs)… that provide support, protection and nutrition…to the retina.  Degeneration of (these support cells) leads to … vision loss.

 Quick fact: Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects more than 1.75 million Americans. There is currently no cure….

 Disease Team Award:  Led by researchers at the University of Southern California, (the team will) …use human embryonic stem cells to replace dysfunctional or destroyed (RPE) cells to slow or reverse the disease. They plan to coax human embryonic stem cells to differentiate into… (RPE) cells that can be transplanted into the eye.

 The replacement cells will function normally to support to and protect the…retina and prevent further degeneration and vision loss.

 

AMYOTROPHIC LATERAL SCLEROSIS (ALS)

 Description: ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive disease that involves the death of motor neurons (which are) cells in the brain…and spinal cord that connect directly to muscle. As these cells die, signals from the brain to the muscle are cut off and patients lose motor control…(leading to) paralysis…and death. …. People with spontaneous ALS (one of two kinds of the disease) have higher levels of… glutamate in the spinal fluid… Scientists suspect glutamate may be involved in (the cause of) ALS…

 Quick Fact: There is no cure for ALS, but there is a drug, called riluzole, that extends life by a number of months(3-6).  Riluzole decreases… glutamate, and in turn, decreases damage to neurons…

 Disease Team Award: The team at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies plans to protect surviving neurons from further degeneration in people diagnosed with ALS. The strategy involved targeting (astrocyte) cells which…surround and protect neurons. (Astrocytes regulate glutamate.)

 The team intends to grow human embryonic stem cell-derived astrocyte precursors that will be transplanted… into the spinal cord environment to prevent further…degeneration caused by ALS. The work…should be effective in (both varieties of) ALS.

TYPE 1 DIABETES

 Description: People with type 1 diabetes, known as juvenile diabetes, cannot produce insulin… which (normally) helps take up sugar from the blood. … Although it is possible to replace missing insulin with injected insulin, people with diabetes still tend to have higher than average blood sugar levels. This excess sugar damages the retina, nerves, kidney and blood vessels. Because of this damage, people with diabetes often have cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, blindness, and (may) need amputations due to wounds that can’t heal.

 Quick Fact: (approximately) 15,000 youths in the Unites States (are) newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes annually.

 Disease Team Award: Dr. Jeffery Bluestone and the Novocell, Inc-led team has developed methods to make large-scale batches of replacement beta cells from human embryonic stem cells (hESC).

 … these hESC-derived beta cells cure experimental disease in mice and rats. ..The team now plans to complete the manufacturing, efficacy, safety testing required to generate the necessary data for FDA approval to test in Phase 1 clinical trials.”

End of quoted materials.

 

So. Despite the enormous advantages given to the field of adult stem cell research by the previous administration (which favored it over embryonic more than 7-1 in terms of grant money), and although adult stem cell research has been around since the middle of the last century, compared to embryonic which was isolated just 11 years ago—even so, hESCr was chosen to attack these four horrific incurables.

 I think it was Dr. Kevin Eggan of Harvard who came up with a great line recently. He was asked if there was still a need for human embryonic stem cell research, (hESCr) since there were other options,  like iPS, the skin cell reprogramming, which he helped develop.

 Eggan answered, (if memory serves) that of course we still needed human embryonic stem cell research, because everything else was an imitation—and hESCr was the real thing.

 So what we do we need next?

 How about an RFA (Request For Applications) for a major grant to fund actual clinical trials? Before any cures can reach people, they must be tested, and this can cost a bunch of money—so far, Geron (back on track for human trials next year, btw) has spent about $45 million, and will probably spend that much again—we need a way to support these crucial tests—maybe matching grants?–so good ideas will not stay locked up in the labs.

 And if Dr. Keirstead’s SMA work finds enough funding elsewhere, (which I am confident it will, although slower than if we had been able to fund it through CIRM), maybe his project will be eligible for that one…

 At the two-day meeting, there was far too much to talk about—the international advances alone have far too much substance to be summed up in a short article.

 For me, there was one moment when it all came together, and it happened right before the meeting official begins.

 CIRM person Melissa King led the pledge of allegiance. She began it as she always does: “please stand, if you are able”.

 I never hear those words without getting a little misty-eyed: not only in pride for my state and our nation, which make possible this magnificent effort: but also reminding me why we are here.

 Below is the official write-up from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, which I lifted from their website. (They of course have no connection to my opinions.)  Under that is a clickable list of the 14 projects funded, in case you want an up-close look. (I underlined and bold-printed the word “human embryonic stem cells” on the title of the four hESCr projects I talked about.)

 Oh, good news, the lawsuit against America’s embryonic stem cell research program was thrown out!  More to follow soon. It is an important decision, which may (IMHO) affect anti-research legislation across the country…

 Stay tuned!

 best,

 Don C. Reed

CIRM, the UK and Canada Award more than $250 Million to Accelerate the Pace of Bringing Stem Cell Therapies to the Clinic

October 28, 2009

ImageIMCE: 

 

Novel funding mechanism speeds the path of research

Los Angeles, Calif., October 28, 2009 – The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the state stem cell agency, and two international partners awarded more than $250 million to 14 multidisciplinary teams of researchers in California, the UK and Canada to develop stem cell-based therapies for 11 diseases. The Disease Team Research Awards include approximately $8 million from the Medical Research Council, UK, and approximately $35 million from the Cancer Stem Cell Consortium, Canada, to fund the international portions of the collaborations.

CIRM’s 29-member Governing Board voted to approve funding for the four-year grants, which mark the first CIRM funding explicitly expected to result in a filing with the FDA to begin a clinical trial. The Disease Team Research Awards fund research teams that include basic scientists and clinicians from both academia and industry. These collaborations speed the process of establishing clinical trials by insuring that clinically relevant issues are considered early and avoiding potential safety issues being discovered late in the process.

CIRM President Alan Trounson said the pace of the Disease Team projects stands in contrast to the decade or more that’s usually required to reach clinical trials. “Scientists have talked for years about the need to find ways to speed the pace of discovery. By encouraging applicants to form teams composed of the best researchers from around the world we think CIRM will set a new standard for how translational research should be funded,” he said.

Each team will be actively managed by CIRM and the agency’s international partners for those teams with cross-border collaborations. Decisions to move forward with the project will be made at key points in the development cycle.

“This unique partnership is another opportunity for the people of California to lead the way in this important research and advance potentially life-saving science,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “These grants will help unite some of the best scientists throughout the world, including right here in California, to find new therapies and cures for people suffering from chronic and life-debilitating diseases. I am proud California remains at the forefront of this innovative research and I look forward to the results of this international collaboration.”

“This initiative is bringing together the leading minds in cancer and stem cell research from Canada and California,” said Dr. Morag Park, Scientific Director of the Institute of Cancer Research, part of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Government of Canada’s health research agency. “CIHR, in conjunction with Genome Canada and through the Cancer Stem Cell Consortium, is proud to fund Canadian Scientists in this cross-border collaboration that will engage scientists from many disciplines, combine resources, technologies and knowledge to find more effective treatments for leukemia and solid cell tumours.”

Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council: “The partnerships that have been established between the UK and CIRM have brought us closer to delivering the promise of stem cell treatments for debilitating conditions. We hope these projects will accelerate treatments to early clinical trials, eventually leading to a direct benefit for people suffering from age-related macular degeneration, which up until now has been regarded as incurable and also acute myeloid leukaemia. The MRC has led the way for UK translational researchers and together with our partners at CIRM we look forward to realising the full potential of stem cell research”

Other diseases being targeted by the teams include HIV/AIDS, type 1 diabetes, damage from heart attack, sickle cell anemia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and epidermolysis bullosa, a hereditary life-threatening condition of the skin’s connective layer. The 14 awards will go to seven not-for-profit institutions and one for-profit institution. The award to the one for-profit grantee will take the form of a loan.

“CIRM’s loan program will recycle money back into future awards and leverage the voter’s commitment to the field,” said Robert Klein, Chair of the CIRM Governing Board. “In providing stem cell funding in the form of loans, CIRM is able to fund more science and make a more significant impact on the speed of bringing new stem cell-based therapies to the people of California and the world.”

Other ICOC Business

The board also voted to approve an update to CIRM’s on-going strategic plan. The current plan, approved in 2006, anticipated a slower pace of research toward potential clinical applications. The revision proposes an increased emphasis on moving safety tested candidate therapeutics to the clinic and encourages closer ties to industry and national and international collaborators to meet those goals.

Approved Disease Team projects:

(See the Disease Team media materials for more information about the funded teams.) 

Grant number Investigator Institution Intl. Collaborator Total CIRM Funding
DR1-01421 Karen Aboody City of Hope National Medical Center

 

$18,015,429
Co-PIs:

Jana Portnow

City of Hope National Medical Center

 

Larry Couture City of Hope National Medical Center

 

The group proposes to treat brain tumors using neural stem cells that are genetically modified to carry a tumor-killing drug.
DR1-01423 Emmanuel Baetge Novocell, Inc

 

$19,999,937
Co-PI:

Jeffrey Bluestone

University of California, San Francisco

 

The group proposes to treat people with type 1 diabetes by implanting insulin-producing cells generated from human embryonic stem cells.
DR1-01426 Mitchel Berger University of California, San Francisco

 

$19,162,435
Co-PIs:

Webster Cavenee

Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research

 

Evan Snyder Burnham Institute for Medical Research

 

The group proposes to treat brain tumors using neural stem cells that are genetically modified to carry a tumor-killing drug.
DR1-01430 Dennis Carson University of California, San Diego Canada $19,999,826
Co-PI:

Catriona Jamieson

University of California, San Diego

 

International Partner:

John Dick

University Health Network

 

The group intends to develop six drugs – three monoclonal antibodies and three small molecules – to destroy leukemia stem cells.
DR1-01431 Irvin Chen University of California, Los Angeles

 

$19,999,580
Co-PI:

Geoff Symonds

Calimmune, Inc

 

This group proposes to treat HIV/AIDS using an RNA interference approach to modify the patient’s blood-forming stem celis. When transplanted back, those cells will produce T cells that are resistant to HIV infection.
DR1-01444 Mark Humayun University of Southern California MRC $15,904,916
Co-PIs:

David Hinton

University of Southern California

 

Dennis Clegg University of California, Santa Barbara

 

International Partner:

Peter Coffey

University College London-Institute of Ophthalmology

 

The group intends to treat macular degeneration using transplant retinal cells derived from human embryonic stem cells.
DR1-01452 Donald Kohn University of California, Los Angeles

 

$9,212,365
Co-PIs:

Thomas Coates

Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles

 

Victor Marder University of California, Los Angeles

 

The group proposes to treat sickle cells disease using a gene therapy approach to modify the patient’s blood-forming stem cell so that they produce normal red blood cells.
DR1-01454 Alfred Lane Stanford University

 

$11,709,574
Co-PIs:

Anthony Oro

Stanford University

 

Marius Wernig Stanford University

 

The group proposes to treat the skin disease epidermolysis bullosa using genetically modified iPS cells created from the patient’s own skin cells.
DR1-01461 Eduardo Marban Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

 

$5,560,232
The group intends to repair heart tissue damaged by heart attack using stem cells taken from the patient’s own heart.
DR1-01471 Samuel Pfaff The Salk Institute for Biological Studies

 

$15,644,881
Co-PIs:

Lawrence Goldstein

University of California, San Diego

 

Don Cleveland Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research

 

The group intends to treat people with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis by implanting precursor astrocyte cells derived from human embryonic stem cells.
DR1-01477 Dennis Slamon University of California, Los Angeles Canada $19,979,660
Co-PIs:

Garry Nolan

Stanford University

 

Michael Press University of Southern California

 

International Partner:

Tak Wah Mak

University Health Network

 

The group proposes to develop drugs that destroy the cancer stem cells in solid tumors.
DR1-01480 Gary Steinberg Stanford University

 

$20,000,000
Co-PI:

Stanley Carmichael

University of California, Los Angeles

 

The group intends to treat stroke using implanted neural stem cells derived from human embryonic stem cells.
DR1-01485 Irving Weissman Stanford University MRC $19,999,996
Co-PIs:

Ravindra Majeti

Stanford University

 

Beverly Mitchell Stanford University

 

International Partner:

Paresh Vyas

Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, Oxford University

 

The group intends to generate a monoclonal antibody that destroys leukemia stem cells.
DR1-01490 John Zaia City of Hope National Medical Center

 

$14,583,187
Co-PIs:

Paula Cannon

University of Southern California

 

David DiGiusto Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope

 

This group proposes to treat HIV/AiDS using a gene therapy approach to modify the patient’s blood-forming stem celis. When transplanted back, those cells will produce T cells that are resistant to HIV infection.
Total funding $229,772,018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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