In today’s issue of U-T San Diego, Kristiina Vuori, M.D., Ph.D., Sanford-Burnham’s president and director of our National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center, and Sherry Lansing, chair of the University of California Board of Regents, former CEO of Paramount Pictures, and co-founder of Stand Up to Cancer, co-authored an op-ed piece that explains exactly how passage of Proposition 29, the California Cancer Research Act, would both save lives and benefit the state’s economy.
In addition to saving lives and lowering health care costs, passage of Prop 29 will help stimulate the state’s economy by creating and saving jobs in California. The biotechnology industry has been a shining example of stability and growth in our state over the past several decades, and is an area we should be turning to now to help our state recover from economic decline.
Today, California is home to several of the most vibrant life-science research clusters in the world, including 10 of the country’s 66 NCI-designated cancer centers (more than any other state in the nation). The San Francisco Bay Area boasts the oldest and largest biomedical cluster in California and is a world leader in biotechnology. San Diego is known for its biopharmaceutical and medical diagnostics companies, while Orange County has a reputation for medical device inventions and Los Angeles is the place for cutting-edge cancer research and patient care.
As of 2009, the biotechnology industry employed nearly 270,000 Californians. And that number jumps to more than 783,000 jobs when we include everyone employed in academic research, biopharmaceuticals, diagnostics, medical devices, laboratory services and other supporting industries.
Yet global financial woes and diminishing support from the federal government – the National Institutes of Health in particular – will negatively impact California’s biomedical industry for years to come. Passage of Prop. 29 would be instrumental in further enhancing our state as a global leader in biomedicine, in enhancing our ability to retain and create jobs in the biotechnology industry and in fully delivering on the promise of bringing new live-saving strategies to the patients who need them.
The choice is simple. Prop. 29, the California Cancer Research Act, will benefit every Californian by lowering health care costs in the state, by enhancing California’s economy and by funding lifesaving research that produces new diagnostics, treatments and cures for patients.
What are your thoughts on Prop 29? Please leave a comment below or tweet us at @SanfordBurnham.