Sanford-Burnham News Archive

Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute Endorses California Cancer Research Act

LA JOLLA, Calif. , September 19, 2011

The Board of Trustees of Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham) voted unanimously at their September 14 board meeting to endorse the California Cancer Research Act (CCRA), making it the first non-profit research institute to formally support the measure. If passed by voters on a statewide ballot currently scheduled for June 5, 2012, the CCRA will increase the state’s excise tax on cigarettes by $1 per pack, with an equivalent increase on other tobacco products. The measure is projected to save more than 100,000 lives and generate approximately $585 million per year for cancer and biomedical research in California.

“If passed, the CCRA will allow us to expand and further our goals of finding new ways to detect, treat, prevent, and cure cancer and other tobacco-related illnesses. New funding sources for this work are particularly critical at this time, as healthcare costs increase and federal research funding dwindles. Importantly, the measure will also help retain jobs—and generate new positions—in California,” said Kristiina Vuori, M.D., Ph.D., Sanford-Burnham’s president and director of the Institute’s National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Cancer Center, one of seven NCI-designated basic research cancer centers in the United States.

The CCRA is widely supported by the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association in California, American Heart Association, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, Stand Up To Cancer, Livestrong Foundation, and other cancer research advocates. On September 15, the University of California Board of Regents also overwhelmingly voted to support CCRA.

“Cigarettes remain shamefully cheap in California—our state’s cigarette tax currently ranks 33rd in the nation,” said Don Perata, CCRA co-sponsor and retired president pro tempore of the California State Senate. “If we don’t raise California’s tobacco tax and increase funding for smoking cessation programs, cigarette use is projected to increase by nine percent within the next five years, largely among children and lower income residents. At the same time, if we don’t increase state funding for biomedical research, we risk losing our premier scientists and researchers to other states and institutions.”

More than 140,000 Californians are diagnosed with cancer every year.  Hundreds of thousands of Californians die from tobacco-related illnesses.

About Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute

Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute is dedicated to discovering the fundamental molecular causes of disease and devising the innovative therapies of tomorrow. Sanford-Burnham takes a collaborative approach to medical research with major programs in cancer, neurodegeneration and stem cells, diabetes, and infectious, inflammatory, and childhood diseases. The Institute is recognized for its National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center and expertise in drug discovery technologies. Sanford-Burnham is a nonprofit, independent institute that employs more than 1,000 scientists and staff in San Diego (La Jolla), Calif., and Orlando (Lake Nona), Fla. For more information, visit us at

Sanford-Burnham can also be found on Facebook at and on Twitter @sanfordburnham.

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