CONTRIBUTORS

Cancer’s cure could be found in Maine. This $10 million bond could make it happen

Joe Zak, a research assistant at Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, uses a pipette and a centrifuge to find genes of interest in DNA sequences while working in Dr. Zhong Wi Zhang's lab Feb. 2, 2010.
John Clarke Russ | BDN
Joe Zak, a research assistant at Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, uses a pipette and a centrifuge to find genes of interest in DNA sequences while working in Dr. Zhong Wi Zhang's lab Feb. 2, 2010. Buy Photo
Posted April 27, 2014, at 9 a.m.

As CEO of Rinck Advertising, I can tell you that there are a select few Maine-based companies with a national reputation and fewer still with a worldwide “brand.” As Maine looks to its own brand, these leading lights in commerce become our calling cards for economic development.

The Jackson Laboratory is one of those organizations with technologies, innovations, products and people that create a beacon for Maine as a place to invest. Investment in The Jackson Laboratory is not an investment in a town or a region of Maine; it is an investment in all of Maine. It helps position Maine as a dynamic, innovative place for business and industry. It creates a kind of gravity that pulls in more investment and the in-migration of minds — and the creation of jobs.

Not just any jobs, but the right kinds of jobs. Jobs in sciences certainly, but also engineering, architecture, construction, manufacturing and all the support jobs needed for these industries. Recently in a Mainebiz interview, I again brought up what I believe to be one of Maine’s most critical issues: retaining and attracting younger workers to the state of Maine. Who are these young people we need? For many, they are a nameless statistic. For me, they are Sarah and Jake, two of our five kids who have left Maine for places where they perceive their career paths are more direct.

The biomedical research bond that now awaits action from Gov. Paul LePage and eventually Maine residents in November is a job-creation bond. This bond creates more jobs and more opportunities for young people graduating from our colleges and our trade schools who want to live and work in Maine.

In 1600 B.C. the first cancer treatment was recorded in ancient Egypt. It was for breast cancer, and the papyrus refers to a device called “the Fire Drill” and then goes on to admit, “There is no treatment.” Last month, Maine actor Patrick Dempsey, founder of the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing in Lewiston, lost his mother, Amanda Dempsey, to cancer after a two-decade battle. This year, my wife Laura Davis celebrates her 25th anniversary of beating cancer for the first time. We are making progress.

As a board member of the Maine Cancer Foundation, I see fairly close up what The Jackson Laboratory does. One out of three people will contract cancer in his or her lifetime. So the next time you are out to dinner or at the movie theater, look around at those unfortunate folks doomed by statistics. Because it won’t be you, right? But honestly, it will be you, your wife, or your child.

There’s a long way to go, but we are getting closer and closer, and The Jackson Laboratory is on the forefront of the war. This bond will help. And while no one can say for sure that a cure for a specific cancer or illness or chronic condition will come from Maine, wouldn’t that be something? As a lifelong advertising guy, I can leverage that. And I bet you can too the next time a technology company is looking to site its new expansion.

As a business owner, Maine Cancer Foundation board member, husband and father, I urge the governor and Maine voters to support the bond that will fund biomedical research in Maine.

Peter Rinck is CEO of Rinck Advertising in Auburn.

 

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