Michael J. Fox Lobbies Congress to ban Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 18, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Michael J. Fox Lobbies Congress to ban Embryonic Stem Cell Research Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
July 18, 2005

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Actor Michael J. Fox has resumed his lobbying efforts to get the U.S. Senate to vote for using taxpayer dollars for unproven embryonic stem cell research. Fox previously lobbied voters in California to spend $6 billion there on the destructive research, which has yet to cure any patients.

"Embryonic stem cell research holds enormous promise," Fox claimed at a Capitol Hill press conference last week. "More federal funding and more lines are needed or progress will stall.”

The Senate is considering whether to pass a House-approved bill that would overturn President Bush’s limited on the use of federal dollars for embryonic stem cell research.

The president, in August 2001, laid down a policy prohibiting federal funding of any new embryonic stem cell research, but funds could be used to support research on cells already available before that point. He has spent more than $190 million on the use of adult stem cells in scientific studies and was the president to authorize stem cell funding.

Fox is one of a long list of celebrities pressuring Congress to pass the bill, including actress Mary Tyler Moore and Dana Reeve, widow of "Superman” star Christopher Reeve, who had to cancel her appearance at the press conference for family reasons.

Fox suffers from Parkinson’s disease, but researchers have found that the use of adult stem cells, which come from less controversial sources such as umbilical cord blood or bone marrow, provide better prospects for future success.

Scientists who favor embryonic stem cells say they hold the promise of being able to change into any kind of stem cell, which would allow them to cure virtually any disease. However, researchers in Australia have found adult stem cells can do the same thing.

Scientists at Australia’s Griffith University have ended a four year study on olfactory stem cells and found that they can be turned into heart cells, brain cells, nerve cells and almost any other kind of cell in the human body.

In addition, they can be developed without the kind of problems embryonic stem cells have had when injected into humans — including being rejected or causing tumors to develop.

Brisbane neurologist Peter Silburn, a member of Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council, pointed to the taking of adult stem cells from patients with Parkinson’s and turning them into neurones.

"We can now learn about the condition in ways we never could before," Silburn told the Australian.