Michael J. Fox Hopeful Obama Will Soon Fund Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 6, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Michael J. Fox Hopeful Obama Will Soon Fund Embryonic Stem Cell Research

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
November 6
, 2008

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — With economics taking center stage during the presidential election and abortion coming in a distant second, stem cell research wasn’t on the radar screen. But, now that Barack Obama is the incoming president, actor Michael J. Fox is hopeful that stem cell research will be back on the table.

He hopes Obama will quickly move to overturn the limits President Bush placed on funding the unproven science and force taxpayers to fund the use of embryonic stem cells.

Never mind that the research has yet to help any human patients. Because of problems when used in animals — everything from causing tumors to immune system rejection issues — the FDA has yet to approve any human trials.

Knowing this, President Bush directed most of the federal funding to adult stem cells, And the new direct reprogramming technique, which transforms adult stem cells into an embryonic-like state, seems to be surpassing embryonic stem cells in terms of usefulness and is wholly ethical.

Despite that, Fox told USA today that he’s ecstatic about Obama’s win and what it means for funding the embryonic research he promotes.

"I’m OK, a little toasty," Fox said after the election results. "I’m happy, I’m really happy. In all fairness, Sen. McCain has been supportive of our foundation in the past and supportive of research. But I think this administration will really embrace it."

The actor isn’t the only one pressuring Obama to overturn Bush’s limits as soon as possible.

The International Society for Stem Cell Research released a statement Thursday urging Obama to making Americans pay for embryonic stem cell research, which involves the destruction of human life, in the first 100 days of his presidency.

"Throughout his campaign Obama has supported stem cell research. We now encourage him to ensure that scientists in the United States can use federal grant funds to study the many valuable human embryonic stem cell lines that have been developed since August 9, 2001, the date that President George W. Bush announced his policy for stem cell research funding," the group said.

Embryonic stem cell research is no longer the fad it once was and that is evidenced by the migration of scientists to direct reprogramming and adult stem cells.

Last month, a leading British scientist said he would be heading to France from England to conduct research because the nation is too focused on embryonic stem cell research.

Colin McGuckin, a professor of regenerative medicine at Newcastle University and expert on the use of adult stem cells, says Britain’s priorities are out of whack.

While the British government is pushing cloning and embryonic stem cells McGuckin says adult stem cells are the ones paying dividends for patients.

"The bottom line is my vocation is to work with patients and help patients and unfortunately I can’t do that in the UK," he said. He said France provides a "much better environment" to cure patients and further his work.

"(France) is very supportive of adult stem cells because they know that these are the things that are in the clinic right now and will be more likely in the clinic," he added. "A vast amount of money in the UK from the Government has gone into embryonic stem-cell research with not one patient having being treated, to the detriment of (research into) adult stem cells, which has been severely underfunded."

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