Hollywoods Latest Cause Stem Cells

By ANTHONY BREZNICAN .c The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (Aug. 10) - Mary Tyler Moore has diabetes. Michael J. Fox suffers from the degenerative brain disorder Parkinson's disease. Christopher Reeve has been paralyzed from the neck down since a horse-riding accident.

All three stand to benefit from medical breakthroughs, and their outspoken support of embryonic stem cell research has helped make it Hollywood's latest social cause.

"Stem cell research is something I deeply believe in for myself and the millions of other people who could benefit,'' Moore said before President Bush announced Thursday that he will allow federal funding for limited medical research on stem cells extracted from human embryos.

"I'm pleased. I'm very pleased,'' she later said on CNN's "Larry King Live.'' Moore also serves as international chairwoman of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Reeve was more cautious in his response, saying he is worried about the limited nature of the president's approval.

Bush restricted his support to only already existing lines of embryonic stem cells, limiting research to cells from embryos that already have been destroyed.

Stem cell research involves using cells from newly formed embryos to replace cells attacked by degenerative illnesses. The new cells are useful because they can adapt into any tissue in the body.

Some anti-abortion activists have denounced the process because it destroys embryos. Research supporters counter that the embryos would be discarded by fertility clinics otherwise.

Other celebrity supporters of stem cell research include actor Kevin Kline, "Ghost" director Jerry Zucker and Paramount studio chief Sherry Lansing.

Zucker and his wife, Janet, who produced his upcoming film "Rat Race,'' help pay a lobbyist in Washington to fight for stem cell funding, which they believe could aid their 13-year-old diabetic daughter, Katie.

"She asked if she would have this all her life, and we said, 'Not if we can help it,''' Jerry Zucker said.

Fox, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1991, cut back on acting to raise money for research.

"Really it's exercising a responsibility to take all this energy and goodwill that people have directed toward me and redirect it in the right direction,'' he said.

AP-NY-08-10-01 0411EDT

Copyright 2001 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.

0 0

Post a comment