There's been a lot of knee-jerk reaction to Rush Limbaugh's criticism of Michael J. Fox. It's understandable - Michael J. Fox is a nice man with a terrible disease. How could anyone criticize him? This is what hasn't been mentioned so far:
Embryonic stem cell research is already legal in Missouri (as it is in several other states).
Jim Talent, the Republican incumbent, supports stem cell research and is not trying to criminalize it, as was stated in Fox's ad. What Talent is opposed to is Amendment 2 which would make human cloning part of the Missouri constitution. The way the amendment is worded is misleading and it's not immediately apparent that cloning is included.
Though it has been touted by some as the *potential* cure for a variety of ills, embryonic stem cell research has, to date, been unable to move past animal studies because of the unpredictability of the cells and the unfortunate fact that they are very prone to causing tumors in the animal subjects. Consequently, there are no human trials. It's too dangerous.
Adult stem cells have been used in treating various diseases and conditions for more than two decades, including breast cancer, leukemia, and sickle cell anemia. The NIH (National Institute of Health) has 330 human clinical trials using adult stem cells.
The most promising recent development in the fight against Parkinson's is gene therapy. The Michael J. Fox Parkinson Foundation has invested $1.9 million in that research (see www.michaeljfox.org
, click on "Gene therapy trials show promise against Parkinson's").
I like Michael J. Fox as an actor and he seems like a decent guy. I'm sorry that he's got this awful disease. However, he's not being 100% truthful in the ad. I wonder why he continues putting such emphasis on embryonic stem cell research when nothing promising has developed from it, yet doesn't mention potentially effective therapies such as the one his own foundation has funded.
Could these ads be more about politics, and less about Parkinson's?