Drawing on the inspiration of Nancy Reagan and millions of families who bravely comfort suffering loved ones, Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry Saturday said we must lift the barriers that stand in the way of science to find new cures and treatments for Alzheimer’s and other diseases through stem cell research.
“Today, more than 100 million Americans have illnesses that one day could be cured or treated with stem-cell therapy,” Kerry said during the Democratic Radio Address to the Nation. “Stem cells could replace damaged heart cells or cells destroyed by cancer, offering a new lease on life to those suffering from diseases that once came with a certain death sentence. Stem cells have the power to slow the loss of a grandmother’s memory, calm the hand of an uncle with Parkinson’s, save a child from a lifetime of daily insulin shots, or permanently lift a best friend from his wheelchair.”
Kerry today said we must continue in our nation’s great ethic of discovery and push the boundaries of medical exploration. While providing strict ethical oversight, he said we must do everything we can to make sure doctors and scientists keep learning and researching stem cells to find cures and treatments.
“Above all, we must look to the future not with fear, but with the hope and the faith that advances in medicine will advance our best values,” Kerry said. “America has always been a land of discovery – of distant horizons and unconquered frontiers.”
Recognizing that with progress come ethical concerns, Kerry said we can resolve them with goodwill and good sense.
“Believe it or not, there was a time when some questioned the morality of heart transplants,” Kerry said. “Not too long ago, we heard the same kind of arguments against the biotechnology research that now saves stroke victims and those with leukemia.”
As president, Kerry will overturn the ban on federal funding of research on new stem cell lines, and he will allow doctors and scientists to explore their full potential with the appropriate ethical oversight. In his address today, he said we must make the funding of stem cell research a priority at our universities and in our medical community and that we must secure more federal funding at agencies like the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.
“The medical discoveries that come from stem cell research are crucial next steps in humanity’s uphill climb,” Kerry closed. “And part of this nation’s greatness lies in the fact that we have led the world in great medical discoveries, with our breakthroughs and our beliefs going hand-in-hand. If we pursue the limitless potential of our science – and trust that we can use it wisely – we will save millions of lives and earn the gratitude of future generations.”