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Jack Sisson's Life Ethics Blog

We must find new ways through many ethical issues, especially regarding bioethics, medical ethics, and criminal justice. Jack Sisson's 'Life Ethics' blog focuses on numerous areas of concern, including the philosophical and ethical dilemmas surrounding stem-cell research, abortion, medical research, and health care.

UNION-TRIBUNE, By Sandi Dolbee, December 14, 2007
SAN DIEGO – His body jerking and shaking from the toll of Parkinson's disease, actor Michael J. Fox said Friday he's excited by recent news Associated Press that adult skin cells have been reprogrammed to act like embryonic stem cells – but lamented the energy and resources being put into this and other alternative approaches.

“The irony is that every big development in this area in the past few years has involved efforts to mimic embryonic stem cells,” Fox said to about 4,500 people gathered at the San Diego Convention Center for the biennial meeting of the Union for Reform Judaism.

“With research that had gone into recreating what everyone agrees is the gold standard, who's to say how close we might be to new treatment now if we had been pressing forward with (embryonic) stem cells the whole time,” he said.

Fox, who received an award from the Jewish group for championing disease research, was given three standing ovations, and his comments were often punctuated with applause.

The still boyish-looking actor, known for roles on “Family Ties,” “Spin City” and “Back to the Future,” was diagnosed with Parkinson's, a progressive neurological disorder, in 1991 at age 30. In 2000, shortly after going public with his disease, Fox started the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. It has since raised $100 million.

Fox acknowledged that he's received much criticism from conservatives who oppose human embryonic stem cell research because the embryo is destroyed in the process.

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