One Man's Fight for Stem Cell Research | NBC Southern California

One Man's Fight for Stem Cell Research

One man campaigns for stem cell research

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Roman Reed is a relentless advocate for stem cell research.

    Reed, paralyzed since a college football injury, is celebrating the latest court decision to lift a court-imposed ban on the use of federal funds for embryonic stem cell research.

    One Man's Fight for Stem Cell Research

    [LA] One Man's Fight for Stem Cell Research
    On the day that an appeals court overturned an earlier order which would have blocked federal funding for research, one man continues his campaign for stem cell research. (Published Saturday, April 30, 2011)

    "We are on the right side of this argument," according to Reed.

    Since 1996, Congress has banned the use of federal funds for research in which embryos were destroyed. President Obama acted to expand the use of stem cells by permitting the federal government to support research only on the stem cells themselves -- not the actual gathering of the cells from embryos, a policy which the administration said was entirely consistent with the law.

    But last year a federal judge in Washington ruled that because embryos must be destroyed to get those cells, the congressional limitation bans using federal money on anything done with the cells later. The injunction threatened about 200 research projects that relied on federal money already granted. Because these grants were renewed every year, many of the researchers said they'd have to stop when the money ran out.

    For many, human stem cells offer the hope of curing injuries and degenerative diseases which compromise the patient's cells. However, right-to-life advocates believe that a pre-embryo from which embryonic stem cells are removed is a human person, leaving the process of extracting the cells as murder.

    "Responsible stem cell research has the potential to treat some of our most devastating diseases and conditions and offers hope to families across the country and around the world," said Nick Papas, White House spokesman. "Today's ruling is a victory for our scientists and patients around the world who stand to benefit from the groundbreaking medical research they're pursuing."

    For Reed, the ruling is more than a victory.  It is hope for the future.

    "I will get up out of the chair and walk again," said Reed. "And so will 5.6 million Americans who suffer from some form of paralysis."