Michael J. Fox Urges Stem Cell Bill Passage

Actor Michael J. Fox (search) is pushing Congress hard to lift President Bush's restrictions on embryonic stem cell research.

"Embryonic stem cell research (search) holds enormous promise," said Fox, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, in remarks prepared for a Capitol Hill news conference on Wednesday. "More federal funding and more lines are needed or progress will stall."

Stem cell research on human embryos holds the most promise in the search for cures for a list of diseases, including Alzheimer's (search), Parkinson's (search), diabetes and some types of cancer.

The Senate is considering a House-passed bill to lift Bush's 2001 restrictions on federal funding for such studies, but the measure is facing stiff resistance from conservatives who believe the process is unethical because it destroys embryos.

Fox is one of many celebrities who have for years urged passage of the bill, including former First Lady Nancy Reagan (search) and actress Mary Tyler Moore (search), who suffers from diabetes. As she did during debate in the House, Mrs. Reagan has begun calling undecided lawmakers before Senate floor debate, expected next week, said her friend, Hollywood producer Doug Wick.

Dana Reeve, widow of "Superman" star Christopher Reeve (search), was expected to appear with Fox Wednesday but had to cancel for family reasons. Her husband's spinal cord injury is one condition for which embryonic stem cell research holds the promise of a cure.