Coalition to fight stem-cell myths

WASHINGTON: A coalition to advocate use of federal funds to support

embryonic stem cell research has been formed.



The groups involved include Parkinson's Action Network, Harvard

University, the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation (JDF), the Christopher

Reeve Paralysis Foundation and the American Society of Cell Biology,

among others.



Julia Kimbrough, national director of media for JDF, is keeping the

specifics of the PR component close to her chest. 'We will be working to

gain support on a grassroots level, but we do not want to divulge any

strategy yet,' she said.



The in-house teams of each organization will work together, and

Kimbrough emphasized that the coalition would seek no external PR

agency.



Stem cell research is controversial because of the way the tissue is

acquired - from spare embryos not used during in-vitro

fertilization.



'Embryonic stem cell research has nothing to do with abortions,'

Kimbrough said, explaining that this is one of the misconceptions the

coalition wants to counteract. Stem cells can also be retrieved from

adult tissue.



Groups like the American Life League are mounting their own grassroots

effort to prevent federal funding. 'We would oppose this even if there

were health benefits,' said the group's media director, Scott Weinberg.



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