Christopher Reeve, the Hollywood star who was paralyzed from the neck down in 1995, will campaign in Ames tonight on behalf of Democrat Senator Tom Harkin. Reeve says he was politically-active before his accident, but has now focused on health care reform and lobbying for biomedical advances, particularly stem cell research. Scientists have found stem cells have the capacity to change into different types of cells, which would help develop new treatments for a variety of conditions. Reeve says 100-million Americans now live with some form of incurable disease or disability. President Bush has restricted federal funding to a limited number of stem cell lines, while other countries like Great Britain are allowing the full range of stem cell research. Reeve says America, and President Bush, should rethink the restrictions so the United States can retain its preeminence in science and medicine. Harkin is advancing a bill Reeve supports, a bill that creates harsh penalties for those who would use stem cells to “clone” a human or a body part, while allowing the use of stem cells in “therapeutic” research. Reeve says almost 70 percent of Americans support such research because of its promise for finding cures to diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Reeve and Harkin will speak tonight in Ames at 7:30 in the C.Y. Stephens Auditorium. On Sunday, the two will appear in Iowa City in the Main Lounge of the University of Iowa Memorial Union. That event begins at 3:30. Reeve is best known for his role as Clark Kent in the “Superman” movies. Reeve recently announced that now he can move the fingers of his left hand; he can move his right wrist; he can extend his legs and open his arms, remarkable achievements after a long-standing spinal cord injury.
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