Cause of Parkinson’s disease in unknown and there is no cure, the only thing patients knows that this deadly disease will eventually force them to become a prisoner inside their own body. But there is hope.

Dianne Feinstein California’s senior U.S. senator believes that Parkinson’s mysteries might be unlocked through embryonic stem cell research. This research holds great promise because embryonic stem cells can become any kind of cell in the body.

Stem cell research could one day open the door to treatments or cures for Parkinson’s, diabetes, cancer and spinal-cord injuries. But today, our stem cell researchers are handcuffed by an unworkable policy. It is time to change this.

A bill to broadly expand federally funded stem cell research is now moving through Congress. It passed the House by a wide margin in January and will go before the Senate soon.

If you’ve watched Michael J. Fox fight Parkinson’s, you can’t help but admire his courage and dignity. If you’ve watched a loved one struggle with a debilitating disease, you know how important this research is.

The legislation is simple. It states that embryos set to be discarded from in-vitro fertilization clinics may be used in federally funded stem cell research.

It has many safeguards: Embryos used for research must be left over following fertility treatment and be destined to be discarded. Written consent from donors would be mandatory. Donors would not receive compensation. And researchers would have to meet the highest ethical standards.

The legislation would fill a gap created by the failed policies of the Bush administration.

Congress passed embryonic stem cell research legislation last year. But President Bush vetoed it — the first veto of his presidency.

The president’s actions put American embryonic stem cell research at a disadvantage and spurred several top researchers to leave for labs in other countries.

A majority of the American people favor embryonic stem cell research. A majority in the House recently voted for it. We hope the Senate follows suit, and that the president has a change of heart. The hopes of millions of Americans depend on it.

Link [www.insidebayarea.com/argus/oped/ci_5417214]