Massa Pushes the Stem Cell Button

Eric Massa held a press conference today at the University of Rochester Medical Center to publicize his position on embryonic stem cell research. He's strongly in favor of government support using these cells.  His campaign's press release linked Bush and Kuhl's positions on stem cells and noted that they favor "frozen, microscopic cells over living human beings."

The WXXI coverage of the press conference quoted Kuhl as saying he supports research on adult and umbilical cord stem cells.  That's true as far as it goes. However, it's unclear whether adult cells have the same potential as embryonic cells.  And, though umbilical cord blood has proven uses which merit further research, they aren't the same as embryonic cells. 

Kuhl's position is the radical one in this debate.  He has to convince voters of two dubious propositions to gain their support:

  1. It is better to throw away thousands of embryos than use them for research into life saving therapy.
  2. We should all take the risk that research into less promising lines of stem cells will be sufficient to find cures for terrible diseases that we all fear.

That's a tall order, indeed, and Massa is smart to choose this issue to distinguish himself from Kuhl.