Nancy Reagan calls for government support of stem cell research

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The wife of former Republican U.S. president Ronald Reagan called for government support of embryonic stem cell research, saying the country had already lost too much time debating the issue. The former first lady, who has coped with Reagan's Alzheimer disease, said at a Hollywood fundraiser she believes the use of stem cells could lead to new medicines to treat degenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Nancy Reagan said she believed stem cell research "may provide our scientists with many answers that for so long have been beyond our grasp," according the AFP.

President George W. Bush sanctioned federal funding only for existing embryonic stem cell lines in a 2001 executive order, eliciting harsh criticism from the scientific community.