Embryonic stem-cell research supporters have created a coalition to unify advocates nationwide who envision treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, spinal cord injuries and other ailments.

The Stem Cell Action campaign is expected to launch Thursday with 30 foundations and state-based groups. It’s led by the Genetics Policy Institute, a Wellington, Fla.-based nonprofit that organizes the World Stem Cell Summit last held in Detroit in October.

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Institute Executive Director Bernard Siegel says the new coalition took shape at the conference, which drew about 1,000 attendees. Siegel said it’s coming at a “critical time” to fight state and federal challenges to public funding.

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Opponents say the research is akin to abortion because human embryos must be destroyed to obtain the stem cells.

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