NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Rep. Steve Israel and advocate Brooke Ellison expressed support Friday for expanding and providing additional funding for embryonic stem cell research.

Despite the controversial nature of the issue, Ellison – a quadriplegic since 1990 — said it could be the hope she has been looking for.

Ellison said she is fighting for the cause after a judge put a halt to federal funding for stem cell research this week.

“To deny people the opportunity for hope is unfortunate,” Ellison said at a press conference in Cold Spring Harbor.

WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reports that Israel and Ellison believe the research could help fight diseases including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

“It’s really in our hands, in our midst and breakthroughs are well within our reach if we allow the science to move forward,” Ellison said.