Stem Cell

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by kerirachelle
Last updated 5 years ago

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Stem Cell

Stem Cells

What is this biotechnology?



Should it be used?

Current events surrounding stem cell research

Ethical Issues

Stem cells are unspecialized cells (meaning they have no purpose/job yet) that are able to renew themselves and develop into other cells. They can create all other cells in the body or repair/replace damaged tissue and cells. They also have the ability to create specific cells such as blood, brain, muscle or tissue cells. Typically, the type of stem cells used for medical use are embryonic (instead of adult) and come from a 3-5 day old embryo. As shocking as that sounds, most of these embryos come from unfertilized in vitro eggs taken with consent from donors. Embryonic stem cells are important because they provide information about cell development that helps create new drugs. These cells are pluripotent and have more abilities than adult stem cells do.

- When the embryo is harvested, the central nervous system is not yet formed- Stem cell research can help a number of patients and find the cure for several medical conditions - The embryos are taken with consent by the donors- They have the potential to be used for organ transplants- They can cure birth defects- They may play a major role in cancer - They can replace/repair damaged organs and help with injuries

- Ethical and moral concerns: a lot of scientists and citizens have argued over the moral status of an embryo, one side arguing that embryos are not developed humans but instead a group of cells and should therefore not be considered humans, while the other side argues that everyone has a right to life. - Embryonic stem cells are more likely to be rejected as opposed to adult stem cells- Taxpayers' money is used to fund this research - Instead of using embryonic stem cells, some argue to use adult stem cells for moral concerns (though their abilities are limited and they are harder to harvest)

Stem cell research is a very complicated subject because it sits between two moral principles: respecting the value of human life; or using your available resources to alleviate the suffering of others. This is a hard decision because without this research, it would become nearly impossible to alleviate suffering caused by certain diseases, but in order to conduct this research, we must interfere with human life.

In my opinion, as complicated as this subject is, the pros regarding current and future medical practice outweigh the cons, and therefore this biotechnology should be used. Although it is a little disturbing when you think about how they harvest the stem cells and where they come from, it is also comforting knowing that although that is a form of life, it isn't at a stage or in the right environment to become more than the group of cells that it is. We as a human race also need to observe how we treat other life around us, whether its destroying forests or killing animals for meat. Those are all forms of life as well that we toy with, except this form can help us and future generations in unimaginable ways.

Here are just a few of the medical breakthroughs currently going on with stem cell research: <-- This article discusses the current trials for stem cell research being used to cure diabetes and rid patients of insulin injections. <-- This article discusses one neurosurgeon/scientist's journey to use stem cells to cure a type of brain tumor that is the #1 cause of cancer-related death in children.


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