Stem Cells

1. The Applications of Stem Cells

Stem cells research is still in its early phase with research into human embryonic stem cells beginning less than a decade ago. Adult stem cells only recently realize to have more potential than previously thought.

“The embryos that are being discussed, according to science, bear as much resemblance to a human being as a goldfish. We're dealing with flesh and blood people now who feel and deal with real debilitation right now and our obligation is to those who are here.”
-Mary Tyler Moore, Sept. 14, 2000

The main reason for the research is that it could have recovery on incurable diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, spinal cord injury, heart disease and diabetes. Other purposes of the research are to cultivate substitute tissue that could remedy neurological diseases.

Stem cells are ideal opportunity for pharmaceutical developers to test the effect of new drugs. Previously scientist uses mice to test the drugs, even though the mice show reactions and yield results, somehow human are unique species and there is no better substitute. By researching human stem cells and more specifically embryonic stem cells, researchers will be able to gain an improved understanding for the events that take place in embryonic development and study what cause birth defects through investigate the events that happen during cell division and differentiation in laboratories.

Despite the vast remedial potential for stem cells to treat a huge array of critical diseases there are still concerns about potentially hazardous results. Scientists are energized about the possibilities of saving lives from disease but at the same time, there are fears regarding unpredicted outcomes from stem cell usage. With recent technologies having triggered a major improves in stem cell treatments, the concept of stem cell therapies is no longer unfamiliar to the public. Both scientists and the public should not, in spite of this, simply agree to these technologies without first considering the influence on humanity. Even though the benefits of stem cell therapies are colossal, risks must also be well thought-out.

“One concern with embryonic stem cells is related to the very quality that makes them so useful and versatile. Embryonic stem cells are 'young' cells and tend to grow quickly; the fast growth must, however, be carefully guided by scientists. These stem cells need to b e cultivated and directed into specialized cells with great care because the potential for remaining stem cells to grow uncontrolled could be disastrous. These uncontrolled cells could eventually form tumors.”
-Taken from, Uncontrolled Growth, http://www.explorestemcells.co.uk/ConcernsAboutStemCells.html

“…At present, scientists still know very little about how stem cell differentiation is controlled. One such example occurred in 2001, when researchers claimed to have created cells that produced insulin. This claim was later found to be incorrect because cells had merely absorbed insulin from the environment, rather than producing it.”
-Retrieved from, Misdirected Growth, http://www.explorestemcells.co.uk/ConcernsAboutStemCells.html

Stem cell treatments may eventually become routine and regular therapies for serious disease. It's important, however, that the safety of these therapies is evaluated and that caution is displayed before a therapy becomes accepted for use. This will allow everyone to reap the full benefits of stem cell therapies.
Stem cells have great potential in treating many diseases but they also come with difficulty that must be overcome to ensure their viability. A challenging area is the patient's immune system. It's important to be aware of what occurs during immune rejection before inspect at the varies immunological consequences from use of embryonic stem cells.

“Embryonic stem cells hold enormous potential and benefit for treating disease because they have the ability to differentiate into virtually any tissue in the human body. This means that if scientists can learn to successfully and safely control and regulate their growth, the unspecialized embryonic stem cells can be coaxed to differentiate into specialized cells for almost any tissue in a patient's body. The problem is that the transplanted cells will likely be recognized as foreign and a person's immune system will reject the potentially lifesaving treatment.”
-Retrieved from, How Do Embryonic Stem Cells Trigger An Immune Reaction? http://www.explorestemcells.co.uk/ConcernsAboutStemCells.html

2. Ethical Analysis

“The issue is debated within the church, with people of different faiths, even many of the same faith coming to different conclusions. Many people are finding that the more they know about stem cell research, the less certain they are about the right ethical and moral conclusions.”

- President George W. Bush, Aug. 9, 2001

Is it acceptable to do research with stem cells, in particular human stem cells. The dispute of whether it is fair to test on animals is an obvious problem when it comes to any scientific argument. If scientists didn't test on animals what is an alternative that is equally as practical. Most successive research follows with moral and ethical dispute issues, because it is can't be done without using living organisms as test subject to trial the drugs or medicines. How long will it take to determine a genuine proof that stem cells can cure diseases and injuries that afflict man today and no side-effect?

Currently, the scientific community that is very petty aware of the potential of the stem cells and the public on average fears anything inexperienced and life changing. Does the good will compensate the mischief when it comes to experiments involving stem cells? There are also professional and legal issues involved in stem cell research so the research being conducted within the limits set by new regulations. Laboratories are not permitted to cultivate new stem cell lines.

In order to gain more funds, laboratories may become more focused on drawing attention from their deduction from the research rather than providing convincing conclusions. Due to privatization of the industry because of insufficient government funding, it become more difficult to regulate and supervise those research. A possibility of a black market for aborted fetuses could available for trading too. This might also encourage a new occupation for women of getting pregnant only to get rewarded to have an abortion and donate the fetus.

A vital point in the whole debate of stem cell research is when is life considered to commence for human being? Conservatives believe that from the second that a zygote is formed, a human being exists. On the opposite, the liberal believe that an embryo is not a life, until it is capable to stay alive on its own. Aware of that your body will become a part of scientific experiment after death has a influential negative effect on the human mentality and probably will increases the fear towards death. It is right for the government to support experiments that involve stem cells? By giving money to the laboratories, we might conclude that the government is ultimately supporting in annihilation of organisms lives, or murder. This may be a radical view. Somehow, the money government gives is used in the study of tissue that from aborted fetuses. This issue same apply to the private foundations.

“Viability is another standard under which embryos and fetuses have been regarded as human lives. In the United States, the 1973 Supreme Court case of Roe v. Wade concluded that viability determined the permissibility of abortions performed for reasons other than the protection of the woman's health, defining viability as the point at which a fetus is "potentially able to live outside the mother's womb, albeit with artificial aid."The point of viability was 24 to 28 weeks when the case was decided and has since moved to about 22 weeks due to advancement in medical technology.”
-Taken from, Value of life
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stem_cell_controversy
“New Jersey became the first state in the country to award public funding for human embryonic stem cell research yesterday, granting $5 million to 17 scientists at university, nonprofit and corporate labs. The work will be focused on potential therapies for devastating and debilitating disorders.”
-Michael Mandel (December 17). The Stem Cell Scandals and Economic Growth. Retrieved from http://www.businessweek.com

Embryonic stem cell research is similar to abortion to those who against the research. They consider that the embryo form life because it has the potential to fully grow into a human. So, to them the research is immoral and unethical to annihilate one life to save another.

“By using stem cells and discarding the embryo, it is thought that human life is ultimately de-valued by this act and is paving a slippery slope for further scientific procedures that similarly de-value life. In particular, many religious groups who are adamantly pro-life have condemned embryonic stem cell research and all of its applications. Other arguments against embryonic stem cells cite the fact that adult stem cells are the ones currently being used in therapies and thus, there is no need to even venture into embryonic stem cell territory.”
-Retrieve from http://www.explorestemcells.co.uk/StemCellControversy.html

“Is destroying that microscopic dot the exact moral equivalent of driving a knife through the heart of an innocent 6-year-old girl? Some stem-cell enthusiasts think that even antiabortion absolutists can support stem-cell research, since it uses surplus embryos that are doomed anyhow. But that logic would justify Nazi experiments on doomed Jews in the concentration camps. If the microscopic dot is a human being with full human rights, the answer is easy: no stem-cell research.”
- The False Controversy of Stem Cells, Michael Kinsley, (May. 23, 2004) Retrieved from http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,641157,00.html

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