It would be difficult to live in United States and not have heard about stem cell research. Stem cell research offers various opportunities for developing new advanced medical therapies for many diseases and new way to discover fundamental questions of medical science. Stem cells are unspecialized cells that can self renew indefinitely and also differentiate into more mature cells with specific functions. Research on human embryonic stem cells however is conflicting issue due to different views held in our society about the legal and moral status of the early embryo.
Stem cell research is really a good idea; it will help us to rebuild all types of cells and stem cell treatments will help in situation like nerve cell damage caused by stoke, degenerative conditions involving damaged brain cells, e.g. Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease and diabetes, by restoring insulin-secreting cells. Stem cells could allow drugs to be more easily tested without any need of using laboratory animal as a proxy.
Researchers should be allowed to do research on human embryos left over from infertility treatments with the permission of couples for whom the embryos were created. In the normal course of events, those materials would throw into the garbage. I do not believe that pro-life advocates have a reasonable argument or stance or as long as the “spare” embryos are being used for research. Al Gore, Democratic Party leader, said:
“Stem cell research is ethical because it uses embryos donated by fertility patients who would have destroyed them anyway. Couples commonly create more embryos than they need in trying to produce a child.” (1)
Stem cells are obtained from early embryos, fetuses from pregnancy terminations, and adult tissues and umbilical cord blood. At the moment the only source of stem cells that can grow into all types of cells is from early embryos, up to fourteen days old. Immature cells found in early embryos can develop into any kind of specific cells. According to Dianne N. Irving:
“These cells are capable of becoming all or many of the 210 different kinds of tissues in the human body.” (2)
These types of stem cells are known as pluripotent cells. Multipotent cells are stem cells that are more mature; they can be found in children and adults. Multipotent cells are not as flexible as pluripotent cells, because they have already developed into more specific and specialized human cells.
Right now there are not many political benefits, because stem cell research is still in early stages and government has also imposed some restrictions on research, some possible benefits include: cell therapy, the concept behind cell therapy is to grow and culture specialized cells that could replace the affected cells of a patient, this concept can be used for military purposes and in battle fields to save someone’s life. This technology can also help to increase revenues by helping and selling technology to other countries.
Stem cell research is certainly needed, but alternatives exists that offer hope without taking the life of another human. Like:
Many Patients are successfully treated for heart disease using stem cells from their own arm muscles.
Stem cells from the bone marrow of mice and rats created blood vessels and new heart muscle cells.
Researchers have created human bone, muscle and cartilage and tissue from human fat stem cells.
Brain stem cells taken after twenty hours of death, from cadavers up to seventy-two years of age, were induced to reproduce.
Adult bone marrow stem cells can form any cell type such as nerve, liver and brain.