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Stem Cells

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Stem Cells Essay, Research Paper

Stem Cells

Stem cells are considered ?master cells? with the ability to divide for indefinite

periods in cultures and can be manipulated and transformed into any type of cell in the

body. The most common use would be the generation of cells and tissues that could be

used to either create organs or tissues to be used in transplantation and to treat many

diseases and disabilities. There is a great difference of opinion surrounding stem cell

research; conservatives and pro-choice activists are highly against further research, but the

tremendous advances in health care and President Bush?s recent decision to fund more

research, have made the future of stem cells seem much more promising.

In every ground breaking scientific topic there seems to be controversy, and stem

cells are no exception. Stem cell research is so controversial because the best source of

stem cells are derived from human fetal tissue. Removing the stem cells destroys the

embryo, which leads many people to believe this process to be immoral. One advantage of

using stem cells found in embryos is their ability to transform themselves into almost every

type of cell in the body. There are also not enough adult stem cells to allow for therapeutic

applications, like transplants to regenerate tissues or organs that were damaged by disease.

Adult stem cells are rare and are many times hard to identify, isolate, and purify. However,

stem cells found in the embryo can be generated in large quantities in the laboratory. Many

people argue that human embryos should not be the subjects of stem cell research that

would benefit anyone other than the embryos themselves. Embryos are still human beings

and just because they are immature human beings does not give anyone the right to

destroy them for research. Even if the embryos were going to die anyway, there is still no

justification in killing them to improve the lives of others. Therefore many people say that

embryonic stem cell research is unconscionable.

Even though many people stand firmly against stem cell research, the benefits are

exceedingly important in the advancement of health care. Stem cells give us a better

understanding of the complex events that go on during human development. One goal of

this research would be to identify the factors that are involved in the cell making process

that determines cell specialization. A few of our extreme medical conditions, like birth

defects and cancer, are a direct result of abnormal cell specialization. If researchers obtain

a better understanding of the normal cellular process, they can isolate the causes of these

deadly illnesses. The most exciting potential use for stem cells is the generation of tissues

and cells. Many diseases are a direct result from complications of cellular functions or

destruction of tissues in the body. Many people donate organs and tissues to replace

failing or destroyed tissues. Unfortunately, there are many more people suffering from

these disorders than there are organs to transplant. That is where stem cells step in. They

will give humans a chance to have a renewable source of cells and tissues that will treat a

slue of diseases, and disabilities such as, Parkinson?s, stroke, burns, Alzheimer?s, spinal

cord injury, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis. Virtually every realm of

medicine will be positively affected by this new innovation.

Obviously President Bush saw a marvelous discovery in stem cell research,

because he decided to allow government-sponsored research to utilize the sixty existing

embryo?s stem cells for further research. The decision to allow the research was long

awaited and extremely controversial, but nevertheless a good one for the future of

mankind. Within this executive decision, Bush will still maintain his ban on human cloning

and will increase government support for adult stem cell research. The plan is allowing

frozen embryos, that would just be thrown away, to be used for research. There is also a

limit of the number of embryos used to the number that is actually needed to carry out the

research. Another aspect of this law is that no citizen can create an embryo for the sole

purpose of stem cell research. Generous funding on ethical issues was spent on current

and future research, along with generous funding for research relevant to fetal, embryonic,

and adult stem cells.

With the enormous potential of stem cells developing new treatments for some of

the most devastating diseases, it is crucial to search for the best sources of stem cells,

regardless of where they come from. There are many pros and cons encompassing this

issue with the pro-choice activists and conservatives being so avidly against it, with the

remarkable advances in health care the research brings, and with President Bush?s decision

to go ahead with further research. Even though there is still a great deal of controversy

surrounding the issue of stem cell research, I think all people can agree that whoever saves

one life is as if he saved an entire world.

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Related works:
Treating Disease With Stem Cells
Stem Cell Research

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