Although the cure took time, such medical advances have allowed the elimination of deadly diseases. Nevertheless, to obtain the cures for such illnesses a medical breakthrough is required.
Medical professionals must take a leap of faith and experiment with unknown substances for the benefit of the people while following ethical regulations. Stem cell research is an example Of such a breakthrough with the potential to largely benefit the medical world. Stem cells are unspecified cells that have the ability to continuously divide themselves and become any other differentiated cell.Despite the ethical concerns, embryonic stem cell research has the potential for far reaching medical benefits and would allow scientists to explore new information regarding cell division and reproduction. Stem cells are known for two characteristics. They are unspecified cells with the ability to renew themselves. Second, they are plenteous, meaning that under certain conditions they can become a differentiated cell (“Frequently Asked Questions”). Because they are plenteous, they may become any of the three germ layers in the body: endoderm, mesoderm, and ectoderm.
The endoderm consists of the stomach, intestines, and the lungs; the mesoderm focuses on the muscle, blood and bone, while the ectoderm controls the skin and nervous system. During fetal development, most of the embryonic stem cells develop into differentiated cells. However, the remaining embryonic stem cells develop into adult stem cells, also called somatic stem cells (“The Nature of Stem Cells”). Embryonic stem cells are derived from embryos, specifically from the inner cell mass.To obtain the cells, the inner cell mass must be excised from the embryo but because the inner cell mass is composed of the three germ layers and once taken out, the embryo dies. While adult stem cells remain in human bodies and are easier to obtain, embryonic stem cells are much more beneficial than adult stem cells. Embryonic stem cells can become any differentiated cell but adult stem cells are limited in terms of what cells they may become.
Embryonic stem cells are grown easily and multiply faster, while cultivating adult stem cells poses several problems for researchers, only finding few somatic cells (“Frequently Asked Questions”).Mentioning the word “fetus” and “destruction” often arouses controversy. The ethical and political controversy is centered on extracting the stem cells from the embryo.
The only way to obtain the cells is by destroying the embryo, placing the moral status of an embryo into question. This research plays with two important principles: “the duty to prevent or alleviate suffering, and the duty to respect the value of human life” (Hug 108). Embryonic stem cell research poses an unruly question that places one in a position where one principle is of higher value than the other.There is not a global consensus to what should be done about embryonic stem cell research. With an ongoing pool on both sides, exists a moral dispute, ethical consequences versus the promise in the medical field. Extracting stem cells by destroying a human embryo is to some people ethically violating basic human principles. Others, however, argue that sacrifices must be made for the benefit of mankind. Opponents of the research argue it is immoral to destroy an embryo for such medical uses.
People who share this perspective began a “pro-life” movement and advocate for the rights of the embryo.Many believe life beings with fertilization and therefore, regard the destruction of the embryo as a murder. Pro-lifers reason that the human embryo is equivalent to a human, regardless of the development stage, and is entitled to rights. They believe it is more important to save an embryo than exploit one to reduce suffering in human life.
Counteracting the fact that embryonic stem cell research can lead to CUres for fatal diseases, they explain that no cure has been yet obtained by this research. Instead, they claim that adult stem cell research holds the largest potential.Much like abortion, most religious leaders highly oppose the research. As Pope Benedict XVI said, ‘the destruction of human embryos to harvest stem cells is not only devoid of the light of God but is also devoid of humanity’ (Keener, Paul). Embryonic stem cell research promises to cure over 70 diseases, including cancer, Parkinson and diabetes, all of which are extremely costly illnesses. For example, diabetes requires time, effort and money.
It entails insulin injections, regulating the patient’s sugar levels and constant doctor visits. All of these necessities add up to large amounts of money.Embryonic stem cell research may not completely cure diabetes, but it may reduce costs (O’neill Stephanie).
The United States of America spends more than 2. 6 trillion dollars annually on health care. Health care costs accounts for one sixth of the economy and 17.
5% of Aqua’s GAP. Barack Obama, current president of the United States, claimed that the health care system is a ‘ticking time bomb for the federal budget” (“How health care effects the economy”). Although stem cell research its expensive, the amount of health care money it could save does not compare to the original deposits to the research.Not only can stem cell research reduce spending on healthcare, it also provides more jobs in the research field. If stem cell research received the proper funding, other facilities would be in need of new workers.
New jobs will increase consumption, because more people will have more money to spend. An increase in consumption increases the GAP. An increase in the GAP will allow for economic growth that the USA is in need Of. In addition, through embryonic stem cell research, cures for diseases that physically and mentally impair some patients may be found.With the cure, patients can return to work, increasing the productive work force. Embryonic stem cells can significantly alter the current way of drug testing. In a website sponsored by Californians Stem Cell Agency, it is stated that stem cells “are expected to dramatically improve the ability of drug companies to screen for side effects of new drugs much earlier in the development process, a benefit that would significantly lower the costs and speed the time frame of developing a new drug”.
Today, potential drug molecules are being tested on animals such as mice.However, the mouse and the human may not share the same response to the drug. Testing drugs on human cells before performing human clinical trials would be ideal to measure drug side effects. Embryonic stem cells have the capacity to grow specific cell tissue. With the human tissue, researchers may test specific drugs and obtain a quicker, more effective result. The liver, kidney and heart are usually the organs that react to drugs.
Therefore, people can generate these tissues using plenteous stem cells to test drug toxicity. Companies could observe the growth of heart, liver or kidney cells with the presence of a new drug.If cells respond negatively, researchers are able to identify that the drug is not an ideal candidate for humans. This method could target people with specialized disorders as researchers can observe how a certain drug reacts to their organs. Using plenteous stem cells to grow tissue cells not only is more effective but also provides accurate and safe results.
In a West German pharmaceutical company, Chemic Garјmental Comb, developed a drug known as Thalidomide. Thalidomide was supposedly a mild sleeping pill even for pregnant women.After no side effect revelation on animal tests, it was open to the public in July 1956 as a prescription-free over-the-counter sale in Germany and several other European countries. Because it reduced morning sickness, many pregnant women soon became interested. Unfortunately, more than 10,000 babies were born with thalidomide related defects.
If human tissue was grown, the defects of over 10,000 babies could have been prevented (thalidomide”). Several people argue that life begins at conception, and after fertilization has become the embryo should be valued and considered as a human being.However, some do not demonstrate that hey are fully immersed in their view, with Bush serving as a clear example.
In 2001, Bush released a policy where no additional funds were to be provided to existing stem cell lines. And in 2006, he vetoed a bill that was going to fund embryonic stem cell research, claiming that he was not in favor of “the taking of innocent human life”. Bush made it clear to the public that he was not in favor of embryonic stem cell research by hindering their funds, but he never took a course of action to ban it.
If Bush considered embryos human beings why would he only block federal funding and not ban embryonic research once and for all? If Bush truly believed that embryonic Stem cell research was destroying human lives, his policies would have banned the research. For example, if doctors killed infants to obtain organs for transplants, no one would deny that it should not be federally funded, but more importantly, would abolish such an act. If someone persisted with the idea that embryonic research is the same as killing infants, then should that person have not prohibited the research?Not only did Bush formulate any efforts to ban embryonic stem cell research after declaring that it was immoral, but he allowed vitro-fertilization clinics to continue their daily functions. To try and treat infertility, the united States has established several fertilization clinics that habitually abandon thousands of embryos. If Bush called an end to federal funding for embryonic research, involving the same embryos as fertilization clinics, why has he not called for end of destruction of embryos in the conception clinics? (Friedman 19).Latest embryonic research has proven that among all stem cells, embryonic stem cells hold the largest potential. However, other types of stem cells such as adult stem cells and cord blood tem cells exist. An adult stem cell is an unspecified cell found in specific tissues in the human body.
Their role is to restore damaged tissue found in the perimeters of there area. Adult stem cells can be located in the brain, bone marrow, peripheral blood, blood vessels, skeletal muscle, skin, teeth, heart, gut, liver, ovarian epithelium and testis.For example, adult stem cells found in blood vessels can only become a specialized blood cell, while a liver stem cell cannot become a blood cell.
Adult stem cells are limited in terms of what type of differentiated cell they may become while embryonic stem cells an because any type of cell regardless of the tissue. To protect stem cells, human bodies create a stem cell niche, where stem cells of the specific area dwell. Adult stem cells are triggered by need of new tissue, and can therefore, remain inactive over long periods of time.However, only a few are found in each tissue and their ability to remain active has dramatically diminished.
After adult stem cells are isolated from human bodies, cannot continuously divide themselves or produce large numbers. TO acquire the greatest results, stem cells must be found in abundant numbers. Something, embryonic stem ells can easily do. Throughout the years, adult stem cells acquire genetic mutations and diseases from gene malfunctions.
Therefore, out of the limited number of adult stem cells, a few more are unsuitable. Embryonic stem cells, on the other hand, have a “clean slate”.No controversy arises from the use of adult stem cells due to their moral extraction. Cord blood stem cells, extracted from umbilical cords, are less mature than somatic stem cells. After the umbilical cord is cut, it is usually discarded. Recent research has demonstrated that the umbilical cord is home to rich blood, containing a type f somatic stem cells called homeopathic stem cells. Homeopathic stem cells are multivalent, meaning they can differentiate into several types of cells. Cord blood cells have appeared as large successes, however, a limited amount Of cells can be extracted from one umbilical cord.
An abundance Of umbilical cords is needed to properly carry out the necessary research. An ideal solution would be to set up a foundation for women to donate their umbilical cords. From there, scientists could extract the homeopathic cells and begin research. This proves to be extremely beneficial, as no controversy allows the use of cord blood cells. (“What Is the Difference between Cord Blood Stem Cells and Embryonic Stem Cells Used in Research? “) A topic that has circled religious institutions and scientific centers is the beginning of life.
To answer such a troublesome question, politics, religion and emotions are involved. The beginning of life may determine views on abortion, human embryo experimentation, infanticide and much more. Much thought and time has been put to answer such a delicate question that may potentially conclude people’s perspective. The answer to this question cannot be found n scientific research, but in faith alone. Religions such as Buddhism and Christianity, indoctrinate the belief that life beings at fertilization. “Conception and fertilization are synonyms for what happens on day one.This is when a man’s sperm fertilizes a woman’s ovum.
As a result of this irreversible event, a new, genetically, unique, single-celled entity, technically known as a zygote, is created. This is the beginning of human life” (Ling 6). Furthermore, the destruction Of the embryo is seen as a murder. Different religions stand with varying positions regarding embryonic stem cell research. For example, some Buddhists approve of embryonic stem cell research as it is pursuing knowledge but others believe it violates the principle to not harm others.
Catholics are in favor of adult stem cell research but stand against embryonic because it requires the destruction of human embryos, which to them, is a human life. Other religions including Judaism and the Presbyterian Church (USA) are in favor of stem cell research. Hinduism and Islam are two religions that have not reaffirmed their belief on stem cell research. (“Religious Groups’ Official Positions on Stem Cell Research”). Major religions, especially Christianity, advocate for the supposedly entitled rights of the embryo, as it is considered a human being for them. The more important question however, when does life really begin?Scientists argue that at the stage researchers excise the inner cell mass, the embryo cannot be considered a human being. According to Giant Toys, a biology teacher in Saint John’s School, the process of extracting the cells from takes a matter of hours. Each cell vision occurs after ninety minutes, after the first ninety, the fertilization stage has ended and then becomes a zygote.
The zygote becomes a blastula, then early gastrula, and from there it becomes a later gastrula, where the embryonic stem cells are already specialized. Furthermore, researchers must carefully observe the embryo and excise the cells after a couple of hours.Because scientists remove the cells so early in the development, the embryo cannot be considered a human. “early pre-implantation stage embryos do not have the psychological, physiological, emotional or intellectual properties that we associate with Persephone” (Hug 109). Therefore, if the embryo does not meet the requirements for Persephone, it should be regarded as a human. Additionally, embryos have the potential to become humans but because they cannot exist outside the womb, they are not classified as such.
An important problem that has captured the attention of many is organ transplants. Many people die waiting for a transplant.Others are denied transplants because there were not enough. Giant Toys states that embryonic stem cell research can work as a major solution.
According to Toys, to grow a heart, kidney or any organ, a process called removal must take place, removing the dead cells and leaving behind a “skeleton” that IS made of connective, tissue and ligaments. Embryonic stem cells must be placed to seal the concavities and begin their division until they have completely covered the organ and brought it back to regular function. For scientists, embryonic stem cell research represents a medical breakthrough eager to occur.Two of the most important factors of stem cell research are tissue regeneration and treatment of diseases. Embryonic stem cell research can alter neurological diseases as well as spinal cord injuries.
With the use of plenteous stem cells, researchers can carefully observe the development of cells from fetal development to adulthood. They can pinpoint the precise location where cells begin to malfunction and diseases form. Observing the development of diseases, allows scientists to come up with cures in order to fight the spread and later development.One example of a neurological disease is Parkinson. Parkinson disease patients suffer from the destruction of cells that produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter. Using embryonic stem cells, researchers were able to formulate new dopamine- producing cells and transplant them into the body, which would relieve their symptoms (Maharani).
Embryonic stem cells have the potential to replace imaged cells from a resulting injury, adding support to the damage myelin sheath, protecting cells at injury site and inhibiting the spread of the injury. L truly believe that stem cell research is going to allow our children to look at al and diabetes and other major diseases the way we view polio today, which is as a preventable disease” (Susan Solomon: The promise of stem cell research) An analogy goes as following: if there were a fire and on the right side there is a building full of embryos, on the left there are five children. The rescuer can only save one side, either right or left. Most people choose to save the kids; therefore, although several people argue that embryos are considered human beings, they give more importance to actual humans.