Many parties continue to have strong opinions that trigger ongoing debates about stem cell research, and the following pros and cons provide a snapshot of some the points on each side of the issue. Stem cells provide huge potential for finding treatments and cures to a vast array of medical issues:.
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Different diseases—including cancers, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and more—can be treated with stem cells by replacing damaged or diseased tissue. This can include neurons that might affect neurological diseases and even entire organs that need to be replaced. There is endless potential for scientists to learn about human growth and cell development from studying stem cells. For example, by studying how stem cells develop into specific types of cells, scientists potentially could learn how to treat or prevent relevant ailments. One of the areas of potential is embryonic treatment.
This stage of pregnancy is when many birth defects or other potential issues begin. Studying embryonic stem cells possibly could lead to a better understanding of how embryos develop and maybe even lead to treatments that can identify and address potential problems. Because the cells can replicate at a high rate, a limited number of initial cells eventually can grow into a much greater number to be studied or used in treatment. May hold the answer to curing various diseases, including Alzheimer's, certain cancers and Parkinson's.
Stem cell research presents problems like any form of research, but most opposition to stem cell research is philosophical and theological, focusing on questions of whether we should be taking science this far:. It's not easy to obtain stem cells. Once harvested from an embryo, stem cells require several months of growth before they can be used.
Pros of Stem Cell Research
Obtaining adult stem cells, such as from bone marrow, can be painful. As promising as the field is, stem cell treatments still are unproven, and they often have high rejection rates.
The cost also can be prohibitive for many patients, with a single treatment costing well into the thousands of dollars, as of For those who believe that life begins at conception, the blastocyst is a human life, and to destroy it is unacceptable and immoral. A similar theological problem is an idea of creating living tissue in a laboratory and whether that represents humans taking on the role of God. This argument also applies to the potential for human cloning.
Top 17 Stem Cell Research Pros and Cons
For those who believe God created people, the prospect of people creating people is troublesome. In , the first published research paper on the topic reported that stem cells could be taken from human embryos. Subsequent research led to the ability to maintain undifferentiated stem cell lines pluripotent cells and techniques for differentiating them into cells specific to various tissues and organs. The debates over the ethics of stem cell research began almost immediately in , despite reports that stem cells cannot grow into complete organisms.
In —, governments worldwide were beginning to draft proposals and guidelines to control stem cell research and the handling of embryonic tissues and reach universal policies. Dead cells of almost any kind, no matter the type of injury or disease, can be replaced with new healthy cells thanks to the amazing flexibility of stem cells. As a result, billions of dollars are being poured into this new field. To understand the pros and cons of stem cell research, one must first understand where stem cells come from.
There are three main sources for obtaining stem cells - adult cells, cord cells, and embryonic cells. Adult stem cells can be extracted either from bone marrow or from the peripheral system. Bone marrow is a rich source of stem cells. However, some painful destruction of the bone marrow results from this procedure. Peripheral stem cells can be extracted without damage to bones, but the process takes more time.
And with health issues, time is often of the essence. Although difficult to extract, since they are taken from the patient's own body, adult stem cells are superior to both umbilical cord and embryonic stem cells. They are plentiful. There is always an exact DNA match so the body's immune system never rejects them. And as we might expect, results have been both profound and promising. Stem cells taken from the umbilical cord are a second very rich source of stem cells. Umbilical cells can also offer a perfect match where a family has planned ahead.
Cord cells are extracted during pregnancy and stored in cryogenic cell banks as a type of insurance policy for future use on behalf of the newborn. Cord cells can also be used by the mother, the father or others. The more distant the relationship, the more likely it is that the cells will be rejected by the immune system's antibodies.
However, there are a number of common cell types just as there are common blood types so matching is always possible especially where there are numerous donors. The donation and storage process is similar to blood banking.
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Donation of umbilical cells is highly encouraged. Compared to adult cells and embryonic cells, the umbilical cord is by far the richest source of stem cells, and cells can be stored up in advance so they are available when needed. Further, even where there is not an exact DNA match between donor and recipient, scientists have developed methods to increase transferability and reduce risk.
Pros and Cons of Stem Cell Research - Embryonic Cells The pros and cons of stem cell research come to the surface when we examine the third source of stem cells - embryonic cells. Embryonic stem cells are extracted directly from an embryo before the embryo's cells begin to differentiate.
- academic resources for research papers.
- Pros and Cons | Stem Cells | University of Nebraska Medical Center.
- What are Stem Cells?.
At this stage the embryo is referred to as a "blastocyst. A replicating set of stem cells from a single blastocyst is called a "stem cell line" because the genetic material all comes from the same fertilized human egg that started it.
President Bush authorized federal funding for research on the 15 stem cell lines available in August Other stem cell lines are also available for research but without the coveted assistance of federal funding. So what is the controversy all about? Those who value human life from the point of conception, oppose embryonic stem cell research because the extraction of stem cells from this type of an embryo requires its destruction. In other words, it requires that a human life be killed. Some believe this to be the same as murder.