Stem Cell Controversy BY DROMarna Stem Cell Research Controversy Many diseases kill cells within organisms, effectively destroying a person ability to live. Some disease such as heart failure, diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease are a few to name. What if these cells that are dead could be replaced? Would the disease attack these new cells or would the disease be cured? This is what stem cell research tries to achieve. How does stem cell research try achieving this? Stem cells are essentially the building block of the human body (How Stuff Works, 2).
Stem cells can divide for long increments of time. At first they are unspecialized, but can turn into specialized cells. A stem cell is a pluripotent, which means that when it divides it can make any of the 220 different cells in the human body (How Stuff Works, 2). They also have to ability to self-renew or duplicate themselves many times. There is not only one type of stem cell but many. A couple would be embryonic stem cells, stem cells found within the embryo, fetus, or the umbilical cord blood. Adult stem cells can be found in infants, children, and adults.
Induced pluripotent stem cells or IPSC are adult cells that have been tampered with to become stem like cells. The main ontroversy of stem cells is mainly in embryonic stem cells for this reason we will focus mostly on embryonic stem cells. Embryonic stems cells can be “harvested” by two ways. One way is through in vitro fertilization. Many couples use in vitro fertilization to conceive a child. This process uses a couple’s sperm and eggs and is fertilized in a culture or petri dish. Once the egg has developed into an embryo it is then implanted back into the female.
Now once this is done there are more embryos than can be implanted. Usually these embryos are frozen for later use. Couples that use in vitro fertilization donate their embryos. The other way to get embryos is through therapeutic cloning. The way this works is that it takes the patients cell and merges it with a donor egg. The process that happens is as follows. First the nucleus is removed from the donor egg and is then replace with the nucleus of the patient’s cell. Next the egg is “stimulated” to divide, chemically or with electricity, and now the embryo carries the patient’s genetic material.
This is used to reduce the risk of the body rejecting the stem cells when they are implanted. Once one of these two methods has been used scientists then have to research the stem cells. When they embryo contains around eight cells, the stem cells are totipotent, which means that they can develop into all cell types. The embryo turns into a ball of cells called a blastocyst, after three to five days. Blastocysts contain around one hundred cells in total, but the stem cells are inside the blastocyst. The stem cells at this stage are pluripotent; these can develop into almost any cell type.
In order to grow the stem cells, scientists remove them from the blastocyst and culture them (grow them in a nutrient-rich solution) in a petri dish in a laboratory. These stem cells start to divide ultiple times and scientists divide the population into more petri dishes. If the stem cells continue to divide and don’t come out different, then the scientists have a stem cell line. These lines can be frozen and shared between laboratories. As previously stated, both of these methods are controversial. Why? Both of these methods use fertilized embryos and create new embryos for research reasons.
The main problem but most religious leaders say that life has already begun with those cells and that harvesting the embryos is Just the same thing as harvesting a human life. The funny hing though is that stem cell controversy isn’t as much a question of morality or ethicality, but the funding that goes into stem cell research. That is the main debate, surely morality and ethicality play a role in it, but it is mostly of funding of stem cell research. As with other major debates this one was no different in entering politics.
In 1996, Congress passed a bill called the Dickey-Wicker amendment. This proposed the banning of federal money for any research in which a human embryo is created or destroyed. Federal money is a primary source of funding for stem cell research. This amendment has been renewed every year since then. 001, President George Bush restricted stem cell research even further. In an executive order, federal fund could only be used for research on human embryonic stem cell lines that had already been established (22 at the time).
This prevented researchers from creating more stem cell lines for research. In 2009, President Barack Obama issued an executive order to expand embryonic stem cell research (How Stuff Works, 7). This allowed federal funding of embryonic stem cell research only if the following conditions applied: The cell line was one of the 22 in existence during the Bush administration r was created from embryos that had been discarded after in vitro fertilization procedures. The donors of the embryos were not paid. The donors knew exactly what the embryos would be used for prior to giving consent.
According to administration, this new policy did not violate the Dickey-Wicker amendment. This new policy didn’t finance the creation of new embryos and didn’t finance the destruction of them. Now stem cell research brings up some difficult ethical questions, such as: 1. Does life begin at fertilization, in the womb, or at birth? 2. Does a human embryo have any rights? 3. Is the destruction of an embryo Justified if it saves many patients by curing their disease? These are Just some of the few questions asked about the ethicality of stem cell research.
Here are some of the pros and cons of stem cell research. Pros: Can cure diseases with no cure (Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Diabetes, etc. ), reduce the risk of your body rejecting a transplant, stem cells play a major role in cancer, repair or replace damaged organs, spinal cord injuries. Cons: Destruction of embryos, “Playing God”, ethically wrong? Do the pros of stem cell research outweigh the cons? My opinion of stem cell research is mixed. On one hand I believe stem cell research should continue and be funded so it can grow.
The idea of stem cells being able to potentially cure many diseases is mind-blowing and amazing. On the other I think it is morally wrong or at least embryonic stem cell research. I’m against embryonic stem cells, because I believe an embryo is a living thing. Then again the embryo can save so many lives, that I believe it is Justified. It’s unwillingly being sacrificed for the greater good. The reason I think stem cells should be research is because if it has the potential to cure diseases and regrow or repair damaged organs hen who know what else it can do.
Who knows in the future maybe we will be able to create clones or extra limbs. Scientists don’t know the limits of stem cell research. That’s why I think it should be allowed. We do know it can save lives but we don’t know to what extent. I say we should fgure out what the limit is. Watson, Stephanie, and Craig Freudenrich, Ph. D.. “How Stem Cells Work” 11 November 2004. HowStuffWorks. com. White, Deborah. “Pros & Cons of Embryonic Stem Cell Research. ” About. com US Liberal Politics. About. com, n. d. Web. Genetic Science Learning Center. “The Stem Cell Debate: Is It Over?. “Learn. Genetics