Could the world be a better place if it had one cure that fixes multiple diseases? With stem cell research there can be a cure for today’s incurable illness. The debate for and against stem cells and research on them, has been around since stem cells were discovered. Is it ethical to end the possibility of one’s life to save another? When discussing stem cell research one must discuss what stem cell research contains, how they work, potential therapy, and the many misconceptions that come along with this controversial topic. Is stem cell research ethical?
One must start with an understanding of what stem cells consist of. Stem cells come from many different places, but the most abundant stem cells coming from in vitro fertilization embryo’s. The embryo is a fertilized egg that has started cell division. These cells don’t have specified set of standards, forcing them to one specific organ. These cells are able to conform to anything from the heart to the eyes. They are unspecialized in which can help with curing diseases. They help by conforming into the cells that need to be fixed. The second copious amount of stem cells come from the human adult body.
These specific stem cells are called adult stem cells. They are less valuable because they are specialized. In which it is harder to find a use for these stem cells. Although they are not as flexible as the other types of stem cells, this does not render them useless. These types of cells can be located in the bone marrow, stomach lining, and menstruation blood. Most adult stem cells are already assigned to a specific function and therefore are only useful to that specific organ. Finally, the less common of the three types of stem cell is induced pluripotent stem cells.
These are laboratory fixed adult cells. Thought this process the scientist unspecialized the adult stem cells rendering them a lot more useful. They are laboratory fixed to become the embryonic type cells. All three of the types of stem cells are used just in a different way. When used all of the types of stem cell can aid in therapy. Stem cell therapy is less complicated that it seems. So the big question is how does it work? What the doctors do is replace damaged cells with the new stem cells. The cells are injected into the body where they will repair any damage.
Stem cell therapy works by taking stem cells and mixing them with healthy cells. In the case of diabetes, the stem cells can be added to a healthy pancreas cells then placed in the body, allowing the pancreas work without the insulin that most patients take. In the case of Parkinson’s disease, the stem cells can be added to basal ganglia to create healthy growth. Stem cell research can make medicine more personalized. Doctors are working on cloning the cells which will make the cures to be more effective, because the cells come from your own body.
This also makes it safer, in the near future they will be able to create organs. In which will limit the risks of transplant because it will be your own cells creating that specific organ. When thinking about the possible medical breakthrough what could it possibly cure? A transplants is a transfer of a specific organ from the donor to a recipient. In order to have a transplant you must meet a specific set of criteria. First the patient will go through extensive testes at family physician office. Following that the patient will be referred to a specialist that will proceed with organ specific testing.
Following that the specialists will decide if placement on organ transplant list is appropriated. If deemed edgily and necessary, then the patient will be placed on the organ transplant list. Once on the list the patient must wait on the list for a match. Waiting on the list could take from a month to years. If a match is found the patient still might need to wait due to the position the patient holds on the list. If everything works out and a match is found and they have tested to check if you could with stand anesthesia. They will do the surgery, then place you on medicine that will help except the new organ.
Some of the medications will have to stay on for a lifetime. If transplants are so bad and stem cells can help fix that. What else can it fix? What disease could be cured with stem cells and how? Diabetes could be cured by placing stem cells in the pancreas rebuilding the organ and helping it function. It could cure Alzheimer’s disease, a disease that effect the deterioration of the brain cell connections. Stem cells could be added to the connections to repair the deterioration ending Alzheimer’s. Stem cells could fix the heart after a heart attack, the cells would be able to form and fix the destroyed tissue.
As of right now there are treatments for leukemia, a blood cancer, that replaces the stem cells found in the bones with healthy stem cells. One great benefit of stem cells Is that they can be pulled from a different part of the body or created from other similar cells. Stem cells could potentially end the wait on a transplant list. A stem cell could grow a new organ and save more lives without taking a life. The potential amount of disease that we could cure is endless. Although, this treatment is not legal in many places, but why if it can cure the incurable?
In the United States, stem cell research has had the restrictions lifted that President Bush put into effect due to the controversial topic of when does life start. Other countries have similar points, but the biggest question is “is it ethical. ” Yes, a life is worth saving no matter whose life it is. President Obama lifted the restriction on embryonic stem cell research making it legal here in the United States. The United Kingdom has a different take on it. They have many laws in place preventing the creation of cloning. Also in the United Kingdom you must have a special license that is provided by human fertilization and embryo authority.
Places like Germany, have completely banded stem cell research. Countries such as Austria has no deemed laws in effect for stem cell research. There is a spectrum of legality when it comes to stem cell research. We must ask why is stem cell research so controversial? One main reason stem cell research is deemed highly controversial is due to the fact that most stem cells come from fertilized embryos. In which, this becomes a morality issue. The idea stems from when does one have right’s? Many against, the preceding idea of the time, believe that it is abortion.
Which is false, when looking at abortion, we must have a standard meaning. Abortion is “the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy, most often performed during the first 28 weeks of pregnancy. ” (Cite) This states that abortion is a termination of pregnancy. So what does pregnancy mean? “The period from conception to birth. After the egg is fertilized by the sperm then implanted in the lining of the uterus…” (cite) These states that pregnancy happens in a uterus. The stem cell is retrieved from the fertilized eggs from in vitro. This means stem cell research is not abortion.
Secondly, people fear that it will lead to cloning, and playing God. They believe that with the amount of manipulation to make induced pluripotent stem cells will lead to cloning. It could potentially but this is such a great way to find a cure to diseases that we can’t fix now. With stem cell research it could potentially lead to never needing a transplant because we could grow new organs. It could lead to cloning, but it is for extra organs. Many have asked what are the limitations on the research. One of the most common things that is looked over is the fourteen-day rule.
This rule was put in place to stop the testing, on the day when the scientist at the time, believed, when life began. At this point the cells have divided and decide if they will be twins or not so the scientist stopped working. This is seen as a waste to some researched due to the fact that you have to destroy an embryo to even start. If we can cure the incurable, why don’t we? With some government restrictions and the constant turmoil between is it abortion or not we are not able to move forward into the new age of medicine. Stem cells are non-complex cells that could become anything and treat anything.
They could end heart breaking diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and even fix a heart. The three type of stem cell if one can’t fix it one of the others can but they all do the same thing. Some of them just have a little help from scientists. If adding stem cells to the mix of the organ you fix any organ. When abortion stands in the way we must look at the definition of the word, which means, termination of pregnancy. Then pregnancy meaning a fertilized egg in the uterus and in vitro fertilization the egg never in the uterus. So therefore it’s not a really abortion.
Stem cell treatment and research is ethical. The potential of life doesn’t outweigh the life that is here already. Also we must think what it more important human life or the possibility of cloning. Although, cloning is banned in many countries, people still fear it. With this fear is where the fourteen-day rule limitation comes from. Scientists use the fourteen-days to prevent cloning and to give a limit where it morals come into play. Stem cell research is ethical because of all the lives that it will save and the medical advances that the countries will make.