Essay Title: 

Stem Cell Research

March 22, 2016 | Author: | Posted in science, technology

In Defense of Stem Cell Research

Scientists discovered how to isolate mouse stem cells over twenty years ago (NIH 2005 , but it is only relatively recently that the potential for human stem cells has been realized . Stem cells are unique among all other cell types in that they have both the capacity to differentiate into any cell type in the body in response to chemical signals , and the ability to divide without limit until differentiation does occur Research teams all over the world are investigating the properties of these cells and trying [banner_entry_middle]

to determine how to induce stem cells to differentiate into cells of organs and other tissues . Stem cells are a potentially unlimited source of replacement cells , tissues , and organs for use in the treatment and cure of human diseases . Research on stem cells provides hope for people suffering from a diverse range of debilitating diseases

Just two months ago researchers at Johns Hopkins University announced they had been able to cure rats of traumatic (caused by injury paralysis by treating them with stem cells (JHMI , June 20 , 2006 . The research team believes that this research could be the starting point for treatments which could reverse damage done by not only traumatic spinal injury , but also Lou Gherig ‘s disease , multiple sclerosis , and Parkinson ‘s disease . Stem cell treatments have the potential to substantially increase the quality of life of millions of people suffering from such diseases , and perhaps even cure them

Stored embryos left-over ‘ from in vitro fertilization procedures used with the donor ‘s consent , were the source of the first human stem cells isolated in the laboratory (NIH 2005 . However , because such cells are derived from human embryos , this issue has become a subject of considerable ethical and political debate , and in America for example it has become an issue in which religious arguments are being used to dictate the course of medical scientific research

Opposition to the use of stem cells isolated from human embryos is often based on religious arguments (Singer , 2000 . For those who believe that humans have immortal souls , it is ethically and morally reprehensible to use human embryos in research , because an embryo represents a human life , and using an embryo in research is akin to murder . On the other hand , embryos of the age which are used in stem cell research (three to five days old ) contain only undifferentiated cells – no bodily systems have been formed , at at this age it is debatable as to whether the embryo can yet be considered alive . The concept of an immortal soul is impossible to prove or disprove – therefore to use it as an argument against the use of embryonic stem cell research is logically impossible

The larger question is whether or not it is right to allow religious arguments to dictate the course of medical research , particularly when the potential benefits of the research are so significant . In August 2001 , George Bush announced that because he believed that using human embryos in research… [banner_entry_footer]

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