Stem Cell Research Essay

2339 words - 10 pages

Stem Cell Research
Recently, there has been quite a lot of controversy among the media regarding the topic of stem cell research, its pros and cons, but what is this controversy really about? The term “stem” cells can be compared with another much known term: “differentiated” cells. The importance they bring to the humankind is that of the hope of new medical advancements being deposited into these cells because of their amazing capability to develop in almost any type of cell. For example, spinal cord cells that have been injured or neural cells in our brains that may have a certain type of disability would now be treated with these stem cells. Or, when talking about cancer, a disease that ...view middle of the document...

Besides the multiple advantages of stem cells, such as their ability to replace organs or parts of our body that we essentially need for our everyday lives, research has shown that they might also have other advantages at the theoretical level. For example, the presence of a fairly stable population of human cells can represent an enormous benefit for the industry of the pharmaceutics, because this would allow them to test new drugs in quite normal, live human cells that would also give them the advantage of testing the final results first in animals and then in humans. It is believed too that these special cells may augment the precision of premature drug tests, and, at the same time, they can help to reduce not only the cost but also the need to use animals for these tests. Moreover, the fact that we have the opportunity to know more characteristics pertaining the specialization and modification of these unique cells would be an advantage when trying to help in the treatment and cure of two very common diseases nowadays, which are cancer and birth defects. The problem with these illnesses is that, for example, doctors or scientists that study cancerous cells have detected that this type of cells kind of go back to be less specialized and developed cells and therefore they lose their ability of multiplication, while those who are in charge of researching about birth defects have detected that in this case, some cells do not succeed in the task of becoming their projected tissue type. These are the reasons why, by learning and studying the genes’ sequences that develop good or bad cells during the process of specialization, doctors and scientists would discover how to control, treat, and even cure the mentioned diseases. Of course, with such incredible news and many hopes put into this new technology, is not a surprise that millions of dollars are being separated exclusively for the means of stem cell research, something that our president Obama recently did, when he lifted the restrictions on federal funding for stem cell research, causing many people to praise his action.
In order to have a better idea about the issue of the pros and cons of stem cell research, we must first be aware of where does the stem cells come from. Basically, it’s been said that there exist three principal sources from where stem cells can be obtained, and they are embryonic cells, cord cells, and adult cells. Doctors can extract adult stem cells from two places: from the core of bones, or from the peripheral system. It has been demonstrated that the core of a bone is a plentiful source of stem cells, but the procedure of extracting those cells can result in a painful damage to the bone core. On the other hand, if someone does not want or cannot take that risk, there is the option of extracting the stem cells from the peripheral system, which can be done with no destruction of the bone, but that also takes more time to achieve it, and we all know that in presence of...

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