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Introduction to Stem Cell Research

Belin Mirabile
Molecular biology & Genetics Topics

Embryonic stem cells, however, only have this pluripotent potential for the particular five-to-seven-day stage of embryonic development known as the blastocyst stage, after which they can only reproduce a single cell type "The Ethics of Embryonic Stem Cell Research" Stem cells, in general, hold great promise for the future of medicine.

Thus far, stem cell-based therapies have been developed to treat illnesses that previously had no cure. One example is bone marrow transplantation to treat leukemia and other blood disorders. The hematopoietic stem cells in bone marrow are injected into a patient who has severely reduced blood cell levels and these stem cells generate new blood cells, restoring the patient's immune system Devolder 5.

Therapies such as this will continue to be discovered with the support of stem cell research. In addition to the development of revolutionary therapies, stem cell research also provides valuable information about mechanisms regulating cell growth, migration, and differentiation. Scientists can learn about these processes by studying stem cells that have been stimulated to differentiate into different types of body cells. The discovery of new information about these concepts will allow scientists to better understand early human development and how tissues are maintained throughout life 8.

Embryonic stem cells are particularly valuable not only because of their pluripotent qualities, but also because of their ability to renew themselves. This is done by "divid[ing] asynchronously — at different times — into one differentiated daughter cell 1 and one stem cell-like daughter cell. Other types of stem cells eventually lose the ability to divide, making them less valuable for research purposes.

Embryonic stem cells' ability to be produced in large quantities allows researchers to make progress in regenerative medicine, using these cells to develop new functional cells, tissues, and organs. The healthy cells are implanted into the patient, serving as treatment to permanently repair failing organs Holland 5. The otherwise lack of treatment for loss of organ function displays the valuable potential of embryonic stem cells.

The sources of embryonic stem cells are a main point of controversy in the debate regarding embryonic stem cell research. Some possible sources for these stem cells include embryos created via in vitro fertilization for either research or reproduction ; five-to-nine-week old embryos or fetuses obtained through elective abortion; and embryos created through cloning or what is known as somatic cell nuclear transfer Liu 1. Somatic cell nuclear transfer is the laboratory creation of a viable embryo by implanting a donor nucleus from a body cell into an egg cell.

The ethics of obtaining embryonic stem cells via these sources can be questionable and have led to disputes that I will later address. Research utilizing human embryonic stem cell lines has focused on the potential to generate replacement tissues for malfunctioning cells or organs Liu 1.

A specific technique has been isolated to utilize stem cells in order to repair a damaged tissue or organ:. Other examples of research efforts include treatment of spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and diabetes. Researchers also hope to use specialized cells to replace dysfunctional cells in the brain, spinal cord, pancreas, and other organs 2.

Federal funding of embryonic research has been strictly regulated since when President Clinton declared such research would not be funded by the government. Following this executive order, Congress passed the Dickey Amendment in , prohibiting "federally appropriated funds from being used for either the creation of human embryos for research purposes or for research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death" Liu 2.

Embryonic research has continued nonetheless by means of alternative funding. In , President Bush declared that federal funding would be granted to human embryonic research on a restricted basis. However, these funds were only to be awarded for research on already existing stem cell lines. No funding was to be granted for "the use of stem cell lines derived from newly destroyed embryos, the creation of any human embryos for research purposes, or cloning of human embryos for any purposes" The debate over funding for embryonic stem cell research depends heavily on the ethical status of the research.

There are two main arguments surrounding the ethics of embryonic stem cell research: Ultimately, the possible benefits and controversial status of life that an embryo embodies qualify embryonic stem cell research as ethical, as long as the stem cells are obtained in an ethical manner. In the realm of stem cell research, embryonic and adult stem cells are often compared. The controversial use of embryonic stem cells is supported on the basis of the many advantages that they have over adult stem cells.

Embryonic stem cells are easier to obtain; they have a greater cell growth, otherwise known as proliferation, capacity; and they are more versatile. Embryonic stem cells are isolated from embryos in the blastocyst stage and the process damages the structure of the embryo to a point from which the embryo can no longer develop.

Because these stem cells are obtained at a point when the inner cell mass is concentrated in the embryo, they are more easily obtained than adult stem cells, which are limited in quantity. Another valuable benefit of embryonic stem cells is their ability to multiply readily and proliferate indefinitely when cultured in the proper conditions Devolder 9.

Lastly, embryonic stem cells' pluripotent quality is the main factor that distinguishes them from adult stem cells The ability to differentiate into any cell type creates greater possibilities for the application of embryonic stem cells.

Being inexhaustible, life and nature are a constant stimulus for a creative mind. Hold on to the good. While you did present the case for the positive uses of stem cells, you did not seem to spend much time showing how this actually outweighs, as a pro-lifer would say, "killing an innocent person". But, who knows, maybe you had a length cap for this assignment, in which case I can see how difficult it would be to include all the arguments. Which of your works would you like to tell your friends about?

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Don't have an account? Sign up for one. Wrong email address or password! Summer Program Reviews College Reviews. Writers Workshop Regular Forums. Program Links Program Reviews. More by this author Follow EnderFlame. This is a persuasive essay I had to write for school. I like this 0. Our Rights - Are the really right? Not the Real Picture. This article has 4 comments. Email me when someone replies. Well, human stem cells aren't the only ones being used.

Currently, there are iselet cells from pigs being used for Type I diabetics. My sister's a Type 1 diabetic, and has been for eight or nine years. Personally, I advocate for the use of stem cells. This is likely why the main legislative barriers against stem cell research have always focused on embryonic stem cell research.

Again, as has been noted above, significantly greater ethical dilemmas inhere to research with embryonic stem cells than to research with adult stem cells. A good example of such restrictions can be seen in the guidelines for stem cell research released by the National Institute of Health in , which stipulated that:.

Several important ethical points are exemplified by this statement, including that embryonic stem cells must be derived using private and not public funds and that it still is not acceptable to create embryos simply for the sake of harvesting stem cells from them and destroying them in the process.

Over the course of the last several years, though, such regulations would seem to have become someone less salient both due to their relaxation under the Obama administration and to scientific innovations regarding adult stem cells, which have enabled scientists to somewhat circumvent the legislative debate surrounding embryonic stem cells.

This is because controversy over stem cell research generally tends to focus on the use of embryonic stem cells; but then, this leads to the more fundamental question of the legal, ethical, and metaphysical status of the embryo. In principle, if one grants that abortions are acceptable, then one must also grant that it is acceptable to create embryos specifically for the purpose of harvesting stem cells from them.

To put it a little differently: Of course, there is a significant number of Americans who believe that life begins at conception, and that the embryo is thus in fact metaphysically a living human being. If this were the case, then the manufacture of embryos simply for the purpose of destroying them would be horrific, insofar the destruction of each embryo would then be morally and conceptually equivalent to murder.

If this paradigm is accepted, then whatever benefits could be produced by embryonic stem cell research would clearly be outweighed by unacceptability of the atrocities that would need to be committed in order to achieve those benefits. Clearly, this conflict ultimately surpasses the bounds of science itself and is grounded in the differing religions and broader worldviews of different groups of people within the nation.

As Robertson has written:. Stem cell science is thus drawn into the ongoing, highly divisive wars over abortion and the culture of life that have occupied a central stage in American law and politics over the last 30 years" Stem cell research is thus a highly partisan issue, and it is likely to remain that way over the foreseeable future.

Again, this is because the real points of contention that surround the issue surpass the scope of science or even reason more generally; they touch on people's fundamental beliefs about what it means to be human.

Both positions would be cogent within the context of their own assumptions; and it would be difficult if not impossible to rationally discredit either set of assumptions. In addition, it is worth pointing out that even adult stem cell research is controversial, insofar as stem cell research in general has the potential to lead to human cloning.

The basic point here would be that human beings are engaging with a dangerous power that may be intimately connected with the very origins of life itself. If there were no God, then there would naturally be no problem with human beings pushing their knowledge to the limits. On the other hand, if one did believe in God, then it would be possible to argue that stem cell research is an attempt by humans to usurp His role.

As with the morality of the destruction of embryos, this question can be expected to remain open for a quite long time. In summary, this essay has provided a historical and scientific overview of the issue of stem cell research.

It began with an introduction to the issue, proceeded to discuss the scientific and political history of the issue, and finally reflected on the current situation regarding the issue.

One of the main points that has emerged here is that although stem cell research clearly has a great deal of potential for catalyzing medical breakthroughs, the research agenda has been limited to at least some extent by legislative barriers based on moral concerns. Given the nature of the issue at hand, these latter concerns clearly are not irrelevant.

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Stem cell research paper topics. A stem cell research paper is somewhat different from other research papers and tend to be more advanced than your standard paper, mostly because it requires scientific knowledge or hard scientific facts.

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Here are two topic ideas for stem cell research paper along with some suggested thesis statement to help you in crafting A grade research papers on stem cell.

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The Importance of Stem Cell Research - Stem cell research is a topic almost everybody in the world has a viewpoint on. Many view the issue of stem cell research and stem cell therapy as morally wrong and a crime against humanity, others view the study of stem cells as the next step in modern science. Nov 03,  · View and download stem cell research essays examples. Also discover topics, titles, outlines, thesis statements, and conclusions for your stem cell research essay.

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As a stem cell biologist it’s fun to read new papers on the latest cutting edge research. In that spirit, here is a list of 7 recent stem cell and regenerative medicine papers that caught my eye as particularly notable and that have sparked discussion. Research Papers on Stem Cell Research Stem Cell research papers on the pro-argument paper on stem cell research on the level of the State of California. This is a medical health research paper on stem cell research.