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Arguments for and Against Using Stem Cells in Biomedical Research and Medicine

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Tamara Harutyunyan

AUA ID: A09150138

Introduction to Biosciences

Assignment: Essay

11/27/15

Challenges facing stem cell research.

Arguments for and against using stem cells in biomedical research and medicine.

Stem cell research is one of the most prospective innovations of last two centuries. It is known that “stem cell is a cell that divides to generate one daughter cell that is a stem cell, and another daughter cell that produces differentiated descendants”. Due to differentiation the embryonic cells under chemical and physical impact of environment become specialized body cells. [Stem Cells 2, PPP] There are three types of stem cells: embryonic, tissue ones, and stem cells made from specialized adult cells.[ http://www.eurostemcell.org/factsheet/types-stem-cells-and-their-current-uses ] Though there is such a diversity of stem cells, all types of corresponding researches are mostly aimed on satisfying medical purposes, as stem cell research itself represents a possibility to cure several diseases. Today medicine is powerful in fight with several diseases but still results of stem cell research are now applicable in curing of such diseases as juvenile onset diabetes mellitus, some heart diseases Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, oncological blood and autoimmune diseases.

Nowadays the most popular type of stem cell research is embryonic stem cells research. It represents a necessity to destroy the embryo. Due to impossibility to leave the embryo undestroyed several moral and ethics issues are faced in embryonic stem cells research. A group of scientists consider that the embryo should be treated as a full living organism, as a baby, and they support the position of considering the destroying of embryo as a murder. They consider that the embryo can become a human and do not differentiate its destroying from murder of a human-being. It is known that some scientific centers and researches use donated eggs and sperm, create an embryo in tube and use that artificially-created embryo in scientific purposes for researches.  Church maintains the same idea with a small difference – each embryo is a gift of God and destroying it is a sin and crime against Creator. There is also a group believing that embryonic stem cell research is a try to intervene into the order of nature leading to the loss of ecological and natural balance.

Besides all subjective and hard-to-prove issues there are also objective conditions preventing from conducting embryonic stem cell research. One of them is commercial – high price of research as all the laboratory equipment, reagents, and other staff costs much and not all countries and individuals can afford that. Economic situation of citizens of Armenia and our country does not imply demand for the products of stem cell research as not only the research itself costs much but also consequently the results which could be applied on the particular diseased individual are very expensive. All these problems exclude the opportunity to have enough high-qualified practical researchers and as a result to conduct any procedure on direction to stem cell research application.

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