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Stem Cell - the Future of Medicine

Essay by   •  April 6, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  1,639 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,499 Views

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What is the future of medicine? What could cure those untreatable diseases, and permanent spinal cord injuries? Stem cells are the future of science and medicine. The cell that can quite possibly cure cancer, ALS or some other complicated disease. It can also cure any kind of spinal cord injury. Stem cells is a very controversial subject, and many people are against it, but even more are for it. Also there aren't very many reasons not to research it and experiment with stem cells. As expected, there are two sides to the stem cell argument. One side is all in favor of their use, and the other side is dead-set against it. Stem cells come at a high price, yet this price is well worth the saved lives they can offer. "Over 4,200,000 people suffer from Alzheimer's; 8.1 million suffer from diabetes, and four out of 100,000 people suffer from cancer"(Gibbs 168). Millions of other people suffer from cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, etc. Fortunately, scientists and researchers in the medical field have discovered a way to manipulate stem cells into replacing damaged tissue and organs(NIH Stem Cell Information). Stem cell research should continue because the researchers have found a way to possibly curing these terrible diseases. Those who argue against stem cell research say its unethical because the researchers use embryos, which have potential to be human. They also argue that despite scientists' efforts, no one has been cured yet. But that is because it has not been researched enough in the United States.

Stem cells are cells with the potential to develop into many different types of cells in the human body and they serve as a repair system for the body. With the cells the scientists can manipulate stem cells to generate specific cell types so they can be used to treat injury or disease. The different types of stem cells have the ability to repair many classes of damaged human tissue. However, only one type of stem cell promises to regenerate virtually any class of tissue. This is the highly controversial embryonic stem cell. Embryonic stem cells can become all cell types of the body because they are pluripotent or are capable of differentiating into different types of body cell. But why is it so controversial? To obtain these cells from embryos you have to kill it. Which would mean abortion. But there are already many abortions performed for many different reasons. The dead fetus just goes to waste, so why not use it? With this option now available in the medical world, everyone involved with this topic must make a difficult ethical decision: whether or not saving existing life is worth the termination of potential future life. Adult stem cells are thought to be limited to differentiating into different cell types if their tissue origin. Adult stem cells are also known as somatic and are found in children and adults. The embryonic stem cells are from the inner cell mass of blastocysts, structure formed in the early embryo genesis of mammals, whereas the adult stem cells are found in the various tissues. Primary roles of adult stem cells in living organisms are to maintain and repair the tissue in which they are found. Also another type if stem cells is bone marrow. Bone marrow contains blood forming stem cells the have been used for decades to treat blood cancers and other blood disorders. Bone marrow is a type of adult stem cell therapy that has cured leukemia. Further researching of stem cells can create a big breakthrough in medicine. (NIH Stem Cell Information)

Scientists have been able to do experiments with human embryonic stem cells only since 1998, when a group led by Dr. James Thomson at the University of Wisconsin developed a technique to isolate and grow the cells. Although embryonic stem cells are thought to offer potential cures and therapies for many devastating diseases, research using them is still in its early stages.

The NIH funded its first basic research study on embryonic stem cells in 2002. Since that time, biotechnology companies have built upon those basic foundations to begin developing stem cell-based human therapies. (NIH Stem Cell Information)

Many Americans are desperate for a cure, a cure they cannot receive here. So many fly all the way to China to receive stem cell shots. Brandon Meinke, a 4 year old with spinal muscular atrophy, a disease that affects motor neurons and leaves nerves to deteriorate and die, went to China for stem cell treatment. After being injected with the stem cell shots and intense muscular therapy, he was finally able to walk, ride a bicycle, and climb stairs (Stem Cells). Brooke Barels, a girl with glucose transporter deficiency, a gene mutation that delays brain development, went to China and got the stem cell treatment. Since then, her motor skills have increased and her speech is better (Stem Cells). Although not completely cured, these two kids showed significant improvement. The improvement holds much hope for researchers and the millions of people relying on them.

What does the U.S government

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