Upon the discovery of stem cell research, its application has raised controversial issues on its benefits. The research, intended to improve on therapeutic procedures has turned into moral and ethical issues rather than its curative advantages. Stem cells are cells capable of dividing, giving rise to two daughter cells, one that is identical to the mother cell and the other to a specialized cell (Panno, 2005). They function as an internal repair system for the worn out tissues in the body. Stem cells from animals and human beings have been used for research; these cells are embryonic stem cells and somatic/adult stem cell. Even though the benefits of stem cell research are realistic, critics tend to harp at the various uncertainties associated with the technology. The use of embryonic stem cell for research has been criticized by many especially those who believe that life begin at conception. This is because it involves the destruction of blastocysts formed from human fertilized eggs. This has raised issues to prohibit this technology. Stem cell research and therapy is beneficial to human life, its discovery was a good idea that should be viewed as cure to some diseases.
This technology has been opposed by many pledging for its prohibition. First, there have been claims that embryonic stem cell research involves the destruction of blastocysts, an early aged human life. This has raised moral and ethical issues among individuals. It is argued that in embryonic stem cell research, the used embryo is not of the patient’s cell thus creating high chances of rejection by the patient’s body (Almeder, 2004). This would then result to immunogenic reactions by the patient’s body. Another criticism is that there has been no cell line for embryonic stem cells since they are difficult to control, attempts have led to mutations making the cells unusable to patients. The fear of tumor development from these cells leading to cancer has raised the controversy on the technology. There have been no clear debates on the long term effects of the technology thus there exist unknowns associated with the adult stem cell (Sell, 2004). There has been touting concerning the harvesting of stem cells citing that adult stem cell entails a difficult procedure in harvesting. Still, people claim that stem cell research has limited flexibility and seizes cells to be programmed to any type of cell in the body.
The fact about embryonic stem cell research is that blastocysts have no developed organ but only a single cell that cannot be equivalent to human life. Many countries have legalized abortion this might well allow the embryo be used for research rather than carrying out abortion. Immunogenic reactions can be nullified by use of somatic cell nuclear transfer, a technology that enables patients to use their own cells. The embryonic stem cell lines remain intact for long periods of time this paves way for the production of large numbers of cells. Embryonic stem cells can develop to any type of cell in the body thus they are versatile and flexible. In adult stem research, chances of tumor formation are rare since they have a low tumorigenic potential. This technology has enabled scientists to research on cell growth and development. This has aided in preventing birth defects.
The discovery of stem cell research poses a great benefit to the population at large. Its application in the medical field has done humanity great justice. The technology has been used in cell-based therapies where cells and tissues are formed for medical use. These cells have been used to treat diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, Parkinson’s, and type I diabetes by replacing the worn out or damaged cells (Yanhong Shi, 2008). Stem research has enabled scientists to understand procedures of some conditions making it possible for them to reverse them for instance birth defects.
In the pharmaceutical field, stem cells research has been of great advantage. They have been used to test for new drugs and effects of the drugs studied before testing them in laboratory animals and human subjects. Only those drugs that seem to have beneficial effect on the stem cell would be recommended. This has improved accuracy and viability of drugs being dispensed to patients and drugs to be procured. The technology has benefited the human health. This has been achieved by acquiring a source of replacement cells through the formation of specialized cell types. This will help cure diseases such as Leukemia by stem cell transplant of the bone marrow.
In summary, the benefits of stem cell research outweigh the disadvantages. The discovery of these cells has led to the understanding of these cells and their role in our organs functioning. They have enabled scientists to identify diseases related to cell division and their possible causes, this has seen to their treatment and control. Stem cells have proved to be of good use to humankind since they act as ‘spare parts’. The hope and promise of these new procedures is astonishing in its scope and range pertaining to the advancement of the human species. I strongly hope for intense cures from this technology.
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