Ethical Concerns Of Stem Cell Research

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Steven Weinberg, a famous theoretical physicist, once said, “It does not help that some politicians and journalists assume the public is interested only in those aspects of science that promise immediate practical applications to technology or medicine” (Doc, 2016). Though this refers to many, if not all, fields of science when there are new technological advances, there is one in particular that falls under this assumption. There are two basic fields within stem cell research and the one under the most scrutiny is embryonic stem cell research. To be able to use their stem cells without killing them has not been developed yet, so many articles on ethical concerns of stem cell research are focused on this specific topic. Many areas of…show more content…
As a result of their abilities, stem cells have the potential to develop into many separate cell types in the body during early life. In addition, many tissues they serve as a sort of internal repair system, dividing practically without limit to replenish other cells as long as the organism is still alive (NIH, 2015). When a stem cell divides, each new cell has the potential to remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a function that is permanent.

Until recently, scientists primarily worked with two kinds of stem cells from animals and humans: embryonic stem cells and non-embryonic "somatic" or "adult" stem cells (NIH, 2015). The detailed study of the biology of mouse stem cells led to the discovery of a method to derive stem cells from human embryos and grow the cells in the laboratory (NIH, 2015). These are the human embryonic stem cells. In 2006, another breakthrough was made by identifying conditions that would allow some specialized adult cells to be "reprogrammed" to acquire a stem cell-like state, called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) (NIH, 2015).

Though they are thought to be limited in their capabilities, adult stem cells, and tissues derived from them, are believed to less likely to reject after transplantation. This is because a patient 's own cells could be coaxed into assuming a specific cell type (differentiation), and then reintroduced into the patient (NIH, 2015). This represents a significant advantage, as immune rejection can
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