Stem cell research has been quite a controversial topic since its origin in the 1960s by Gopal Das and Joseph Altman. Of course, anything that uses a human embryo would be. Stem cell research could open a vast number of new doors for modern science, it could let us test new drugs, one of which could be the unfound cure for AIDS or Alzheimer’s disease. However, this branch of science comes at a high price, the price of a human life that is only five to six days
The Alliance for Aging Research is a non-profit organization that promotes the use of federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. As an agency geared toward improving the health of human beings as they age, some of their responsibilities include lobbying for federal legislation, conducting studies and surveys, and creating and distributing educational materials to health care professionals and the public. With Baby Boomers closely reaching the later stages of life, this group has found themselves focused primarily on research programs for the geriatric.
There are only a small number of issues that are controversial as far as the public, the government and scientists are concerned. The father of all issues, however, is the debate that revolves around the ethics of stem cell research. Stem cells can be defined as "those cells in an embryo that essentially give rise to the entire organism" (Capra, 1999).
The ethics of research involving fetuses or material derived from fetuses have been widely debated for over three decades, portrayed by its proponents as holding the key to scientific and medical breakthrough and by its opponents as devaluing the most basic form of human life. The latest chapter in this long saga involves the use of embryonic stem cells. Research in this field took a great leap forward in 1998, when the first successes in growing human stem cells in culture were reported independently by Drs. James Thomson and John Gearhart. According to the National Institutes of Health, embryonic stem cell research "promises...possible cures for many debilitating diseases and injuries, including Parkinson 's disease, diabetes, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, burns, and spinal cord injuries. The NIH believes the potential medical benefits of human pluripotent stem cell technology are compelling and worthy of pursuit in accordance with appropriate ethical standards (National Institutes of Health 2000). Research in this new and developing field has sparked controversy centered on the moral implications of destroying human embryos and poses several compelling ethical questions. Among them: Does life begin at fertilization, in the womb, or at birth? Might the destruction of a single human embryo be justified if it can alleviate the pain and suffering of many patients?
There is a debate over the ethics of stem cell research and many people on opposing sides of the issue are not aware of all aspects. In order to intelligently debate the legal and ethical issues regarding stem cell research, one must understand what stem cells are, the applications currently available, and the impact of the research. It is also important to understand the distinction between adult and embryonic stem cells before exploring their uses and impacts
Embryonic stem cell research has been a debated topic for many years now. After reading
One of the most controversial topics these days is Stem Cell Research. There seems to be a split opinion among societies about the research and whether it is socially and morally acceptable. As a society, we need to open our minds to the possibility of broadening our scientific horizons with stem cell research, and take the time to learn and understand whatever we can about it.
Abortion, gay marriage, and illegal immigration are all hot button topics currently being faced by Americans. As ardently as each side defends their stance on a controversial issue, an opposing side fights with equal diligence for the beliefs they feel should be valued by our nation. Perhaps nowhere is this battle more heated than in the fight over stem cell research. While supporters of this new field of science tout it’s potential to cure everything from blindness to paralysis, those against stem cell science liken the procedures used by scientists to murder. It is my intention to bring to light the positive benefits of stem cell research as well as counter the claims used by many Pro-life groups who believe the scientists driving this
Embryonic stem cell research can be easily defined. A stem is defined as something that is developed from. A cell is defined as a microscopic living organism. According to Dennis Hollinger, "Embryonic stem cell research uses from the embryo's inner cell mass that give rise to each of the human body's many different tissue types"(1). In our modern day society, stem cell research has become a controversial topic. Several people strongly oppose the idea of the research, but many are struggling for the continuance of the program. Embryonic stem cell research should be allowed to continue because it aids in the search of cures for diseases, offers an alternative to discarding unused embryos from in vitro fertilization, and is supported by the
The stem cell controversy has been going on for many years. The two basic controversies surrounding stem cell research is whether or not it is morally justifiable, and if stem cells will ever live up to the medical promises. Most of these controversies concern embryonic stem cells more than any other stem cells. Embryonic stem cells are unspecialized, but have the ability to divide and make specialized cells like muscles, nerves, and skin cells. These cells are found in the early stage of human development. When the human egg is fertilized by sperm and becomes a blastocyst, which is basically a cluster of stem cells, the harvesting for embryonic stem cells begins. In order to harvest the stem cells scientists basically destroy the blastocyst. The embryonic stem cell is an efficient treatment for a variety of diseases that affect many human beings. Those diseases include Parkinson’s, muscular dystrophy, heart diseases, diabetes, vision and hearing loss, or even spinal cord injury.
Stem cell research and engineering is a widely disputed topic that often divides people in science, ethics, and religion. In order to fully understand the controversy surrounding this area of scientific research and discovery, one must be informed as to what stem cells are. In the article, “Human Embryonic Stem Cells: Research, Ethics and Policy”, stem cells are described as “primitive cells with the capacity to divide and give rise to more identical stem cells or to specialize and from specific cells of somatic tissues” (Wert 672). Essentially, stem cells can potentially provide an unlimited supply of cells that could form some or all body cells. This ability to transform into different types or all types of cells depends of the type of stem cell, which can be divided into embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells (Bishop 1). Embryonic stem cells are extracted from preimplantation embryos and are pluripotent, meaning they possess the ability to form cells of all tissues in the adult human body. Adult stem cells, however, are limited to what tissues they can transform into.
Pro-lifers do not seem to have a problem with this. Their problem only seems to be with using the stem cells from these embryos for life saving research. Does not the need of the many, outweigh the need of the few? (Star Trek, The Wrath of Khan, 1982) This researcher believes that it does.
In the past decade, stem cell research has gained popularity in the biomedical field. Many scientists believe stem cells could be the breakthrough tool that is necessary to change the way we understand medicine. The same scientists feel stem cells, embryonic in particular, open the door for many opportunities to cure diseases that are otherwise known as incurable. However, the benefits of embryonic stem cell research do not outweigh the value of a life that never gets to begin. While there can be benefits to stem cell research, embryonic stem cell research is unethical because stem cells can be found in other places, the research is not always effective, and it ultimately destroys a human life.
According to Alenzi, “Stem cells are immature, unspecialized cells that their developmental direction has not yet been determined” (19929), and because they do not yet serve any meaningful purpose, stem cells are capable of becoming virtually any specialized cell in the body; they can become nerve cells, blood cells, skin cells, and just about any other cell you can think of.
Stem cell related diseases affect over 100 million americans (White). Right now, there are plenty of government funds for stem cell research, and if we continue on the same path as we are now, stem cell research should be successful; however, the ethics used for embryonic stem cell research are incomprehensibly horrific (Stem cell policy). If this continues to be funded, it could have answers to numerous major diseases, including why they are caused, prevention, and cures for the diseases. More scientific research, however, needs to go into more possible solutions, to find a more humane method of treating these diseases that pleases both sides of the stem cell research debate, for the solutions, now, are not very strong. Because stem