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Stem Cell Research

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Stem Cell Research

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.

There are a lot of people who don't know exactly what Stem Cell Research is which contributes to why a lot of people seem so against it. Stem Cell Research can best be described as taking a stem cell, "a primitive type of cell that can be coaxed into developing into most of the 220 types of cells found in the human body"(Robinson). which is extracted from a human embryo and can be used to "help alleviate human suffering from certain diseases."(Robinson).

Adult stem cells can also be used, and although they are harder to control, they are almost equally effective. Due to the lack of political and social agreement for the use of embryonic stem cells, adult stem cells are making a quick comeback. Before more research was done on adult stem cells they were thought to have very little value in stem cell research, but due to the controversy over embryonic stem cells and the amount of money necessary for research on them, adult stem cells have been allowed more time and effort and are now "quickly making regenerative medicine a dramatic reality." (Healy). Adult stem cells "can be found in small amounts in every organ in the body."


"They won't be rejected and won't cause uncontrolled cell growth, and, if effective, are therefore preferred for patient therapy. Of particular interest are the ones that nest in the bone marrow; they have the ability to transform into almost any tissue in the body." (Healy).

Stem cell research is being performed to help alleviate certain medical conditions. Because stem cells are so adaptable "physicians can produce cells and tissues, tailored to a patient's genetic identity, that can treat a wide variety of human illnesses." (Travis). There is a large amount of diseases that can possibly be assuaged by stem cells; "devastating diseases like Parkinson's diabetes, heart failure, and Alzheimer's."(Healy). Not to mention that the "advance toward creating ever more complex tissues might yield a lifesaving patch for a moderately damaged heart or liver"(Soares) that would surely deplete the numbers of people who are putting their lives on a list and waiting for an organ donor.

There are a large amount of people, both political and social, that believe in the advancement of the research of stem cells. Research is now being done "in U.S. private labs and in both government and private labs in the UK, Japan, France, Australia, and other countries." (Robinson). "The former governor of California also signed a bill into a law that is the first law that permits stem cell research in the United States" (Robinson) which is now being followed up and executed by the current governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Nancy Reagan also supports stem cell research since her husband, former president Ronald Reagan died of Alzheimer's. "Nancy Reagan and all of her family, except for Michael Reagan, have mounted a campaign to encourage President Bush to relax restrictions on embryo stem cell research. Fifty-eight senators, almost all Democrats, sent a letter to President Bush, urging the same action." (Robinson).

Other big supporters of stem cell research are Senator Kerry and the widow of the late Christopher Reeve, Dana Reeve. Kerry is a very liberal Democrat and is known for his support on stem cell research; Dana Reeve is now giving her time to carry on her late husband's legacy of trying to win support on stem cell research. "Senator John Kerry accused President Bush of slowing scientific advancement after earning a special endorsement from the widow of actor Christopher Reeve." (Christopher Reeves...).

Most people who support Stem Cell Research do so because of the scientific and medical value it might have. However, there are some political and social people who do not support the idea of stem cell research. George Bush is the most influential of all non-supporters. "In Britain, the research of embryonic stem cells was authorized but Bush quickly halted it."(Robinson). Bush also "decided on 2001-AUG-9 to allow research to resume in government labs, but restricted researchers to use only 72 existing lines of stem cells. By 2003-MAY, most of these lines had become useless; some of the lines are genetically identical to others; only 11 remain available for research."(Robinson). Other non supporters include "a minority of pro-lifers and a majority of pro-life organizations."(Robinson). Most people who oppose stem cell research do so because of religious and moral beliefs.

With any big medical breakthrough, there is always the fear that it might fall into the wrong hands. There are many other countries that are also doing research on stem cells, and there are fears that hostility against the United States might lead to the leaking of this useful information to a person or persons who don't wish to use it for good reasons. There are fears that stem cell research could be used much like organs for organ donations are, as a business. We find now that there are many people who can buy and sell organs



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