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Stem Cell - the Biggest Breakthroughs in Medical History?

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Stem cell - the biggest breakthroughs in medical history?


hroughout the years, medical research has brought to the world many great improvements: cures for numerous types of illnesses, pain medications, and an infinite number of things that have changed the way people live. One medical research breakthrough recently is stem cell research. Stem cell research could be one of the biggest breakthroughs in medical history. Although it could be the cure to a vast number of diseases, there are certain moral and ethical issues that come into play.

With most public issues, there are two sides to the study of human stem cells. However, to truly have an opinion, one has to understand what the study contains. The National Institute of Health says, "A stem cell is a cell that has the ability to divide for indefinite periods...under the right conditions, or given the right signals, stem cells can give rise to the many different cell types that make up the organism. That is, stem cells have the potential to develop into mature cells that have characteristics, shapes and specialized functions, such as heart cells, skin cells, or nerve cells". In simpler terms, scientists can reproduce certain types of cells that can be used to treat dying or malfunctioning organisms. The main argument supporting this is the study of stem cells has not been proven to cure any diseases or create stable human tissue.

With most controversial discoveries, the issue of ethics also comes into light. The statement from pro-life groups, "stem cell research cannot cure anything", comes the fact that stem cells derive from human embryos or fertilized eggs. This is what makes the issue so controversial. Some pro-life groups agree that no embryo should be wasted because life is started at conception. In other words, pro-life groups are saying that scientist are killing babies to do research on something that has not been proven to work.

Ethical issues that arise from stem cell research are solely based on where the stem cells are taken from. This is a reasonable argument supported by the fact the cells are taken from a living embryo, which is destroyed, after the cells are taken. In the early stages of stem cell research, all of the samples are taken from embryos that are stored at in vitro clinics. This can only be done if the donors give the scientist permission to study the



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