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The Importance of Embryonic Stem Cell Research in the 21st Century

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The Importance Of Embryonic Stem Cell Research

In The 21st Century

When I think how much man and woman have discovered, conquered and created, I can't help but think of what else we can discover, conquer and create. We have come so far, think how much further we can go. Embryonic stem cell research is an outlet for the future of modern medicine. The field will revolutionize medicine and it must be properly funded in order to do so. Through research of stem cells we will gain a greater understanding of human development and hopefully find cures and treatments for some of the most debilitating conditions that plague man. Through two publications, Embryonic Stem Cell Research Is Beneficial published by the National Institutes of Health and Human and Stem Cell Research Is Ethical written by Lawrence S.B. Goldstein, I will show the potential of the stem cells and the benefits of research.

I will further prove the importance of embryonic stem cell research through the ethical

theory of Jeremy Bentham and Utilitarianism. I will also relate the works of David Hume

to the research of stem cells.

In order to understand the importance of stem cells and the related scientific,

medical, and ethical issues, it is absolutely essential to first clarify the terms and

definitions. Embryonic Stem Cell Research Is Beneficial was published by the National

Institutes of Health. The National Institutes of Health or NIH, is a branch of the U.S.

Department of Health and Human Services. The NIH is a biomedical research center that

seeks to discover new, effective medical treatments. The article defines as stem cell as,

A cell that has the potential to develop into many different cell types in the body (this type of stem cell is referred to as a plutiponic cell). Ð'...stem cells can theoretically divide without limit to replenish other cellsÐ'...When a stem cell divides, each new cell has the potential to either remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function, such as a muscle cell, a red blood cell, or a brain cell.Ð'â„-

Embryonic stem cell research is critical to the advancement of medicine. ES cells are pluripotent, they can give rise to many human cells, and have scores of potential medical applications. The article details why pluripotent stem cells are important to fundamental science, modern medicine, and human life. Scientists are trying to study the fundamental properties of stem cells for basic science. They hope to better understand human development, more precisely, cell differentiation and growth. Stem cell research could revolutionize how we develop and test drugs. Stem Cell Research is one of the most promising areas of biotechnology. The research of stem cells offers the prospect of developing new methods to repair or replace tissue or cells damaged by injury (ie. spinal cord injury) or disease (ie. Diabetes, Parkinson's, Heart Disease ect.). "Pluripotent stem cells, stimulated to develop into specialized cells, offer the possibility of a renewable source of replacement cells and tissueÐ'...".Ð'â„- The article cites two examples of how the generation of tissue could change the lives of millions.

The transplant of healthy heart muscle cells could provide new hope for patients with chronic heart disease whose hearts can no longer pump adequately. Preliminary work in mice and other animals has demonstrated that healthy heart muscle cells transplanted into the heart successfully repopulate the heart tissue and work together with the host cells. These experiments show that this type of transplantation is feasible. Ð'â„-

In the many individuals who suffer from Type I diabetes, the production of insulin by specialized pancreatic cells, called islet cells, is disrupted. There is evidence that transplantation of either the entire pancreas or isolated islet cells could mitigate the need for insulin injections. Islet cell lines derived from human pluripotent stem cells could be used for diabetes research and, ultimately, for transplantation. Ð'â„-

A core question pertaining to stem cell research and the United States is the allocation of federal funds. The current administration has deemed stem cell research "unethical" and has limited the allocation of federal funding and has introduced legislation on the issue. Lawrence Goldstein is an investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a professor in the division of cellular and molecular medicine and the department of pharmacology at the University of California in San Diego. Goldstein published an article entitled Human Stem Cell Research Is Ethical. In the article Goldstein addresses federal funding and ethical research. He reasons that federal support of human pluripotent stem cell research is both appropriate and ethical. Federal funding would require the scientific community and the government to work together.

The Federal Register Announcement National Institutes of Health Guidelines for Research Using Human Pluripotent Stem Cells, published August 25, 2000, was "superceded as it pertains to embryonic stem cell research" on November 14, 2001). However, Section II. B, titled "Utilization of Human Pluripotent Stem Cells Derived from Human Fetal Tissue," still governs human embryonic germ cell research. In addition, Section III, titled "Areas of Research Involving Human Pluripotent Stem Cells That Are Ineligible for NIH Funding," governs both human embryonic stem cell and human embryonic germ cell research.Ð'І

Goldstein also asses the potential harm in banning the research of embryonic stem cellsor banning federal funding. He says that a legislative ban on federal funding for research will not make it go away. By not funding the research the government is denying the "most capable sciecntists from participating in the research." Goldstein states that the denial of federal funds will delay the new treatments and/or cures and thus prolong the pain and suffering of the ill. In November of 2004, Lawrence Goldstein spoke on NPR's Talk of the Nation. He spoke of California's vote to fund stem cell research. This state initiative, Proposition 71, authorized the state to establish a new state medical research institute and to issue $3 billion in bonds to provide funding



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