Advantages and Disadvantages of Embryonic Stem Cells
In the event of a medical emergency, your doctor may turn to the assistance of embryonic stem cells. These cells can be quite useful to promote healing throughout the body and they are incredibly versatile. As with any medical treatment, there are advantages and disadvantages to take into consideration.
As previously mentioned, one of the largest benefits associated with embryonic stem cells is that they offer an array of medical possibilities that you can use to your advantage. Considering that these are undifferentiated cells, they can be used in relatively any place in your body. This allows them to have the possibility of curing hundreds of diseases when combined with other cells.
One of the largest diseases that the world is working diligently to find a cure for is cancer. With the use of embryonic stem cells, there is a high probability that cancer research will experience an ample amount of progress. Since these cells are similar to cancer cells, it allows doctors and researchers to find out more about cancer cells. Analyzing them will provide new insight into the biochemical and functional traits associated with cancer stem cells. This information will give researchers the opportunity to focus on finding a targeted treatment.
Method of Harvesting
The largest disadvantage associated with embryonic stem cells is where they are taken from. Human embryos must be destroyed in the process of collecting these cells which is what makes it particularly difficult for people to appreciate this method of research. For people who believe that human life begins once conception occurs, it can feel as if a life is being taken for the purpose of research. With that being said, there are many frozen embryos available for use and were acquired from couples who were unable to produce embryos on their own. Instead of throwing them away, they are donated to medical research as the couples may not want to have another child.
Lack of Understanding
Another disadvantage of embryonic stem cells is that researchers and doctors do not fully understand them and their potential. There are many characteristics that are hard to trace, such as the cells and their ability to divide at uncontrollable rates. This can cause tumors and tissues that are generally unwanted in the human body. With that being said, it is a serious risk until scientists can better understand their capabilities.