Embryonic Stem Cell Research Pros and Cons List
Embryonic stem cells are derived from embryos that develop from eggs which have been fertilized in-vitro. These cells are then donated for purposes of research with the informed consent of the donors. The cells can then be grown and sub-cultured for many months. This is meant to ensure that the cells are capable of self-renewal and long-term growth. Specific techniques are then used to determine the presence of transcription factors that help turn genes on and off at the right time.
The embryonic stem cells in culture when grown under appropriate conditions can remain undifferentiated. However if the cells clump together they form embryoid bodies and begin to differentiate forming nerve cells, muscle cells, heart muscle cells, blood cells and any other type of muscle cell. When the scientists want to control the differentiation of the embryonic stem cells they can modify the cells by inserting specific genes, change the chemical composition of the culture medium or alter the surface of the culture dish.
The Pros and Cons of Stem Cell Research is a very debated issue among scientific researchers, religious groups, moral activist groups as well as governments. This is because it is a relatively new science which holds the medical treatments for many of the most debilitating diseases as well as disorders afflicting individuals today. However like new sciences, it has a potential to do harm and also provide benefits to the future generation’s wellbeing and health.
List Of Pros Of Embryonic Stem Cell Research
1. Due to scientists reliably directing the differentiation of the embryonic stem cells into specific cell types, they can be able to use the differentiated cells that result to treat certain diseases that require transplanting cells generated from human embryonic stem cells. These diseases include traumatic spinal cord injury, diabetes, Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy, vision and hearing loss as well as heart disease.
2. Stem cell research can also potentially in the future help to treat medical problems like Birth Defects, Parkinson’s Disease, Replace or Repair Damaged Organs, Alzheimer’s Disease and Spinal Cord Injuries. With the proper treatment of these diseases individuals will get significant social benefits and the society will have economic gains. This is because the diseases impact on the lives of many individuals reducing their economic impact in the society.
3. The embryonic stem cells are thought by researchers and most scientists to hold cures for multiple sclerosis, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease as well as numerous rare immune system and genetic disorders.
4. The stem cell research may be a treatment for many cancers because doctors will be able to remove the organs affected by cancer and then use the patient’s own stem cells to regrow their own organs. This can be done on the liver, pancreas and many other organs.
5. The stem cells therapy can also be a course of action which can be used to save the existing life.
6. The embryonic cells have the ability to cause reproduction of any other cells that are present in the body. The debate over the use of these cells for research has been raging between religious groups and scientists.
7. The embryonic stem cells are able to provide researchers with a greater advantage as compared to using adult stem cells because the embryonic cells are easier to isolate, identify and can be purified easily. Growing these stem cells is simpler as compared to the adult stem cells.
8. Since the embryonic cells used for research are usually harvested five to seven days after conception. The argument is that at this stage, the embryo cannot be assigned a personal identity because it is not developed enough. This is because it is just a mass of cells.
9. Using the embryonic stem cells also guarantees that the cells are free of genetic diseases unlike the adult cells which may have some genetic diseases and will therefore not be able to form a reliable cure.
10. The embryonic stem cells are usually undifferentiated cells and are effective in the treatment of certain diseases. This is because when introduced into a patient, they are able to migrate to the site of the damage then proliferate, and differentiate into new cells.
11. Stem cells can also be used to repair damaged tissues in a process known as regenerative medicine.
12. The embryonic stem cells can assist in the development of new blood vessels especially in diseased hearts. The unspecialized cells also have the potential to become a variety of cell types especially if grown with a certain type of cell. They therefore mature and become that type of cell.
13. The research will enable the development of an entirely new science which can be used in medicine to treat future as well as current diseases.
14. Spinal cord injuries will be able to be treated as a result of using stem cells which can regrow the damaged spinal cord.
15. There will not be any need for organ transplant because the stem cells can allow the regrowth of a person’s organs lost either through an accident, tissue damage or disease. This will make it easier for the recipient as the organ will come from their own DNA and therefore there will not be any risk of organ rejection or taking the debilitating immune suppressant medications.
List Of Cons Of Embryonic Stem Cell Research
1. The embryonic stem cell research is controversial because the cells are derived from human embryos and for them to be obtained the embryo must be disassembled. The component cells after the disassembling are then grown in culture.
2. It is believed that life begins at conception therefore the stem cells used for research should have a legal treatment and a status of human beings.
3. There is a deliberate misuse of terminology when it comes to defining stem cells. This is because the proponents of embryonic stem cell research use the term pluripotent which is meant to imply that embryonic stem cell cannot make the outer layer of the embryo that is called the trophoblast. However the stem cells that are emptied into the petri dish are able to reform the trophoblast and create an implantable embryo.
4. The embryonic stem cell is related to human cloning because an individual’s cells are duplicated to keep off illnesses and personal diseases, or the effects that occur from serious injury. This is the therapeutic form of cloning and begins using the same procedure as reproductive cloning. The goals of therapeutic cloning are to produce embryonic stem cells whereas the goal of reproductive cloning is to produce a baby.
5. Most people will not approve any use of public money to destroy human embryos in any type of medical research .
6. The cells used in the embryonic stem cell research are usually derailed from their natural course of development through a process of chemical manipulation so that they can become very specific tissue types to be used for treatment.
7. The human embryonic stem cells will require the use of drugs which is lifelong so as to prevent rejection of the tissue.
8. The embryonic stem cells can cause tumors due to rapid growth when injected into adults.
9. Some of the sufferers of Parkinson’s disease when given the fetal brain cells can have side effect like head jerking, writhing, constant chewing, twisting and arm-flailing.
10. The embryonic stem cell treatments may not work because the process of growing the stem cells has been in the laboratory and this may have some limitation. Before they can be used in any therapy they will therefore be made to go through a large number of divisions in cell culture procedures. These procedures may cause an accumulation of faults due to the divisions of the cells. These faults if not monitored well will be transferred to an individual causing severe consequences.
11. Adult stem cells should be used instead of the embryos because they can also be as versatile as the embryonic variety. When the adult stem cells are used which come from the patients themselves, there will be little danger of them being rejected.
12. It is seen as wrong by many proponents of the human embryonic stem cell research to protect the lives of a few unborn human beings and delay treatment to a much larger number of people suffering from debilitating and fatal diseases. However, it is not ethically right to pursue any health-related gain through unethical or immoral means like the taking of an innocent life. It is seen as wrong to also sacrifice the embryonic class of human beings in order to benefit another.
Finally, in contrast to the research on embryonic stem cells, the non-embryonic stem cell research has resulted in numerous clinical benefits to the patients. Patients suffering from a host of afflictions that include autoimmune diseases, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, cancer, anemia, immunodeficiency, blood and liver diseases, corneal damage, heart attack, as well as diabetes have experienced an improved function as a result of the administration of therapies that are derived from umbilical cord or adult blood stem cells.
The belief that non-embryonic stem cells are not able to differentiate into multiple cell types or to be sustained in a laboratory for an extended period of time which would render them less medically promising as compared to embryonic stem cells has repeatedly been challenged by results that suggest otherwise.