Stem Cell Research is a Vital Necessity for Medica

According to Christopher Reeve, the actor who played Superman and tragically became paralyzed, said, “The greatest good for the greatest number of people means allowing embryonic stem cell research, which has the potential to help 150 million Americans who suffer from serious or incurable diseases or disabilities” (Roleff 63). It is incredible how some of the smallest items like stem cells can have such a drastic impact on the world. Two types of these tiny cells are adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells. These stem cells are important and have unique opportunities. However, there are ethical issues with researching stem cells. Nevertheless, it is still important for stem cells to be researched. Because stem cell research is a vital necessity for medical advances and for the possible cures of numerous diseases, it should continue to be protected under U.S. law.
Stem cells do not have a definite job and can become almost any type of cell in the body (Genetic Science Learning Center). The two types of stem cells are adult and embryonic. Adult stem cells are called Multipotent, which are cells limited on the many types of cells it could become (Roleff 17). Embryonic stem cells are pluripotent, which are cells that can be developed into any type of cell (17).
Stem cells can be collected from various areas in the body. Areas like bone marrow, umbilical cord blood, placenta, brain, liver, and skin are where the adult stem cells are collected (7). Adult stem cells are used in clinical trials and have already successfully treated the ill (62). According to Tamara L. Roleff, “[Many] patients with over seventy types of diseases and injuries have benefited from the treatment using adult stem cells” (74).
Then again, embryonic stem cells do show more promise in treating and curing many more diseases than adult stem cells (Roleff 63). This is because, embryonic stem cells have the aptitude to be developed into whichever cell made in the human body (Human Embryo Experimentation 12). Embryonic stem cells come from a blastocyst, which is an embryo three to five days old (Stem Cell Basics: Introduction). The embryonic stem cells receive a signal which tells the cell to turn on certain genes and make new proteins to create the type of cell it will be (Genetic Science Learning Center).
Stem cell research generates important and unique opportunities offered in the medical community to create major scientific advances. Adult and embryonic stem cells have the potential to treat and cure diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, spinal cord injuries, stroke, burns, heart disease, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, muscle damage, diabetes, and some cancers (Stem Cell Basics: Introduction). In 2001, 3,000 Americans were killed every day by these diseases according to Shane Ham (Human Embryo Experimentation 67). Laboratory’s studying stem cells scientist gain information about the cells essential properties and what makes them different from specialized cells (Stem Cell Basics: Introduction). These stem cells are different than specialized cells because embryonic stem cells could possibly help create replacement cells. The replacement cells are created to replace many different kinds of tissues and organs, like the heart, liver, and pancreas (Brown). Adult stem cells treat leukemia, heart disease, stroke, and burns (Brown). In a test trail, seven patients who had spinal cord injuries went through a procedure. The procedure was that the doctor took out the patients nasal cells and injected them into the injured spinal cord. After this procedure all the patients regained some motor functions and sensation (Roleff 74).
An additional unique opportunity is that stem cell research can help prevent early developmental problems. Studying human embryonic cells can help scientist understand what happens in the first stages of development for preventing and treating birth defects, infertilities, and pregnancy losses (Human Embryo Experimentation 13). Terry Devitt said, “Screening drugs by testing them on cultured human embryonic stem cells could help reduce the risk of drug related birth defects” (13). Additionally, new medication can be tested for safety on differentiated cells made from human embryonic cell lines (Stem Cell Basics: Introduction). A handful of serious medical conditions such as cancer and birth defects occur, because abnormal cell division and differentiation (Stem Cell Basics: Introduction).
Embryonic stem cells are important to research, because embryonic stem cells growing organs would save thousands of lives every year. According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, “In 1997, about 56,000 people in the U.S. were waiting for organ transplants and about 4,000 died while waiting” (Wertz). Growing organs from human embryonic stem cells would help steer clear of the ethical problems coming from paying or legally pressuring families to allow use of the deceased organs (Wertz).
The Church believes taking away a potential human life of an embryo is immoral and inexcusable but adult stem cell research is sensible (Roleff 17). The Catholic religious views on human embryonic research is that embryos have immortal souls and are worthy of greater protection (Singer). Religious conservatives believe at conception the life begins, and destroying the embryo to compose stem cells is like murder (Roleff 64).
Regardless of what the Church believes embryonic stem cell research is protected by law. President Barack Obama issued the Executive Order, which removed obstructions to responsible scientific research involving human stem cells (Stem Cell Basics: Introduction). The law also states that the National Institute of Health, also known as the NIH, could fund embryonic stem cell research as long as the research is scientifically worthy and conducted responsibly effective (Stem Cell Basics: Introduction). The law went into effect on July 7, 2009 (Stem Cell Basics: Introduction).
The nations who support embryonic stem cell research only approve research on the human embryo up to fourteen days (Wertz). The embryo before fourteen days is preferably called a “pre-embryo” (Wertz). A “pre-embryo” that is three days old is called a blastocyst, which means it is not an embryo yet (Wertz). “Pre-embryos” have no possibility of feelings or pain (Wertz). According to David Holcberg and Alex Epstein, “The embryos are smaller than a grain of sand, and consist of at most a few hundred undifferentiated cells. They have no body or body parts. They do not see hear, feel, or think” (Human Embryo Experimentation 43).
The human embryos are donated from vitro fertilization (28). In fertility clinics the employees use vitro fertilization to ensure pregnancy, for the unfertile people, a large amount of eggs are fertilized which creates a surplus of embryos (28). The extra embryos are often destroyed at the fertility clinic, but with the couples informed consent they could donate the extra “pre-embryos” (Wertz). The researched “pre-embryos” will never be implanted in a woman’s uterus (Wertz). The embryo being inlayed into a woman’s uterus and “brought to term” is the only probability of a human being to be formed (Human Embryo Experimentation 43). Researching on embryonic stem cells taken from embryos and fetuses, that if not researched would be thrown away, does not cause chagrin to human life. It may even dignify life by helping to save many lives (Wertz).
In the end, “There is no reason to object to research conducted on a being that has no brain, consciousness, preferences of any kind, or capacity for suffering” (Singer). Several of the stem cell treatments have already successfully cured a few of the deadly diseases. Although, with more research there is a greater chance to change the numerous lives that are besieged with incurable diseases. Because stem cell research is so vital for medical advances and for possible cures of various diseases, it should continue to be protected under the Executive Order law. Besides, the lives of millions with these fatal diseases and injuries depend on stem cell research for the chance of having a longer fulfilled life.

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