Stem cell research has generated much media attention in the last decade. Stem cells are a specific type of cell in the human body that can develop in many different types of cell types during the early life growth (NIH, 2010). Stem cells are used today for the treatment of some diseases and scientists are hoping in the future it will be able to cure much more. At this point in the scientific research, stem cells have a limitless potential. Once it has been implanted in the living organism, the cell continues to divide without limit to replenish. When a stem cell divides it has the potential to be another stem cell or another type of cell, such as a muscle cell, blood cell or even brain cell. Scientist has found that stem cell can provide therapy for many diseases. Scientist needs time and money to continuously research how this cell functions and how to utilize its functions to cure diseases. Although many individuals believe that stem cell research is a very positive advancement in science, there are others who are against stem cell research. The concerns about stem cell research have slowed down advancement in the United States. In this paper I will discuss stem cell research legislation and legal issues.
Purpose of Stem Cell Research
Stem cell research has many benefits including understanding the human body, and treating diseases. Stem cell research with human embryonic stem cells has only been around since 1998, which was the birth of stem cell research ("Aaas policy brief:," 2010). Scientist believes that human embryonic stem cells potentially can cure and provide therapy for many of the world's most devastating diseases; however stem cell research still needs more time to better understand the use of stem cells for curing these types of diseases. There are only a few selected facilities in the United States that are allowed to conduct testing for embryonic stem cells. There are currently some clinical trials for spinal cord function diseases, utilizing embryonic stem cell. These clinical trials are extremely important for the advancement of stem cell research and cures for diseases. Currently stem cell research is used to treat many different types of diseases such as wide variety of leukemia, severe aplastic anemia, paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) and many other types of diseases. See table below for stem cell usage in 2005 in North America, that was taken from the National Marrow Donor.(National Marrow Donor, 2010).
There is a lot of concern about how stem cell can be used to create human embryos and these embryos would not be treated respectfully. Some groups and individuals are concerned that creating and destroying, discarding or harming embryos or fetuses must be illegal. Science is an amazing and power tool that we have in society; however science should have its limits. Many individuals are concerned that scientist would use stem cell research to learn how to engineer creating humans and this is a major ethical issue.
In 2007 the president George W. Busch gave direction on how stem cell research should be conducted (Federal Register, 2007). Former president Busch instructed that stem cell research "shall conduct and support research on the isolation, derivation, production, and testing of stem cells that are capable of producing all or almost all of the cell types of the developing body and may result in improved understanding of or treatments for diseases and other adverse health conditions, but are derived without creating a human embryo for research purposes or destroying, discarding, or subjecting to harm a human embryo or fetus" (Federal Register, 2007). These directions were given so that there would be a clear understanding about stem cell research, the government showed its support for stem cell research pertaining to curing diseases however there will be no creating or dealing with human embryos.
In 2009 president Barack Obama (Federal Register, 2009) stated that the advances in stem cell research has the potential to lead better understanding, and treatment of many deadly diseases. President Obama supports stem cell and sees the benefits to Americans and humans from this scientific journey. There have been many new discoveries in stem cell and new therapies that have been developed from information gathered from stem cell research that are benefiting humankind. President Obama and the director of the NIH supports responsible scientific research of human stem cell research, including embryonic stem…