Stem Cell Research Should Have More Government Funding
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Stem cell research should have more government funding
A stem cell can be defined as type of cell that can be found in many body tissues. Stem cells can develop into many different types of cells Magnus et al.()
Stem cells also serve as an internal repair system within the body where they divide without limitation in order to replenish other body cells. This happens as long as the individual is alive. When a stem cell is divided, the cell produced can remain as a stem cell or it can become another cell type with a specialized function like a brain cell, red blood cell, or muscle cell. Stem cells are unspecialized cells that have the capability to renew themselves through cell division. Stem cells can also be induced to become organ specific cells that have special functions within the body. This is how stem cells are distinguished from other cell types. In some body organs stem cells will divide regularly in order to replace damaged or worn out tissues in the bone marrow and gut. In the pancreas and heart, stem cells will only divide in case of special conditions. Stem cell research concentrates on two types of stem cells namely embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. Embryonic stem cells are mainly used for reproductive purposes through in vitro fertilization procedures. While adult stem cells can be used for bone marrow transplantation, spinal cord injury, end stage heart failure, and chronic limb ischemia.
Stem cell research has the potential to develop treatment for chronic diseases like diabetes, cerebral palsy, Parkinson's disease, heart failure, and heart diseases Liao, Li and Zhao ()
. In order to ascertain the importance of stem cells, there is need for scientific research and lab testing. The scientific tests are experimental and require funding from different governmental and non-governmental organizations. Funding from government has been faced with stiff resistance. This is because people view stem cell research form the embryonic stem cell research. They fail to notice that stem cell research also involves adult stem cells, which can be harvested without destroying any human life. Since embryonic stem cell was the first type of stem cell research it has been the main focus of debate in regards to stem cell research.
The problem of stem cell research funding
Stem cell research is controversial especially embryonic stem cell. This is because people view it as destroying a human embryo for the purposes of research Meyer ()
. People have argued that it destroys some form of human life and that is why they are against this form of research. Scientists on the other hand, have argued that they do not extract embryos direct, but rather they use embryos that have remained after in vitro fertilization. These embryos will never develop into a child, and they are kept in frozen storage. The left over embryos could be out into better use as there is no potential of them been used for fertilization and they would eventually be discarded, which would be the same as destroying a human embryo. With such diverse views in regards to stem cell research the government is at pains to explain why it should fund stem cell research.
The government funding of stem cell would be viewed as an endorsement to destroy human embryos by the citizens. The lack of knowledge in regards to this subject has led people to believe that it destroys a life. A human embryo has the potential to develop into a human being, but until the embryo is fertilized this would not be possible. There are hundreds of human embryos that have been left over after in vitro fertilization Salter ()
. These embryos will not be used by the parents since they have fulfilled their desire to have a child. The left over embryos serve no purpose in storage since they might eventually have to be destroyed as they cannot be used for any other purpose. Using the embryos for research would give them an opportunity to have a life and provide breakthrough treatments.
Embryonic stem cell research is viewed as been unethical and completely unnecessary. Arguing that the stem cells would be destroyed eventually brings the question of when does human life deserve protection and when does it begin. Human life if fully protected under the law and embryos that have the potential for life should also be enshrined in the same law Perry ()
. This is where the ethical question arises. Is it ethical to destroy a human life for the purposes of research? Destroying embryos since they are unwanted or are destined for destruction would be equated to destroying the life of the old, mentally retarded, or handicapped. This is because this people serve no purpose and they will eventually die due to their illnesses or old age. Embryos have life, and that is why they can be produced to give life. Therefore, destroying them is destroying a human life, and the government funding of such research would be considered an endorsement.
Funding for stem cell research by the government can be for adult stem cell research only, which has the potential to provide cures for some of the chronic diseases. The government can leave embryonic stem cell research to be funded by other organizations, and this would promote and increase the funding received from government for stem cell research Stabile ()
. This way the government would avoid all the ethical issues surrounding the issue of embryonic stem cell research. Waskey ()
posits that a majority of the opposing arguments for stem cell research are based on religion and the belief that life begins from inception. It should be noted that the embryos will never be used for fertilization as they are biological surpluses. Without technology, the embryos would not have existed, and it is only good if the embryos can be given another life purpose using technology. Restricting the research to only fertility purposes limits the embryos potential in medical advancement. This is what the people opposing need to understand. The main purpose for giving a child to couples that could not reproduce has already been fulfilled, and there is an opportunity to save more lives if the people opposing government funding could only allow for this research Heled ()
. People fail to understand that it was only possible to give unproductive parents a child because of research, and during this research there were embryos that were destroyed. The embryos were destroyed as research was ongoing. Using the same argument it is possible that with funding from government, the researchers can find cures for chronic diseases, or testing of medicines on the embryos.
Government funding for stem cell research
Embryos are not purposely created for the purposes of stem cell research, but rather for fertility clinics. The leftover embryos can then be used for stem cell research with authorization from the parents Svendsen and Koch ()
. This way instead of having to destroy the embryos they can be given another life or purpose. Using the embryos for stem cell research would assist in advancing the studies and trials. Using funding from the government would also promote scientists to remain independent and maintain moral conduct in their research. Stem cell research that is funded by the government would be forced to maintain ethical restrictions that have been enforced. The government would have the opportunity to set the guidelines and regulations that should be followed in stem cell research. The researchers would be forced to follow the guidelines since their research is federally funded. Failure to follow the guidelines would result in funding been withdrawn, and this would affect the research. Supporting the scientists would also demonstrate the government's willingness for medical advances for its citizens.
It is difficult to monitor the progress of research by the government if the research is funded by private organizations. If funding is solely received from private organizations, they would have vested interests that would go beyond treating diseases. This is because the organizations would want to recoup the funds they have spent on the research. The practices observed during the research would be dictated by the funding organization, which would mean that ethical considerations could be ignored. With the government fully funding the research, it would keep a close eye on the progress and monitor the research to ensure that ethical practices are observed throughout the research Salter and Salter ()
. The government could also establish laws or regulations that the researchers would have to adhere to in order to continue receiving funding from the government. If a government agency is charged with funding stem cell research, it would ensure that all the embryos used in the research…