And perhaps most importantly of all, the UW researchers continue, stem cells "...provide our only window to the earliest stages of human development and, after differentiation, access to more specialized cells that could vastly improve our understanding of the onset of cell-based diseases, and perhaps ways to prevent them."
Among the diseases that may be able to be treated - and even cured - through stem cell research are Parkinson's Disease, Alzheimer's, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, spinal cord injuries, burns, and more. How many people could be helped, even relieved of enormous suffering, through successful stem cell science is unknown, but certainly there are millions who cry out for help.
Medical researchers highly value stem cells because they can develop into many types of human tissue," according to an article in the Washington Post (Babbington, 2004). Stem cells "...hold promise for treating spinal injuries among several other afflictions," Babbington explains. And where the controversy enters into the picture is the fact that some stem cells can be obtained from "adult tissues, but more versatile cells come from human embryos," embryos which are frozen and left over at fertility clinics.
Many researchers currently working on this science use stem cells "from embryos at an early stage of development, about five days after fertilization," Brainard writes. At five days "the embryo numbers only about 200 cells," and all of them are "capable of specializing into all of the cells that make up the body," including such key parts as brain neurons and heart muscle, Brainard explains.)
And so, if using human embryos is so controversial, why not take stem cells from adults? The UW Stem Cell Center answers that question by pointing out that currently, there are indeed a series of approaches in experimental stages "...that utilize mature stem cells (such as blood-forming cells, neuron-forming cells and cartilage-forming cells)." The problem though is that "...because adult cells are already specialized, their potential to regenerate damaged tissue is very limited."
For example: the only thing skin cells will become is skin, and cartilage cells only become more cartilage. "Adults do not have stem cells in many vital organs," the UW explanation continues, "so when those tissues are damaged, scar tissue develops. Only embryonic stem cells, which have the capacity to become any kind of human tissue, have the potential to repair vital organs."
Another shortcoming of adult stem cells is that they do not proliferate in culture like embryonic stem cells do. In fact, "adult stem cells are difficult to grow in the lab and their potential to reproduce diminishes with age." Hence, useful, functioning amounts of adult stem cells may prove to...
In one of their experiments, the scientists grew masses of stem cells in lab dishes, isolating those stem cells that "were spontaneously developing into heart cells," which they could detect because the stem cells morphing into heart cells "were pulsing in unison, as heart cells are apt to do."
The Israeli researchers then placed a mass of about a million human stem cells (about the size of the head of a pin) into a lab dish with heart cells from rats. At first, the cells of the rat species and of the human species "beat at different rates," but within 24 hours of being in the same lab dish, "the combined masses of cells coordinated their pulsing into a single rhythm."
What does this prove or portend for the use of stem cells? Could stem-driven heart cells assist in setting the pace of a heart in a live animal? To take their experiment a notch further, the team of scientists "threaded a probe into the hearts of 13 pigs," making a tiny burn in the area that regulates the beating of the pig's heart. That burn caused a severe (and permanent) slowing of the pig's hearts, mimicking the rhythm disorder that cause result from a heart attack in a human. Then the scientists "injected about 100,000 of their human embryo-derived heart [stem] cells" into the slowed-down pig's hearts, and soon 11 of the 13 burn-damaged pig's hearts "returned to faster heart rates," according to Weiss's report.
What does this prove? it's just a "proof of principle," said Gepstein, though it's not as though people will be lining up for "biological pacemakers" any time soon.
In a phone interview with an Alzheimer Association staff person named "Elizabeth" (they don't give last names, she said) she was asked if her organization supports stem cell research. "I will read to you the position of our national Board of Directors, which made this official position statement in June, 2004," she said. "In keeping with its mission to eliminate Alzheimer's disease, the Alzheimer's Association opposes any restriction or limitation on human stem cell research, provided that appropriate scientific review, and ethical and oversight guidelines are in place.'"
Babbington, Charles. "Issues Overview: Stem Cell Research." Washington Post, 14 Nov.
Brainard, Jeffery. "Stem-Cell Research Moves Forward." Chronicle of Higher Education (October 2004): 51-6.
Europe Intelligence Wire. "Embryonic Stem Cells Correct Congenital Heart Defect in Mouse Embryos; Can Signal Neighbor Cells to Repair." (October 2004).
Obesity, Fitness & Wellness Week. "First derivation of retinal cells from embryonic stem cells; may treat blindness." October 2004.
O'Donoghue, Keelin, Fisk, Nicholas M. "Potential Applications of Stem Cells: Part 1."
Biologist (2004): 51-3.
Stem Cell Information. "Executive Summary." The Official National Institutes of Health
Resources for Stem Cell Research. Available:
http://stemcells.nih.gov.index/asp. Accessed 15 Nov. 2004.
University of Wisconsin-Madison Research Center. "Embryonic Stem Cells." Available:
http://www.news.wisc.edu/packages/stemcells/facts.html. Accessed 30 March 2007.
Weiss, Rick. "Two Studies Bolster Stem Cells' Use in Fighting Disease." Washington
Post, 27 September 2004, p. A03.
World Disease Week. "Midbrain dopamine neurons were derived from embryonic stem cells." November 2004 p.…
A pre-embryo is the fertilized cell that has not yet been planted into the human host. Once the pre-embryo is implanted into the female host, it is assumed that it will grow and develop into a human being. The pre-embryo is not the same as the embryo, it is simply the raw material. A national bioethics committee has been assigned the duty of exploring these issues and making recommendations that
This is why it came as no surprise to the rest of the country when Proposition 71 was passed, in direct opposition to the policies of the Bush administration. Even California's governor, a Republican and Bush supporter, sided with Californians on the stem cell issue. The promise of freedom to research as they see fit and the funding to do so will likely draw more scientists to California, should
Stem Cell Research Should Have More Government Funding The topic argument "Stem cell research government funding." For paper, construct argument defending a claim policy. Remember argument based a claim policy, writer seeks solve a problem establish a problem exists, part argument entail claims fact 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
but, Cuomo continued, Bush's position "…remains a minority view" (Hurlbut, 822). Christine Todd Whitman, who served Bush as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency in Bush's first term (she served from January 2001 to May 2003), and was the first female governor of New Jersey, supported embryonic stem cell research. Whitman noted in her book that right after Bush was re-elected in 2004, Christian conservative organizer Phil Burress was heard
At this point it should be clear that there are no good reasons to oppose the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research and only good reasons for supporting. Opposition to the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research can only be justified by an appeal to unreasonable and arbitrary moral standards based not on logic, reason, or concern for human well-being, but rather on the dictates of outdated and
Stem Cell Research The Legal Argument and Analysis for Stem Cell Research Stem cell research is a new field of research that brings many ethical issues and considerations in which U.S. regulations have been mostly hostile while around the world, the response toward the research has been positive. What is the legal culture in which the U.S. finds itself regarding stem cell research? What are the ethical considerations involving our participation in