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Stem Cell Research Essay

1625 words - 7 pages

Stem cells are a large focus of study in today's biomedical world. They are also a large focus in the world of ethics, politics and religion. It seems that for every statement praising the progress of stem cell research, there is an equally disturbing report proclaiming the lack of ethics demonstrated by such research. Stem cells have proven to have an endless possibility for medical advancement, however, at the same time, the method by which stem cells are derived (particularly embryonic), remains a morally divisive issue. The progress in stem cell studies and experimentation is inevitable. Eventually, each of us will need to become educated on this highly controversial topic and reach our ...view middle of the document...

Embryonic stem cells come from the embryo and have the potential to become any specialized cell types, (National Institute of Health, 2004). They have certain advantages over adult stem cells. Embryonic stem cells are easier to obtain because most of them come from in vitro fertilization. These stem cells are more flexible and "appear to have the potential to make any cell. They are also immortal; one embryonic stem cell line can potentially provide an endless supply of cells with defined characteristics," (Velazquez, n.d.)."Adult stem cells are stem cells found in adults and they typically generate the cell types in which they are found," (National Institute of Health, 2004). Adult stem cells have a stronger advantage than do embryonic stem cells. Adult stem cells usually come from umbilical cords, placentas amniotic fluids, bone marrow, liver and other various tissues and organs. Bone marrow and umbilical cord cells have recently been isolated, which can allow them to be as flexible as the embryonic type. These stem cells are of a higher quality and are more likely to take because the "recipient who receives the products of their own stem cells will not experience immune rejection," (Velazquez, n.d.). Another fact that most protestors argue is that adult stem cells do not cause any harm to the donor.Adult stem cells are more preferable than embryonic stem cells for multiple reasons. "Adult stem cells are a natural solution. They naturally exist in our bodies, and they provide a natural repair mechanism for the many tissues in our bodies, while embryonic stem cells derive from the early embryo and they can cause tumors and immune system reactions. Most importantly, adult stem cells have already been successfully used in human therapies. No therapies in humans have ever been successfully carried out using embryonic stem cells," (Velazquez, n.d.).Adult stem cells also have many disadvantages. Limited quantity is a huge drawback, as it is sometimes difficult to obtain these stem cells in large numbers. This is an important distinction between embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells because large numbers of cells are needed for stem cell replacement therapies. Adult stem cells may not live as long as embryonic stem cells if grown in culture. Adult stem cells are also not as flexible; it may be more difficult to reprogram them to form other tissue types (Velazquez, n.d.).Embryonic cells are the cells extracted from the inner cell mass of fertilized eggs after four or five days of growth. An egg is fertilized after coming in contact with sperm. The fertilized eggs are then put into a dish where they multiply. In the dish, embryonic stem cells must by provided the proper nutrients and environment required by the cell to survive. Cells are then placed in the womb, or womb-like environment, and if all goes as planned, they produce a living, breathing being. While the use of embryonic stem cells seems to be a medical breakthrough with the potential of...

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