One of the greatest issues in the world today is the threat of neurodegenerative diseases. These diseases are responsible for about 60,000 deaths per year, many of which are preceded by up to several years of excruciating pain and suffering. These, among other health issues such as heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes, are treatable with stem cell therapy.
With the myriad of diseases treatable with stem cell technology, it is surprising that more effort is not being put into stem cell research. Many labs do what they can to research the benefits of stem cell technology, but without government funding, all efforts to research these new medicines are crippled. Government funding is available, but only if a gauntlet of criteria is met. These include having stem cells that were derived before August 9th 2001, the embryo must have been created for reproductive purposes and was no longer needed, and it must have been a complete donation involving no money. Worldwide, only 71 derivations of stem cells meet these requirements, many of which aren’t even in the United States.
This is an issue I feel strongly about because my grandmother died in 1999 of ALS, a neurodegenerative disease that causes loss of control of muscles over time. It is possible that with the help of stem cell treatment she may have recovered. Unfortunately there are too many people who refuse to embrace technological advancement because their ethics blind them to the advantages of stem cell technology.
In conclusion, it is obvious that if more research were done in stem cells, many diseases that today there are simply no remedies to, may be curable. The fact that the United States government will not put more funding into stem cell research is truly a shame.
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