The Ethics of Stem Cell Research

Topics: Stem cell, Embryonic stem cell, Cell Pages: 5 (1931 words) Published: July 25, 2013
The Ethics of Stem Cell Research
By
Aly Beall

English 102 F
Professor Stott
11 December 2012

Aly Beall
ENG 102 F
Professor Stott
Due Date: December 11, 2012

The Ethics of Stem Cell Research
Stem Cells are unspecified cells that have the capability to renew themselves through cell division. They can be made to become tissue or organ specified cells; for example they can be turned into muscle cells, red blood cells, or even brain cells. There is much disagreement on the ethics of stem cell research, such as abortion, cloning, and the fear of progression to Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. There are two different types of stem cells, embryonic and somatic. Somatic stem cells are “cells found in different tissues of the developed, adult organism that remain in an undifferentiated, or unspecialized, state” (Adult (or somatic) stem cell definition – ExpertGlossary”, Web). Somatic cells can renew themselves, but they are limited to cell types from the organ that the cell was originally from. Embryonic stem cells are “Cells obtained from an embryo in the blastula phase, when they are still only a few days old. Because they have only begun to differentiate, these cells have the capability of developing into any cell in the human body, a fact which makes them potentially important in medicine” ("Embryonic stem cell | Define Embryonic stem cell at Dictionary.com", Web). Think about a baby that has just been conceived. That group of cells, the blastocyst, will be able to turn into every different kind of cell that is needed to make a human baby. Stem cells can be used to cure many diseases that are in our world today. Stem cells can be used to cure spinal cord injuries, meaning it could help people who have become paralyzed from serious accidents. Stem cells could also cure people who have type one diabetes. Type one diabetes is when the immune system kills off the insulin-making pancreatic cells. Scientists have recently discovered that they could make the embryonic stem cell into an insulin-producing blood cell. The leading cause of death in the United States is Heart Disease. By rejecting stem cells into the heart muscle the heart cells can regenerate heart muscles that had been damaged by something like a heart attack. Parkinson’s disease is when neurons in the brain are destroyed causing speech problems, tremors, and stiffness. Stem cells can regenerate the neurons that were destroyed. Stem cells can also cure Alzheimer’s disease by renewing the brain cells that were lost that cause the person to have memory loss. Stem cells can also help those with Lou Gehrig's disease. People diagnosed with this are usually told they only have three to five years left to live because their body is attacking neurons in the brain and spinal cord that control muscle movement. Scientists believe they can make a cell that will restore the neurons and restore the person’s ability to move. With stem cells Scientists can rebuild the cartilage tissue and joints of people with Arthritis. Scientists are working on cures for blood diseases as well, one being Sickle Cell Anemia. Lastly, stem cells can be used to recreate organs. There are so many people who have organ failure and they are just put on a list. People wait years to receive organs and many people die in the waiting process. With Stem cells we can actually recreate an organ so that there is no more waiting (Lyon, Web). Since, somatic stem cells can only be renewed if they are from the original organ and embryonic stem cells are universal the more useful and helpful stem cell is embryonic. The major debate against embryonic stem cells is that it is killing a life. As I said earlier, embryonic stem cells appear right after an egg has been fertilized. In order to get the stem cells scientist must extract the inner mass of the fertilized egg which is where the stem cells are found. By doing so the embryo is destroyed. Many abortion opponents see it as a...

Cited: "Adult (or somatic) stem cell definition - ExpertGlossary." ExpertGlossary. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Dec. 2012.
Chadwick, Ruth F., H. ten Have, and Eric Mark Meslin. The SAGE handbook of health care ethics: core and emerging issues. Los Angeles: SAGE, 2011. Print.
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"Embryonic stem cell | Define Embryonic stem cell at Dictionary.com." Dictionary.com | Find the Meanings and Definitions of Words at Dictionary.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Dec. 2012.
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Lyon , Lindsay. "Stem Cells: 10 Diseases They May—or May Not—Cure - US News and World Report." Health News Articles - US News Health. USNews Health, 13 Mar. 2009. Web. 9 Dec. 2012.
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