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    Intro to Stem Cell Research (693 words)

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    I. Introduction

    The desecration of life by use of embryonic stem cells is not necessary with alternatives such as adult, placenta, and umbilical stem cells available which hold promising results. Stem Cell Research definitely has shown its ability to benefit humanity, but at what lengths? At what cost? America along with the world continues to battle against embryonic stem cell research as it results in termination of a human life form. With a clear understanding of what stem cells are and how they are used the evidence clearly shows that alternative forms of stems cells can lead to the same promising results without arising any ethical concerns. The most well accepted definition of stem cells is that they are cells that can differentiate into many other different cells.

    Stem cells are responsible for renewing other cells and tissues within the human body. (Grompe 2) Stem cell research is the process of advancing our knowledge about how an organism develops from a single cell and how healthy cells replace damaged cells in adult organisms. This research and desired knowledge is admirable, however in 1988 this research took a turn for the worst when embryonic stem cell research began to emerge. Pluripotents cells, or as we know them embryonic stem cells, are considered the most versatile because these cells can form into any type of human cell, and this is why scientist see embryonic research necessary.

    Adult stem cells withhold this same potential which will be discussed further along. The negative side to the use of embryonic stem cells is that they are derived from early embryos, which is what many view as the beginning of life. These embryos are being destroyed in the process of research thus preventing life from running its natural course. The ethical controversies that arise in embryonic stem cell research are safety, resource allocation, and methods of harvesting cells.

    The safety of the existing cell lines is a concern because most of the cells have been grown in culture with the help of mouse stem cells which could lead to the transfer of dangerous animal viruses to humans. (3) The methods of harvesting the embryonic stem cells results in killing a living embryo, but some of these stem cells are produced by cloning. Cloning creates great fear in hearts and minds of the human race as the consequences of its use are unknown. The stem cell alternatives such as adult, placenta, and umbilical cells do not raise any ethical issues.

    The research of stem of stem cells is important. From all three stem cells (embryonic, adult, and umbilical cord) we hope to find cures for: diabetes and brain diseases such as Parkinsons. These cells offer hope to treating diseases such as cancer and Multiple Sclerosis. While the intentions to cure diseases are important this is not the only reason for stem cell research. It is also important for scientist to understand the development of cells and how each cell holds certain properties.

    This knowledge would increase the ability to utilize adult stem cells. If scientists could understand what within the cell causes it to develop into a particular function, we then could manipulate adult stem cells for the purpose need in each individual circumstance. It is also recorded that stem cell research may be useful for improvement of livestock and other animals. (Conan-Davies 1)II. BackgroundPoliticians have had to step into the topic of stem cell research as it is one of the leading controversial policies in America. The current policy that President Bush has put into effect for embryonic stem cell and alternative stem cell research is as follows: Federal Funds will only be used for research on existing stem cell lines that were derived: (1) with the informed consent of the donors; (2) from excess embryos created solely for reproductive purposes; and (3) without any financial inducements to the donors.

    No federal funds will be used for: (1) the derivation or use of stem cell lines derived from newly destroyed embryos; (2) The creation of any human embryos for research purposes; or (3) the cloning of human embryos for any purpose. (7) The president decided that from the 60 lines of stem cells that already exist from private funding, research .

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