Within the past few years, scientist have made several breakthroughs with Human Stem Cells. These breakthroughs have catapulted the issue of Stem cell research into the middle of a national debate. Most people have no problem with the research itself, however the source of the Stem cells (adult or human embryos) used in research is the primary cause of the debate.
Some people fell that destroying an embryo is comparable to murder, even if the research it promotes may help people with serious illnesses. Other believe that an embryo is not a person and therefore research on an embryo is the same as research on any other group of cells. While private companies are not baAnned from using human embryos as a source of stem cells, the U. S. government is debating whether or not to fund such research with taxpayer funds. I believe that the federal government should fund stem cell research.
Doctors now have three sources of stem cells available to them: bone marrow, mobilized bone marrow or peripheral blood, and umbilical cord blood. Bone marrow has traditionally been used as a source of stem cells, but research is proving that cord blood may be an excellent alternative source. Cord blood can be utilized for the treatment of many diseases, including leukemia, sickle cell anemia, and Hodgkin’s disease. The first successful cord blood transplant took place in 1988 when a newborn’s cord blood was used in a life saving stem cell transplant for her older brother . Named the Breakthrough of the year for 1999, human embryonic stem cell research may indeed have the potential to benefit many people who suffer from serious debilitating conditions. Because embryonic stem cells can develop into many different types of tissues, researchers hope these cells can replace tissues whose function has been lost as a result of injury or disease.
For example, someone with diabetes might be given a replacement of pancreatic cells that produce normal amounts of insulin. Similar treatments might be developed for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. This could potentially help the millions of people suffering from these degenerative diseases. Scientists have been injecting cells into the spinal cords of monkeys who have Lou Gehrig’s- like disease. The point of this new experiment is to find out if stem cells in human embryos and fetuses can regrow healthy neutrons.
If successful, it may be a way to treat Lou Gehrig’s in humans. If it works then the FDA may one day let scientist test on desperate patients. Public funding would help to speed up the process of this testing and form of therapy. Anti-abortion activists say that it is immoral to use the cells from discarded embryos from abortion clinics.
Both congress and President Bush say that taking cells from discarded embryos is wrong and should not be federally funded. The NIH says that they will only fund for research with already grown cells so that researchers never touch actual embryos. Even though congress and President Bush do not want funding for this scientists are eager to move forward with the testing. I personally believe that that federal funding should be available. Harvard researchers tested this on partially paralyzed mice who were dying and their life span dramatically increased. One of the researchers says, “Our job is to get the biology done.
If we do our job correctly the story will be so compelling the government and the population will see this is biologically effective…and a lot of the ethical issues will simply go away. We’re not going to have to keep going back and getting new embryos or fetuses. ”Not only does stem cell research aid in the advancement of disease, but it also helps with other medical problems. A patient suffering from sever burns could have embryos cloned using genetic material from his or her own cells. If the stem cells obtained from these cloned embryos could become skin cells, they would be identical to the patient and pose no risk of rejection.
This way burn patients wouldn’t have to go through the painful process of skin grafting. Replacing stem cells can even help with things as delicate as the eye. Replacing dead cells in the retina with new ones may.