Science is moving at such a rapid speed these days, between cloning, gene
therapy, miracle drugs, exotic therapies, etc. One of the most significant breakthroughs
came in November 1998, when two separate researchers successfully isolated stem
cells from human embryos and aborted fetuses. Stem cells are primordial cells of a
human organism, which are capable of becoming all or most of the 210 different kinds
of tissues in the human body. Stem cells have been defined as not fully differentiated
yet to be any particular type of tissue or cell. They range from totipotent, i.
e. ( the
early stages of the human embryo up to about 4 days after conception.) To pluripotent
I.e. (a bit older and therefore only capable of being some cells or tissues in the
body.) As in the 5-7 day blastocyst stage of the early embryo, with decreasing
capacity in later stages of fetal development and in human beings.
The impassioned hopes are that these stem cells can be used to great
advantages. The cautious fears are that innocent and vulnerable human beings are
destroyed, and needlessly so, in the process.
The debates are raging. Many people are confused about what stem cell research
really is, and wonder why all the fuss. There are several well documented and well-
articulated sources of information available on this issue already, so the following is a
brief overview of some of the major scientific, ethical, pros and cons.
For centuries humanity has been plagued with numerous diseases, such as the
black plague, Cancer, AIDS, and other diseases.
These horrific, dreaded diseases
have killed millions of people due to doctors or scientists not having a cure, but thanks
to a scientific and medical breakthrough these diseases can and will be a thing of the
past. With this new research scientists are hoping to gain important scientific
knowledge about embryonic development and its application to related fields; curing
debilitating diseases, e.g., Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, stroke, spinal cord
injuries, bone diseases, etc.; and screening drugs for pharmaceutical companies,
instead of having to rely on animal models.
In order to continue with these medical and scientific breakthroughs you have to
accept the right-to-life argument in its most extreme form.
Im talking about newly
formed embryos. These are not fetuses with tiny little waving hands and feet. These
are microscopic groupings of a few differentiated cells. There is nothing human about
them, except potential, and only if you choose to believe it, a soul. However, Bush is
blocking, stem cell research would not actually take the life of a single embryo.
Researchers would only use embryos that are being discarded anyway.
I understand that some people and pro lifers say that stem cell research is
murder. But I strongly fell that it is ethically acceptable – even morally required – to
destroy a few human beings in order to possibly benefit millions of patients. Besides,
these cells do not cause the same immuno-incompatibility problems after
transplantation as do adult stem cells from different patients. Further, these early cells
from human embryos and fetuses are MORE “totipotent” and “pluripotent” than adult
stem cells, and therefore they can be “coaxed” to become more different kinds of
tissues, and can last longer in culture awaiting use. Besides, these fetuses and left-
over IVF-produced human embryos are going to die anyway, so we might as well get
some good use out of them.1 Researchers believe that stem cells can mimic the
actions and activities
of nearly every other cell in the body.
Eventually, scientists hope to use
them to repair damaged hearts after heart attacks, regenerate livers
devastated by cirrhosis or viral disease, reconstruct damaged joints, or
seed the brain with fresh neurons to reverse the effects of Parkinson’s
and Lou Gehrig’s disease, according to the November issue of Technology
Review, a research magazine published by the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, or MIT. 2
Now for every good there is a bad, and with all this technology there has to be a
negative side, after all everything with medication and medical research has its side
effects, and thousands of people in the world feel that stem cell research is morally
and ethically wrong regardless of what stem cell research promises, as well as all the
side effects that come along with stem cell research. Here are just some of the side
effects or things that are wrong or unethical.
First, one minor complication is that use of human embryonic stem cells requires
lifelong use of drugs to .