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Adult Stem Cells Should Replace Embryonic Ones.

1019 words - 4 pages

Does the thought of sickle cell, diabetes, or Parkinson's disease scare you? There have been numerous scientific and medical discoveries over the years. Extraordinary discoveries such as the polio vaccine or penicillin have prevented epidemics such as small pox and polio. Yet, as advanced, as we are today, the cures for these diseases are still elusive. Lately, no scientific discoveries have been more astounding than stem cell research. However, the research poses ethical issues because of its killing of the embryos to extract stem cells. Needless to say, the research community and activist groups have argued strenuously over the issue, while patients with these diseases are still suffering due to the lack of stem cell research that could potentially cures most diseases. A solution and an alternative to this problem are adult stem cells, which reside in the bone marrow but are also found circulating in blood (Perry 92). Adult stem cells should replace the embryonic ones because they can be readily available, behave in the same manner, and have better potential in treating diseases.Harvesting and storing embryos are an intricate and certainly expensive part of embryonic stem cell research. Most embryos are harvested at fertility clinics in the form of embryos created in vitro and not selected for implantation (Brainard 32). Other embryos are harvested from abortion activities. For the most part, embryos younger than fourteen days are the most preferred for stem cell research, making fertility clinics the most important source of embryos (32). While millions of dollars are already invested in creating the embryos, it would take millions more to store the embryos for future research. In contrast, adult stem cells are less complicated and expensive to obtain because it utilizes small samples of adult tissues to obtain an initial culture of a patient's own cells for expansion and subsequent implantation (Baksh, D 309). Opponents may argue that adult stem cells are more difficult than embryonic ones to grow in culture, and may not be able to produce the very large numbers of cells required to treat large numbers of patients. This is, however, a relatively trivial objection for at least two reasons. First, improving the production rate of cells in culture is a technical problem that science is quite likely to solve in the future. Indeed, significant progress has already been made towards increasing the rate of adult stem cells production. Second, treating an individual patient using cells derived from his or her own tissue would not require the large numbers of cells needed to treat large populations of patients and also protects the patient from viral, bacterial, or other contamination from another individual (Lorsodo 381).Another advantage of using adult stem cells is that it behaves in the same manner as the embryonic ones and is safer to use. Like embryonic stem cells, adult stem cells lack any specific structures that allow it to perform...

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