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Ethical And Beneficial Replacement For Embryonic Stem Cell Research

2600 words - 11 pages

Cells, “the building blocks of life”, comprise the smallest bacterium to the largest creature on earth (Sadava 77). Cells hold great importance in maintaining each and every living being and animal (Hole 52). One human body alone contains an estimated 75 trillion cells that all work together like a complex machine (Hole 51). The intricate and unique design of the cell only begins to encompass its untapped potential to impact human lives through the assistance of medical research. Research involving cells of all types demands the attention of scientists in search of new discoveries in medicine, but embryonic stem cell research sparks a controversy that only an alternative solution can resolve. Embryonic stem cell research should cease due to the fact that it eliminates a human being and research involving adult and IPS cells should supersede it because of the obvious benefits each provides those seeking medical treatment.
In 1655, Robert Hooke coined the term “cell” after observing that “a thin section of cork he was examining through a primitive microscope was made up of tiny chambers, like cells in a monastery” (Cummings 36). Later in 1855, German physician Rudolf Virchow “published his now famous aphorism ‘omnis cellula e cellula’”, meaning “every cell is the product of the division of a previously existing cell” (Schultz; Cummings 37). A cell “is a world unto itself”, and “to build a human, trillions of cells connect and interact, forming dynamic tissues, organs, and organ systems” (Hole 51). Describing a “typical” cell presents an impossible task because cells “exist in a variety of sizes, shapes, types, colors, and life spans” (Cummings 37; Hole 51). The complexity and sometimes indescribable behavior of cells has influenced scientists to focus their attention on two specific cell types: embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells.
The term “stem cells” refers to the “foundational cells for every organ and tissue” in the human body (ISSCR). “Stem cells are immature cells that have not yet developed into specialized cells” (“Stem Cell Research”). Located within the body from the point of conception through adulthood, these cells harbor the potential to generate different types of cells (“Stem Cell Research”). In 1909, Alexander A. Maximow, Russian physician, biologist, and scientist, introduced the concept of stem cells in his in-depth study of the “different cellular elements of blood” (Ho 7). Due to Maximow’s discoveries and further study, scientists found that stem cells possess two major properties (ISSCR). Firstly, they hold “the ability to self-renew, dividing in a way that makes copies of themselves” (ISSCR). Also, scientists discovered that stem cells “differentiate, giving rise to the mature types of cells that make up organs and tissues” (ISSCR). In addition, stem cells act as an “internal repair system, dividing essentially without limit to replenish other cells as long as the person or animal is still alive” (“Stem Cell...

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