Imagine waking up from a tragic accident that left you paralyzed from the neck
down, would you have hope that you could ever recover? What if there was research
that the use of stem cells could lead to potential treatments and cures? According to the
National Institute of Health, stem cells in certain organs, have the ability to divide into
other cells that are used to “repair and replace worn out or damaged tissues” (NIH).
Although stem cell research raises ethical concerns, it should be legalized due to the
possibility of medical advancements and cures of numerous diseases.
Stem cell research benefits because it will help enlighten scientists’ knowledge in
the biology of human development which could be helpful to future findings. In “Stem
Cell Research and Applications” by Audrey Chapman, Ph.D., stem cells are stated to be
“unspecialized cells that are thought to be able to reproduce themselves indefinitely
and, under the right conditions, to develop into mature cells, e.g., nerve, skin, pancreas,
with specialized functions” (Chapman). They are different from normal cells because
they are unspecialized, meaning that they are not committed to a specific cell or tissues
function. Another thing stem cells can do that ordinary cells cannot do is divide for long
periods of time. If the stem cell divides and is still unspecialized, then the cells can
usually repair themselves. Also, if the stem cell becomes a specialized cell, it could
potentially become a number of different cell types.
There are three main types of stem cells. They are adult, umbilical cord, and
embryonic stem cells. Embryonic stem cells can become almost any cell type in the
body, and adult stem cells are restricted to the tissue from which they were taken from.
Adult stem cells are also harder to grow in cultures, where embryonic stem cells are
more plentiful in culture. Umbilical cord blood stem cells could be used to help treat
diseases that could potentially be cured through bone marrow transplants.
In addition, stem cell research offers hope to those who suffer daily from
Parkinson’s disease, neurological failures, cancer, and other medical problems.
There are billions of people worldwide who suffer from a wide range of diseases. Stem
cell research could be the key to finding cures for some of these diseases. Adult or
embryonic stem cells can be used to aid in finding cures. This could be done through
scientist researching and understanding why a certain gene may be faulty. According to
the National Institute of Health, scientist have already discovered “ways to treat
diseases like leukemia, lymphoma, and several inherited blood disorders by harvesting
hematopoietic stem cells or HSC’s” (NIH). Stem cells could potentially cure some
disease by either repairing the cell with faulty genes, or by multiplying as new
specialized cells without the genetic defect.
Above all, Stem cells have been tested on animals...