Positive And Negative Attention On Stem Cell Research

987 words - 4 pages

As the healthcare field continues to grow and evolve at an accelerated rate, new and advanced technologies are sprouting up everyday and becoming increasingly commonplace. A technology that has garnered both positive and negative attention is transplanting stem cells. Hematopoietic stem cells refer to the body's blood forming blood cells (American Cancer Society, 2013). Here is some background information on these types of stem cells. These cells are young and immature.
Stem cells mostly live in the bone marrow (the spongy center of certain bones), where they divide to make new blood cells. Once blood cells mature, they leave the bone marrow and enter the bloodstream. A small number ...view middle of the document...

The ability to use stem cell transplantation as a possible cure has been debated among the medical and scientific community. This process of transplanting hematopoietic stem cells started in the 1950s and has continued to be developed further since this time. Gaining more insight into the biology of these stem cells has also helped advances in this transplantation technology. In order to fully understand how hematopoietic stem cells affect a damaged tissue area, in depth studies have been conducted using animal test subjects. An extensive and specific knowledge of the genetic makeup as well as the internal environmental cues that specify a cell's type, location, and interaction with neighboring cells (Atonic et al., 2013). Recent research has shown that stem cells can have a positive impact on damaged tissue but problems arise when it is not easy to see exactly which source of stem cells to use and what number of stem cells are needed for the damaged tissue area.
Stem cells have been beneficial to patients who have anemia. Anemia is the result of inadequate oxygen being supplied throughout the body by the red cells. The inability of the red cells to supply oxygen throughout the body could be caused by several reasons such as erythrocyte production being impaired resulting in major erythrocyte loss, traumatic hemorrhage, nutritional deficiency (inadequate iron intake), hereditary, infection, along with many other causes. Since stem cells can give rise to other cells that the body is in need of, a stem cell transplant can replenish an anemic patient with red cells to help supply enough oxygen throughout the body. The stem cell transplant is performed similar to a blood transfusion where a unit of stem cells is hooked up to the patient and given intravenously.
The stem cells that have garnered some negative publicity are from the body's embryos, which can be used in cloning. Some people have questioned the ethical nature of using these specific types of stem cells. Embryonic stem cells have been frowned upon because they have been...

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