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Stem Cell Essay

1564 words - 6 pages

Stem Cell is an undifferentiated somatic cell that is capable of either division to give rise to daughter stem cells, or differentiating into any specialized cell type given the appropriate signals. Cultured stem cells are critical to the concept of therapeutic cloning. The benefits of embryonic stem cell research outweigh the moral costs because of the innumerable potential benefits it can provide to the medical community.There has been much recent debate about the merits, dangers, and nature of stem cell research. Some see in it the answer to every debilitating disease known to man, while others see it as a step away from human cloning. In this paper I will not show the readers my point of view, but I will give them the facts necessary to form their own opinions about one of the most divisive, complex, and potentially life-changing developments in history.Stem cells are cells that have the remarkable potential to develop into many different cell types in the body. Serving as a sort of repair system for the body, they can theoretically divide without limit to replenish other cells for as long as the person or animal is still alive. When a stem cell divides, each "daughter" cell has the potential to either remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function, such as a muscle cell, a red blood cell, or a brain cell. (Kocher 62)Recent scientists and researches show the huge benefit of using embryonic stem cell to hold potential cures for spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, cancer, Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, hundreds of rare immune system and genetic disorders and much more. Scientists see almost infinite value in the use of embryonic stem cell research to understand human development and the growth and treatment of diseases. (Kocher 16)Continuing to counter the dogma that once brain cells give out, they're gone forever; new evidence shows that newly created neurons may provide hope for treating a wide variety of disorders. Embryonic stem cells have been shown to restore movement after paralysis. And with genetic engineering, stem cells can act as sophisticated protein delivery systems. Scientists have used them to deliver GDNF, a factor to aid in the survival of neurons targeted by Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases. Another team, from university of California and university of Irving, has used them to seek and destroy brain tumor cells. And a Norwegian group has proved that even in adults, neural stem cells have the power to become functioning neurons. (Society For Neuroscience)The practical definition of a stem cell is the functional definition - the ability to regenerate tissue over a lifetime. For example, the gold standard test for a bone marrow or hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) is the ability to transplant one cell and save an individual without HSCs. In this case, a stem cell must be able to produce new blood cells and immune cells over a long term, demonstrating...

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