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Stem Cell Research: The Benefits Of Stem Cells

900 words - 4 pages

In Brazil 2009, there was an 18 year old boy that had half of his jaw and teeth removed because of a tumor. Scientists took some of his bone marrow and extracted the adult stem cells from it and formed an osteoblast, which is a bone forming cell. Six months after the osteoblast was injected, it started forming new bone material which filled the gaps (NIH Stem Cells). Stem cells could be a genius way to treat many diseases and disorders and it should be supported by everyone.
Stem cells get their name from the fact that they are basic cells that other cells develop from. They are capable of developing into a wide range of cells. Stem cells could potentially be used to grow new cells to replace the cells that were destroyed or damaged by age or disease, or the side effects of treating diseases. Once they change, they cannot be changed back. Stem cells can divide to create more cells before they start to change (Freedman 6).
There are two types of stem cells: adult and embryonic. Adult stem cells are produced in bone marrow in the arm and leg bones. They are more mature than embryonic stem cells, so they can’t change into as many types of cells (Freedman 8). Embryonic stem cells can be taken from leftover embryos at fertility clinics or from embryos from terminated pregnancies (Freedman 10). Scientists take the stem cells from early embryos and use them to create cells found in 200 different types of tissues (Freedman 8). There are also umbilical cord stem cells that can be obtained from the blood that comes out of umbilical cords (Freedman 9). They are less mature than adult stem cells but more mature than embryonic stem cells (Freedman 10).
There is a lot of research being done about stem cells today. Scientists try to figure out what tissues can be made from stem cells and how to reproduce the cells best. A lot of this research is done in vitro (out of the body) in labs. Learning how stem cells change into different cells can give us the ability to stimulate stem cells in labs to form tissue. It could lead us to being able to change stem cells in the body to specific cells (Freedman 12). Scientists need to know that all the stem cells completely change into the tissue to avoid negative side effects, like tumors, when the cells are implanted in patients. Scientists also try to experimentally treat diseases with no cure with stem cells by implanting them into animal models, like mice (Freedman 13).
Many different groups of people protest stem cell research. Some protesters say that getting stem cells from embryos amounts to killing a person to improve the life of...

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