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Stem Cells: Gateway To Life Essay

1062 words - 5 pages

Imagine a world where cancer could be stopped, a better understanding of medical conditions like birth defects, people living instead of dying. Can this ever be achieved? There a way to achieve this with bio genetic material, stem cells. Stem cells can be used for a multitude of things. They are most commonly used type are bone marrow, the spinal cord, and human induced pluripotent cells. Through research I learned what stem cells are and how they work, how a stem cell procedure works, and the ever growing controversy of the use of stem cells.
Stem cells, by definition, are cells that “potential to develop into many different cell types in the body during early life and growth” (Frequently Asked Questions). The most commonly used stem cells are embryonic and non-embryonic. The embryonic cells are found in from embryos that have been in vitro fertilized. It is important to note that the cells are not embryos fertilized in women (Frequently Asked Questions). Non-embryonic cells are also called adult or somatic cells. These cells are undifferentiated, this means that the cells can multiply and be used in other parts of the body. They are found in many different parts of the body, which is another reason scientist refer to them as somatic cells. The discovery of the surplus of embryonic stem cells in in vitro embryos occurred in 1998 (Cardiovascular Research). This created a surge of interest in the topic of stem cells and lead to discoveries like adult stem cells have plasticity. This means that adult stem cells have the potential to be altered to be used for different organs and bodily systems (Stem cell).
There are a multitude of stem cell procedures. One procedure done is the creation of embryonic stem cells in a laboratory. This procedure is also called cell culture. These cells are created when a preimplantation stage of the embryo is placed in a cell dish filled with culture medium. Culture medium is a liquid that contains nutrients that nourish and support the cells so that they are able to divide through mitosis (Frequently Asked Questions). The cell dish then begins to grow the feeder layer. These new cells are stuck to the treated mouse embryonic stem cells at the bottom of the cell dish, the feeder layer then releases more nutrients into the culture medium. Another is the stem cell transplant, often called a bone marrow transplant. This procedure is either a blood transfusion or an injection of stem cells into the body (Definition). This procedure is also common for people undertaking in chemotherapy or radiation. It is usually used to kill cancerous cells and to speed the healing process after a larger dose of chemotherapy or radiation.
Stem cells and their multiple uses come with a largely publicized debate over their use. Many people argue over the ethical and moral obligations of the doctors who administer these treatments and who create these cells. With these new disputes more the issue of ethics occurs. Bioethics is the...

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