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The Heated Debate Concerning Stem Cell Research

1274 words - 5 pages

Stem Cell Research

Extraordinary advances in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of human diseases is believed, by many experts, to lie behind the curtain of stem cell research. Very few other areas of research have received this much attention from the media, political leaders and various groups and organizations from around the nation. The responsiveness to this issue has been incredible because of the potential of these studies as well as the most controversial aspect of the research; the embryonic stem cell. This has much of the nation in an uproar because of ethical and moral views on the situation at hand. Many feel that embryos should be considered human beings and should not be destroyed for the causes of medical science. Therefore these groups and political figures are most definitely holding back the process of finding cures and helping to distract scientists from creating monumental medical advancements.

Stem cells can be found in all types of tissue throughout the body, such as bone marrow. But, the astonishing fact about embryonic stem cells is that they have the potential to develop into any type of tissue in the body. Also, these cells could be used to replace cells in the blood, instead of a typical blood transfusion. Furthermore, many scientists believe that these embryonic cells could be used to cure diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and even the onset of juvenile diabetes. Some sources even predict that AIDS might even be on the list of cures. Advocates of stem cell research hope these predictions become reality, but with limited funding, it could take years. On issue of funding and other stipulations President George W. Bush released this statement on August 9, 2001:

"As a result of private research, more than 60 genetically diverse stem cell lines
already exist. They were created from embryos that have already been destroyed, and
they have the ability to regenerate themselves indefinitely, creating ongoing
opportunities for research. I have concluded that we should allow federal funds to
be used for research on these existing stem cell lines, where the life and death
decision has already been made." (Vital Speeches of the Day)

He then goes on to say, "This year, your government will spend $250 million on this important research" (Vital Speeches of the Day). Two hundred and fifty million may seem like a significant amount but researchers believe it will take more money and more embryos to complete their studies at a more rapid rate. However, organizations such as the National Institutes of Health (N.I.H.) are privately funding with $256 million dollars this year because, "the 200-page report released by the agency stated that embryonic cells offer some key advantages over adult stem cells" (Southwick 21)

Embryonic stem cell research is not the only kind. Scientists have also looked into adult, umbilical cord, placental and animal to uncover...

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