Hope in a Cell Essay examples

Submitted By danielrie
Words: 1471
Pages: 6

“Hope in a Cell”

How many of you remember the iconic, late 70’s, superhero movie, Superman and how inspirational the role of Christopher Reeve, whom played the main character had became to millions of viewers across the globe? Unfortunately, this amazing actor had been stroke with a tragic, horse riding accident and became paralyzed from the neck down. Being a quadriplegic, Reeve became a major supporter of one of the most controversial topics in modern biomedical medicine, the use of stem cells to help regenerate damaged tissue and fight incurable diseases. Stem cells exist in an undifferentiated state and this allows them to transform into whatever type of cell that surrounds them (Newton 5.) This will give doctors the ability to cure all diseases. The problem causing all of the controversy is to get the stem cells that are the most useful; they have to be taken at the embryonic stage. This means a potential fetus being killed in order for doctors to get the stem cells (Newton 6.) In other words it is similar to an abortion and this is why it is such a hot topic in medicine right now. How do you weigh killing of a fetus, a potential person, versus using the stem cells to save peoples lives that have terrible diseases, which are incurable any other way? The idea of using stem cells from the human body came from the fact that there are many animals that can regenerate limbs and other body parts they are missing. We as humans have the same ability but not to the measure that some animals have it, we all know that if we loose an arm we can’t just grow it back on our own. In the 1950’s research started into looking for cells that were able to regenerate and that is where bone marrow started to be used and has become a widely used practice in medicine (Haerens 10.) In the 1980’s were first able to see that the cells in the embryo were able to be kept alive and maintain their unique ability to transform into any variety of cell types such as nerves, muscle, bone and cartilage (Haerens 10-11.)
So what exactly is a stem cell you might be asking yourself? All cells that are in the human body, all 200 different types, can be traced back to the moment when the egg is fertilized by the sperm. (Newton 3.) When this happens there is a pool of stem cells in that early embryo, these are the most useful. There are many different types of stem cells that can be used to help heal patient’s injuries and diseases. The main one is the embryonic stem cell, which can regenerate any type of tissue in the human body. Also, there are adult stem cells, which are in fully developed humans, and blood stem cells, which come from the placenta and umbilical cord and transformer into different types of blood cells. Other than the embryonic cells all of the others are not as versatile and harder to find like bone marrow stem cells (Ballomo 24-25.) Since using embryonic stem cells is so controversial it has people on both sides with opposing viewpoints. The main opposition to using stem cells is the fact that once the egg and sperm have come together, it is at that point when the scientists take it and dismantle it thus killing it off. For those who have the opinion of being pro life this is just as bad as an abortion. Many consider it One of the well-known figures against stem cell research is former President George W. Bush. On July 19, 2006 he used his veto power to reject the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005. He said, “ If this bill were to become law, American taxpayers for the first time in our history would be compelled to fund the deliberate destruction of human embryos. Crossing this line would be a grave mistake and would needlessly encourage a conflict between science and ethics that can only do damage to both and harm our nation as a whole” (George W Bush, from Haugen and Musser 7.) Even with all of the fertility clinics that have embryos stored and in most cases more embryos than a couple needs to get…