Essay Irr: Stem Cell Research

Submitted By lmcatino
Words: 2169
Pages: 9

Should stem cell research continue to be funded?
Medical perspective

Stem cells help in the creation of other cell types, which then can form into tissue and other body organs. Rather than surgery and medicine, these cells create a potentially new alternative method of restoring the human body to a healthy state. There are two forms of stem cells: embryonic and adult. Embryonic stem cells have no specialized functions and are pluripotent, which means they have the ability to develop into specialized cells that perform specific functions. Under specific conditions, these young and immature cells can develop into the desired target cell. They can only be found in embryos, umbilical chords, and amniotic fluid. In contrast, Murnaghan, who has a master’s degree in science, explains that adult stem cells are more restricted to molding into other cell types. In other words, they are less versatile. However, these cells have a better structure for reshaping and some are only active when there is injuring to a specific area. Medically, stem cell research can correlate with stem cell-centered therapies and organ creation, yet can cause unwanted defects and other serious adverse health effects. Stem cell research gives stem cell-based therapies the likelihood to succeed. Injuries can be cured by this therapy that treats the damaged area by introducing stem cells to the damaged tissue (Ladock). For example, when spinal chord nerve cells or pathways are damaged, stem cells can be injected around the wounded area. The new cells take on the functions of the damaged or dead cells by being introduced to many physical and chemical factors: Growth factors, cell culture substrate, co-culture environments, and signal inhibition. According to the website Let’s Talk Science, growth factors are “small molecules that target particular signaling pathways”. Therefore, certain molecules will cause the stem cell to send off specific signals, as the damaged nerve cells. Stem cells need a cell culture substrate, which is made up of proteins secreted by cells into the extracellular matrix, found around the outer area of cells. This substrate lies within co-culture environments. These environments contain other, already developed cells that can send the stem cells growth factors to differentiate. Lastly, to prevent stem cells that have already reached their target cell from differentiating into other cell types, signals are produced by inhibition growth factors. This allows the stem cell to remain at its cell type of interest (Let’s Talk Science). In short, stem cells adapt to the environment of the target cell type, such as nerve cells for spinal chord injuries. Scientists do not simply create the new cells and insert them into patients. They must test the cells and be certain that the stem cell has differentiated into its target specialized cell type. The scientists make sure that the stem cells behave, look like, and are just as safe as the aimed cell type. Stem cells help in the creation of other cell forms, which can form into tissue and other body organs. For example, two-year-old Hannah Warren who was born without a windpipe, received a trachea transplant. Her own stem cells were used to create the windpipe on an artificial scaffold. Because the organ was developed from her own cells, there was a lower chance of the girl’s body from rejecting the transplant. This nine-hour surgery was successful, however, Hannah died due to a second surgery. The actual windpipe that was created with her stem cells was not the reason of her death. In fact, her doctors claim that the artificial trachea worked perfectly and that her death was caused by “lung complications” (Johnson). Paolo Macchiarini, the same surgeon that performed Hannah’s surgery has performed other successful stem cell-grown windpipe transplants. First off, he succeeded in creating and transplanting Ciaran Finn-Lynch’s stem cell trachea. The boy is the first child to get this transplant and