Stem Cell Research Essays

Submitted By MUSharif1
Words: 1481
Pages: 6

Mohammad Sharif
Professor Fadem
English 24
16 May 2013
The Stem Cells - (In vitro fertilization, Cloning) The cells that started it all were the cervical cancer cells that were taken from a black woman and took the name HeLa cells. This was the beginning of advances in medical history; one in particular was stem cell research. Stem cells are, “unspecialized cells that can develop into… tissues, organs, and organ systems” (Brandon 2813). These cells can become into any organs a person needs but, to acquire these cells is very controversial. In vitro fertilization is the process by which the egg is fertilized by the sperm outside the host body (Herrera 298). This type of fertilization is what allows a scientist to take the genome out of one cell and input another genome into the cell; which directly leads to cloning. Cloning is the, “process by which identical copies, or clones, of something are made” (Arshad 138). Stem cells can be acquired from adults or from embryos, that lead stem cells to be either multipotent, pluripotent, or totipotent. Multipotent stem cells are derived from adults and only develop into one or more tissues (Brandon 2812). Pluripotent stem cells have the capacity to develop into most of the different types of tissues in a body (Brandon 2812). Totipotent stem cells have the ability to differentiate into all the different types of cell types in the body (Brandon 2812). After the embryo is formed and is about three to five days old, “a group of thirty cells call the inner call mass constitutes the stem cells of the embryo” (Brandon 2813). These inner cells can be extracted and used to grow organs in a lab. Adult stem cells are another source for stem cells. They can be collected from, “umbilical cord, amniotic fluid, bone marrow, adipose tissue, brain and teeth” (Herrera 299). In the 1990’s scientists found stem cells in the brain, they agreed upon that those stem cells differentiate into three different major types of cells in a mature brain (Brandon 2815). This research allows scientists to find ways to use stem cells to help the general public. Diseases that affect the brain such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s can be cured or even eliminated. Stem cell research can be divided into three branches; one branch pursues to discover and understand the process of cellular differentiation, second branch is mainly focused on the potential uses of the stem cells in the pharmaceutical development, and the last branch deals with the use of stem cells in the treatment of diseases (Brandon 2814). All this research and all the good it can do is debated upon. Ethical, religious, and legal issues in public debates involving stem cells are because of a special kind of stem cell called the embryonic stem cells. These embryonic stem cells are usually obtained from excess embryos created by in vitro fertilization (William 133). Many issues are brought up in this conversation. Some believe that an embryo has the same moral status as a human being and is entitled to the same protection and therefore the death of an embryo equivalent to murder (William 134). Researchers try to point out that they only use embryos that are intended to be destroyed, and they don’t destroy embryos for the sake of stem cell research. Also people argue that embryonic stem cells don’t need to be used; adult stem cells can be used for research as well, but “most experts believe adult stem cells are not totipotent and therefore should not divert research funds from the more promising embryonic stem cells”(William 134). Another concern has been raised, “that the transfer of human cells into the developing brain of laboratory animals could result in an animal capable of human experience and therefore with moral status comparable to a human” (William 134) although most neuroscientists consider this to be unlikely. Ethics always plays a large part of any research but this is a special case in which any moves that are made from scientists