A topic of controversy that is being debated throughout families across America as well as in the legislature is the scientific discovery and usage of embryonic stem cell research. Human embryos provide stem cells, which can potentially cure numerous chronic diseases. Stem cell research affects both the embryos involved and the victims of disease who are strongly in need of stem cells. However, many believe that taking stem cells from human embryos is taking the life of another human being. Research on embryos in vitro fertilization clinics has already been approved and some argue for allowing embryos to be taken that are not yet in these in vitro clinics, since this will provide for a greater number of stem cells to be obtained for research. However, I am not addressing this issue or the problems regarding limited research and restricted funding, rather I am focusing on informing the opposition in hopes they may now view this issue in a different light. A vast majority of America still believes that this research is unethical and morally incorrect due to preconceived-often incorrect- notions about stem cell research. This is what I am attempting to change! Embryonic stem cell research should be accepted and understood to the full extent by a greater number of people because it has the potential to cure several chronic illnesses, specifically Juvenile Diabetes.
Juvenile Diabetes is classified as a disorder “in which the body has trouble regulating its blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels” (Type 1 Diabetes- What is Diabetes?). Juvenile Diabetes is the more severe type, because the body relies solely on the help of insulin to monitor the blood glucose levels. The immune system is weak in individuals with Type 1 Diabetes and cannot effectively protect the body from viruses or bacteria that a normal system would be able to protect. In addition, the immune system attacks beta cells in the pancreas, which is an issue because these cells produce insulin, the hormone that helps the body move glucose throughout the body to use it for energy. As a result, in a diabetic immune system, the pancreas in unable to produce insulin to move glucose around, so the glucose stays in the blood (“Type 1 Diabetes- What is Diabetes?”).
Type One- also known as Juvenile Diabetes- is much more common than the average person would dare to dream. According to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation “one in three Americans born in 2000 will develop diabetes” (“Key Issues”). Now, think of three people you know and then imagine one of them being diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes. Next, imagine this individual suffering from kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage, amputation, heart attack, [or a] stroke” (“Key Issues”). These are some of the realistic threats to his or her life that come with having Juvenile Diabetes. Not included in the list drafted by JDRF is the risk of a diabetic coma, which is more than just a threat. There is no need to research statistics for this fact- I have seen it with my own eyes in the form of my sister.
My family and I play a large role in finding successful embryonic stem cell research. In June of 2000, my younger sister was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes. This unfortunate event provided many consequences for both my sister and the rest of our family. However, one of the benefits this diagnosis brought to us was the connection to J.D.R.F. (JDRF). We work in cohorts with this foundation and all of the other families affected by Juvenile Diabetes; our mission is to find a cure. Embryonic stem cell research brings hope to everyone suffering or touched by this disease, and we have never been so close to finding a cure as we are now. The use of these stem cells can not only assist us in finding a cure for Juvenile Diabetes, but it can also provide a potential cure for certain types of cancer, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
Juvenile Diabetes is a life-threatening disease that