Essay about Stem Cells

Submitted By tmykinger
Words: 692
Pages: 3

In the near future, stem cells could play a big role in treating disease and illnesses. Stem cells can potentially repair damaged cells, or create new cells, tissues, and organs. On August 9, 2001, President George Bush made this medical research possible by allowing funding for investigators and scientists. Embryonic stem cells are the building blocks of regenerative medicine, a promising branch of biotechnology. The focus is on using the ability of stem cells to restore damaged cells. Regenerative medicine, unlike other types of therapies, uses the body’s own cellular mechanisms to generate new cells and incorporate them into the body’s existing tissue. Regenerative medicine has the capability to restore deteriorating tissues and organs, instead of just treating the symptoms. The main objective of biotechnology is to manipulate and control what stem cells will grow into and what type of cell it will be. Once this goal is accomplished doctors will be able to cure numerous diseases and injuries that currently have no cure. Diseases such as Alzheimer’s could be cured with the reproduction of neurons in the brain and spinal cord injuries could be treated with the reproduction of nerve cells. There is also the potential to produce new heart muscle cells for those with congestive heart failure, diabetics can be helped by creating new cells that produce insulin, or the generation of hair follicles for people with types of hair loss. On a larger scale stem cells may have the capability to produce entire organs such as livers, kidneys, hearts and eyes. The possibilities are endless, but will require a major investment of time, energy and money. Although many of these theories are not readily available to us right now, there are some ways we can put stem cells to work today. One way we use stem cells now is with gene therapy, manipulating genes to cure diseases. This concept is the addition of new DNA into stem cells which enter the body and replace the gene that is damaged. One of the first successful uses of gene therapy was with five boys with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency. “In April 2002, French researchers announced that they had used genetically modified stem cells from bone marrow to treat five young boys with SCID. They reported that four of the boys developed normal immune systems and did not need drugs to maintain their health.” (Life Science, 8) However, stem cells have more potential than other medicines to cure certain types of cancer and diseases. Those who disagree with this and argue that is unethical believe that obtaining embryonic stem cells by destroying human embryos is morally wrong. This is not true because although embryonic stem cells show lots of promise for researchers, there