Stem Cell Research

Essay by rk0zzCollege, UndergraduateA, April 2010

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America Needs Federal Funding for Stem Cell Research

Crystal Kendall

Axia College of University of Phoenix


Throughout human civilization, science has challenged religion and repeatedly proved itself (e.g. Darwin, Copernicus). Sullivan (2005) stated, "As much as religious leaders want to push scientists to think more about the morality of their work, scientists are pushing religious leaders back to the basic tenets of their faiths, where they scramble to make sense of a world teetering on the razor's edge of irreversible change." Although the majority of Americans are Christian and share a view against cloning and stem cell research, these pioneering and potentially life giving medical technologies should be federally funded.

Stem cell research and its resultant treatment methods have immense potential to effect positively the lives of every human alive and yet to be born. These treatments could be man's greatest triumph, prolonging life or even conquering death itself.

How are such "miracles" possible? First one must understand what a stem cell is. Stem cells are able to change into any other type of cell. See Figure 1. There are three types of stem cell research in laboratories today. Embryonic stem cells are the ones described above and are found in all human embryos. Adult stem cells are acquired from human adults and are similar to embryonic stem cells in that they can produce many types of human cells. Finally, induced pluripotent stem cells are specially treated ordinary cells (e.g. skin cells) that are manipulated in such a way that they behave similarly to embryonic stem cells.

Figure 1. Diagram of a stem cell.

Note. From The National Academies, 2009.

Embryonic stem cell research is still relatively young and has not reached the human trial stage. Adult stem cell research...