Stem Cells - Biotechnology
The biotechnology being discussed is stem cell therapy. Using cells from a young embryo and implanting them in a patient's body, people can recover diseased or dead cells. Stem cell research has the potential to save millions of lives, but has sparked much controversy and debate around the world.
Embryonic stem cells, which come from a five to six-day-old embryo. They are able to form virtually any type of cell found in the human body.
Embryonic germ cells are part of the embryo of a human that will produce gametes (eggs or sperm).
Adult stem cells are cells that are unspecialised (undifferentiated) cells that are found among normal, specialised cells.
Umbilical cord blood stem cells are used to treat many blood disorders and immune system conditions.
Stem cells are applied in medicine by being used as a treatment to help patients recover from illnesses and severe injuries.
Stem cell therapy involves taking cells from a donor, extracting the DNA from the cells, and inserting the cells into an egg. The egg grows in a laboratory, and after a few days, the stem cells are removed from the egg.
These stem cells are special because they can grow into any type of cell (e.g. skin, heart, blood, etc) given that they have the right conditions.
After the stem cells are extracted, the cells are then placed back into the person that donated them, so that the desirable outcome is achieved.
Stem cells are a great way of giving less-fortunate people another chance at a better life, but is it ethically right? Although stem cells can help us develop new treatment to help people, at what costs? Here are the PROS and CONS of stem cells: