Stem cell research

Essay by abouliabouleUniversity, Bachelor's July 2006

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The Government and Stem Cell Research

Medical research has brought great improvements to the world. Stem cell research may soon provide society with a means to combat diseases that have ravaged humans since humans have existed. Medical stem cell research has the possibility to become one of the biggest discoveries of modern medical science. Society can not ignore the profound possibility of such a discovery and let it go unnoticed. Stem cell research, while controversial, needs expanded financial and political support by the government.

The government should provide support to stem cell research because stem cells can help cure diseases. Stem cells are cells that have the ability to divide indefinitely and under right conditions have the ability to differentiate into other cell types of the human body. The three main sources of stem cells available: adult stem cells, embryonic stem cells, and cord blood stem cells; the most beneficial being embryonic stem cells (Wikipedia).

Embryonic stem cells are the only cells known to be pluripotent cells, meaning they are the only stem cells that can specialize into any human body tissue (Wikipedia). The National Institute of Health states "stem cells offer the possibility of a renewable source of replacement cells and tissues to treat a myriad of diseases, conditions, and disabilities including Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, spinal cord injury, stroke, burns, heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis" (National Institutes of Health). Because stem cells can treat certain diseases, the government should continue funding.

However, as beneficial as stem cells and the associated research may be, it raises severe moral issues. Currently, stem cells are taken from surplus in-vetro zygotes that are created when a person is artificially impregnated; typically ten or more embryos are created, while approximately four are used in the fertilization process. The remaining embryos...