Stem Cell Research

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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Every day thousands of people die of such devastating illnesses as heart decease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer?s decease and many others. Until recently there was not much hope to save the lives of these people. However, it all has changed by the discovery of stem cells and their promising abilities to cure these terrible deceases. It gave that hope to many patients and their families. But, the controversy of stem cell research stopped it from further development. Many people believe that stem cell research is immoral and unethical, others claim that it is important and necessary, because it can lead to cures against cancer and diabetes. I personally, agree with the latter group. I believe, that stem cell research has to be encouraged and funded appropriately.

To understand the debate over stem cell research, it is important to understand the science behind it. The term ?stem cell? describes the kind of cell that can give rise to multiple tissue types ( AAAS 13).

There are different sources for stem cells. Embryonic stem cells are derived from a very young embryo. This is also the most controversial type of stem cells, because the embryo dies after the stem cell is derived. The other type of stem cell is adult stem cell which is derived from mature tissue. However, the adult stem cells are of the least interest to scientist, because they can be differentiated to a much narrower range of tissues than embryonic stem cells ( AAAS 13).

The main medical application of embryonic stem cells is that it can differentiate to virtually any tissue. This ability can be used to treat different nervous system diseases, such as Alzheimer?s and Parkinson?s, where original motor nerve cells are lost or dead. In such cases embryonic stem cells can replace them ( AAAS 17).