Astem cell entails a generic cell that can indefinitely make severalother copies of itself. Stem cells produce cells that arespecialized, which can be used by certain body tissues. Stem cellsoccur in two types these include adult stem cells and embryonic stemcells. Adult stem cells relate to certain cells in the human body,which may include blood, muscle, skin, or intestines (ISSCR 1).Embryonic stem cells come from fetuses that have been aborted, aswell as eggs that have been fertilized. Since the advent of stem cellresearch, emphasis has been placed on developing organismsfrom one cell, as well as the replacement of damaged cells withother cells that can be considered as healthy (National Institute ofHealth 2).
Formany years, the debate on whether stem cell research should continuehas taken center stage, with some people supporting the idea of stemcell while others oppose such a move. In their arguments, theproponents and opponents of the idea cite both the benefits anddisadvantages of this form of biotechnology. Although the processesinvolved in stem cell research can be considered as unethical andimmoral to some extent, there is a lot of evidence to support thisissue. In this regard, therefore, this paper will argue in support ofstem cell research technology. A major reason embryonic stem cellresearch should be conducted is because it helps in curing medicalconditions that are terminal (ISSCR 3).
Researchhas found out that, through stem cell research, the stem cells of thepatients can be used in creating treatments that the immune system ofthe body cannot reject. Such treatments are instrumental inaddressing the health needs of the high number of people who sufferfrom illnesses such as spinal injuries, cancer, heart diseases, aswell as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson disease. Embryonic stem therapyhas proved useful in curing disease and this helps patients to stopusing antibiotics. With stem cell research, diabetes patients canstop using medications such as insulin. In addition, patientssuffering from spinal injuries can start walking again. The potentialof the research to cure illnesses can be cited as a vital reason stemcell technology ought to be supported. When such diseases are cured,it implies that human suffering will be alleviated (Seneca 4).
Stemcell research should be conducted since it represents and advancementin science and technology. Over the years, technology has experiencedsignificant advancement. This has also been the case in science. Inthe contemporary world, scientific advancements are central to thesurvival of human beings. People cannot do without science and thereis a need to make discoveries that will make human life easier eachday. Stem cell research presents the potential for scientific growthand development. Therefore, every nation should embrace thistechnology and governments have an obligation to provide funding toscholars who would wish to conduct scientific studies on stem cellresearch. Stem cell technology is also helpful as it is used in thescreening of new drugs. Moreover, stem cell research provides anavenue for scientists to conduct studies regarding normal growth inhuman fetuses. This has helped in the identification of birthdefects, and as a result, such defects have reduced considerably(Australasian Bioethics Information 1).
Proponentsargue that the ability of stem cell research to produce healthy cellsand replace damaged ones is enough proof that the technology shouldbe embraced. For example, the technology of stem cell can be of greatuse to patients who are suffering from multiple burns. Burn victimsexperience a lot of pain and their wounds may take a lot of time toheal, as a result of which they can become frustrated. Rather thandepending on tissues from donors, stem cells can be used in theproduction of healthy tissues, which are new and free from anyinfection. This also applies to other medical conditions like thetransplant of bone marrow where there is creation of blood cells thatare specialized with the use of stem cells (Seneca 7).
Stemcell research is also necessary because it provides cure for heartdiseases. All over the world, diseases of the heart cause manydeaths. Many people die of heart related illnesses, which cannot evenbe cured with the use of drugs. Research in stem cell technology hasfound that stem cells have the potential to cure cardiac diseases.Damaged tissues of the heart can be treated with the use of stemcells such as cardiac stem cells, adult bone marrow cells, as well asstem cells found in muscles. Other cells that have been found usefulin curing heart diseases include progenitor cells, as well as bloodcells in the umbilical cord. These cells are particularly usefulsince they help in the regeneration of damaged tissues in the heart.The injection of stem cells in patients of heart surgery has beenfound to improve cardiac functioning. Thus, it can be concluded thatheart stem cell research is necessary and should be part ofscientific activities. This is because it will reduce the number ofdeaths associated with heart diseases that affect a large populationof the world (Australasian Bioethics Information 2).
Peoplewho support stem cell research also argue that this form of researchcreates a platform through which medical practitioners can learn moreabout the human body. For instance, through the experimentsconducted, it becomes possible to gain a lot of knowledge about thefunctioning of the human body and develop mechanisms that can be usedto address dysfunctions. Doctors get to know the processes takingplace in the human body. As a result, they gain a lot ofexpertise on the appropriate treatment procedures to apply whentreating patients. Stem cell research can also be supported becauseit ensures that fetuses that could be aborted can be used forproductive purposes. In some cases, the fetuses used in stem cellresearch emanate from women who wanted to procure an abortion. Withthe technology, it is easy to derive useful cells fromthese fetuses instead of having them wasted (Australasian BioethicsInformation 3).
Thebenefits of stem cell research tend to outweigh the ethicalconsiderations. In as much as some people believe that it isnot ethical to carry out stem cell research, the benefitsderived from this scientific concept surpass the dangers involved.Although in the past scientist were believed to be unethical whileconducting stem cell research, the process has become more advancedand the necessary scientific standards are used nowadays. Theresearch does not cause discomfort to the subjects involved. Inaddition, before the technology is applied on humans, it is firstapplied to animals with the appropriate ethical standards beingfollowed. Somatic cells of human adults are genetically reprogrammedwhile conducting stem cell research, and this helps in addressing theethical and moral issues related to the use of human embryos(National Institute of Health 4).
Scientistswho support stem cell research also argue that the uniqueness of theembryonic cells gives them the ability to grown into any cell,especially in the bodies of humans. This implies that all types ofbody tissues that have been damaged can be repaired. Therefore, asingle stem cell has the potential to cure different illnesses thatmay be affecting the human body. Studies indicate that adult stemcells are advantageous since there are fewer risks to the donorsbecause they can be found in many body tissues. Moreover, there arevery low risks of diseases being passed on from the hosts. The use ofadult stem cells also upholds ethical standards as the embryo is notdestroyed (Australasian Bioethics Information 4).
Althoughthere are many arguments in support of stem cell research, there arepeople who oppose this scientific technology. The opponents of thetechnology argue that it is not morally right to destroy human lifewith the aim of saving another life. Opponents of stem celltechnology also argue that there is need to value an egg that hasalready been fertilized. Therefore, an egg should be taken care ofupon fertilization in the first weeks and no one has the mandate todestroy such an egg. This debate has generated heated opposition fromsome religions, which have vowed never to support stem cell research.Stem cell research can also be regarded as disadvantageous becausethere are many flaws in the scientific processes involved.For example, no scientific evidence proves that organs that canbe transplanted can be cloned (Knowles 3).
Therelationship that exists between stem cell research andhuman cloning has also contributed to the opposition of the move.Since the advent of stem cell research, there has not been a cleardistinction therapeutic and reproductive human cloning. Theprocedures involved in the two processes are similar and this hasmade it complicated to distinguish both terms. In addition, whiletherapeutic cloning aims at giving rise to embryonic cells that canbe used in treatment and research, reproductive cloning has the goalof producing babies. Therefore, the two processes are more or lessthe same, and this is what has contributed to objection of stem cellresearch.
Inconclusion, it is worth noting that stem cell research technology hasbeen used for a number of years. Numerous debates have come up todiscuss the benefits and disadvantages that accrue from the use ofstem cell technology. It is evident that stem cell research has manyadvantages than disadvantages. Therefore, governments should fundthis technology in order to enhance more research into the field ofstem cells. Through the use of stem cells, it is possible to cureillnesses such as diabetes, heart diseases, cancer, spinal injury, aswell as Parkinson’s disease, which have affected humans for a longtime. Stem cell research provides an avenue for the conduct ofresearch in the medical field this gives rise to drugs that can curediseases that seemed incurable in the past. Although stem cellresearch is beneficial, critics have argued that the processesinvolved in this technology do not take into consideration the moraland ethical standards of scientific research.
AustralasianBioethics Information. TheStem Cell Debate. Chatswood:Australasian Bioethics, 2013. Print.
InternationalSociety for (ISSCR). StemCell Facts. NewYork: national Academy of Science, 2007. Print.
Knowles,Lori. Religionand . Cambridge:MIT Press, 2000. Print.
NationalInstitute of health. StemCell Information.New York: John Wiley, 2006. Print.
Seneca,Joseph. TheEconomic Benefits of New jersey Stem Cell Initiative. NewJersey: Polity Press, 2005. Print.