Stem Cell Therapies are still one of those unresolved “gray area” medical researches that have been going on for over thirty years by now. Surely, almost everyone has heard of this term being bandied around by both sides of the ethical fence. However, it can really be quite confusing—particularly for us who are “newbies” to this issue—as to what to believe exactly. If you listen to just about any coffeehouse argument with regards to stem cell research, it seems like there is an awful lot of hyperbole that surrounds this subject, which is quite unusual for a field that is as calculating and as precise as stem cell research. So please allow us to “outline” the pros and cons, if you will, of stem cell research therapy.
Image source – howstuffworks.com
Stem cells are primarily known as formative cells. That means that they can split off with their daughter cells and these latter cell types can also give rise to other like it. It may be similar to cancer, because it also has the tendency to spread among the various tissues.
- But while the cell types in cancer completely overwhelms the body due to the overgrowth of its abnormal cell types, the purpose of stem cells are reparative in nature; they can reproduce quite quickly, but there is an assurance that the cells that they produce have the capacity to mature and, thus, function as normal cells in whatever tissue they may have been infused.
- Obviously, this can prove to be such a potential boon for any sufferer who has been diagnosed with a crippling and debilitating disease, particularly for those of the nervous system, where it is still impossible to regenerate neurons of massive quantities. Its proponents now say that for modern medicine to move forward, doctors and medical researchers everywhere have to take advantage of these obvious benefits that stem cell therapy provides.
- And thus, this is where the flipside of the ethical coin shows its other side: the process in which stem cells are “harvested”. Back then, it was only through the extraction of the adult bone marrow where stem cells can be properly derived. However, this process calls for healthy adults.
- And since the instrument used for extraction boasts a really huge needle, it only takes a single slip-up before the needle punctures something else, and that may lead to the destruction of the donor’s bone marrow itself. Thankfully, there’s now an alternative process where blood rich in stem cells can be extracted on the umbilical cord after the birth of the baby by the mother.
- Now, if you think that’s “controversial”, then check this out: there is another source of stem cells that have been blasted by critics ever since its “inception”, and that’s embryonic stem cell research.
- In a nutshell, this means that stem cells are extracted from the embryo when it is still considered as a blastocyst (which happens after the 8th day after fertilization). Even though its researchers still maintain that the embryo is still “undifferentiated” during this point, pro-life activists still point out that what these researchers are doing are still tantamount to murdering an innocent being.
Whatever your views may be, it is still important to know both facts of the argument before jumping into the middle of it. if you have any questions regarding the viability of stem cell research, you can always consult numerous medical journals or the daily paper.
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