Cellular Biology

Would Stem Cell Research be Responsible for Taking or Saving a Life

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"Would Stem Cell Research be Responsible for Taking or Saving a Life"
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Taking a life? Let's think clearly: Stem cells are cells coming from a fertilized ovum, a few days after fertilization. Just because there is a possibility that this 5 days embryo would have become a human being if it were in a woman's womb, doesn't mean that destroying this embryo is killing. We are talking about cells over here (20-100 cells). If societies were to decide if it is moral to kill a five days embryo, because it is "a living organism", they should decide first if it is moral to kill a cow for it's meat. A cow is also a living organism, but the cow suffers, and it consists of billions cells.

Let's make clear that I'm against abortion. An embryo in a woman's womb is really destined to become a baby, plus abortion will affect the woman's body and emotions. On the other hand embryos fertilized in a dish for the purpose of healing one person or for research, are not destined to become a baby, thus it is no killing.

Besides, stem cells, do not necessarily come from an embryo. Recent discoveries show that stem cells exist in a grown up human, called somatic stem cells, and they can be isolated for further research or healing incurable diseases, such as Parkinson, Alzheimer, paralysis or cardiac diseases. This means that we can isolate a somatic neural stem cell, induce it to multiply, and transplant it to the spine of an injured man. This way, there is a possibility that the transplanted cells will make the correct connections, and the man will be able to walk again. The same way, we can transplant those cells in the brain (striatum) and heal Parkinson (Parkinsonism is a result of neural degeneration). Applications include the healing of a heart as well by transplanting somatic cardiac stem cells and induce them to proliferate.

One great advantage of using stem cells is that they do not cause immunological side effects and rejections of the transplant, as the tissues come from the same person. Stem cells are the only hope for people suffering from incurable diseases. Scientists are trying to find a way to induce stem cells inside the body to proliferate, thus avoid any operating side effects.

To conclude, stem cells is a promising technique with many applications, and may be the only way to cure some diseases. They will definitely save lives in the future. So lets not condemn this amazing technology for the fear of wrong usage.

More about this author: George Efstathiou

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