Stem Cell Research – Biotechnology Essay
Stem Cell Research – Biotechnology
The biotechnology being discussed is STEM CELL THERAPY. Using cells from a young embryo and implanting them in a patient’s body, people can recover diseased or dead cells. Stem cell research has the potential to save millions of lives, but has sparked much controversy and debate around the world.
There are many kinds of stem cells, including:
EMBRYONIC STEM CELLS, which come from a five to six-day-old embryo. They are able to form virtually any type of cell found in the human body.
EMBRYONIC GERM CELLS are part of the embryo of a human that will produce gametes (eggs or sperm).
ADULT STEM CELLS are cells that are unspecialised (undifferentiated) cells that are found among normal, specialised cells.
UMBILICAL CORD BLOOD STEM CELLS are used to treat many blood disorders and immune system conditions.
Stem cells are applied in medicine by being used as a treatment to help patients recover from illnesses and severe injuries.
Stem cell therapy involves taking cells from a donor, extracting the DNA from the cells, and inserting the cells into an egg. The egg grows in a laboratory, and after a few days, the stem cells are removed from the egg.
These stem cells are special because they can grow into any type of cell (e.g. skin, heart, blood, etc) given that they have the right conditions.
After the stem cells are extracted, the cells are then placed back into the person that donated them, so that the desirable outcome is achieved.
Stem cells are a great way of giving less-fortunate people another chance at a better life, but is it ethically right? Although stem cells can help us develop new treatment to help people, at what costs? Here are the PROS and CONS of stem cells:
Stem cells can be an advantage to the many less-fortunate people around the world, who have either been born with a defect in their bodies, or have been involved in an accident, leaving them with permanent injuries. Using stem cells gives people a second chance at life; to be a normal person again.
Another advantage of stem cell research is being able to test millions of drugs and medicine, without having to use animals or human testers. This requires a process of replicating the effect the drug has on a specific population of cells. This would tell if the drug is useful or troublesome.
The objection to embryonic stem cell research is that it involves the destruction of an embryo or foetus. For many people, this constitutes the destruction of a potential human, which is ethically and morally wrong. It conflicts with religious and moral beliefs from many people in our society. The main question we must ask is what actually constitutes the start of life for a human. Some say it is at the time of conception, while others say it is a 14-day embryo or even at the time of birth. This issue is highly controversial, and we must always consider all opinions and evaluate which option is better for the common good.
Another issue with stem cell therapy is the economical side of it. It is reported to cost over $20,000 for stem cell therapy, so not many people would be able to afford this treatment. This is because of the lack of donors. Without the necessary donors, the cost of stem cell therapy will remain very costly.
My information is reliable and accurate because I have used a variety of sources, most of which are government websites. Government websites are reliable because they must be approved so that all the information is accurate.
Overall, I would say that stem cell research is a step in the right direction. Although many may say that it is not ethically or morally right, I think that it should still be done as it has the potential to save millions of lives from debilitating illnesses.