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Stem Cell Research

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Although a controversial topic in the medical field, research suggests stem cell research is advantageous because it can potentially treat life threatening diseases, repair failing organs, and be used to test new medicines. Human embryonic stem cells were first isolated in 1998 by Dr. James Thomson and his group at the University of Wisconsin. Adult stem cells are cells that are taken from a human being and are already differentiated, meaning that they can’t become another cell other than the cells from the tissue they were collected. Embryonic Stem cells have the ability to differentiate into any cell, whether it be neurons in the brain, to a skin graft. Scientists used to harvest stem cells by creating an embryo with donated eggs and sperm, but many disagreed with the method of aborting a life just for research purposes. So instead they decided to use the leftover embryos from in-vitro fertilization procedures (with donors consent). When in-vitro fertilization is performed, the eggs are fertilized in a petri dish in a medical lab. Embryos are formed, and only a few are actually used to try and create a baby. Most times, though, a few too many embryos will be created and not used. So they will be frozen and stored. So scientists thought that instead of creating an embryo just for its stem cells, they would use the ones already created but have no current use. The embryo cannot develop any further unless implanted into a uterus. The main reason for the controversy over stem cell research is that the embryos are ultimately destroyed after the stem cells are removed. Many religions believe that a human life is formed as soon as the sperm fertilizes the egg. They believe the destruction of the embryos to be akin to murder. ... ... middle of paper ... ...e heart, liver, or kidney’s and use the cells from them to test new drugs. If the cells react harshly to the medicine, then that would be an indicator that the drug is not ready for human trials. How drugs react to people with different genetic backgrounds would be discovered and would make it possible for personalized medicine. Personalized medicine would make it so pharmaceutical companies could produce medicine that are safe and successful for certain people. Scientists are working to better understand how a cell develops normally, so they can hopefully understand how the process takes a wrong turn and people end up with genetic diseases or congenial defects. It is impossible to see in a living patient, how a disease forms and then progresses at a cellular level. So, Scientists are working to identify how diseases develop and advance at a cellular level.