Stem Cell Research Essay

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Dianna Croke Professor Labecca Jones English 112 17 April 2014 Saving Lives Not Taking Lives: The Importance of Stem Cell Research Studying whole complex structures and organisms in order to understand how to they work would be incredibly daunting. That is why it is preferred that the smaller concepts are understood before bigger ones are tackled. Much like any grand structure, the human body is complex in its engineering. Trying to understand this complexity by looking at the greater whole is not only daunting, it is pointless as well. The smallest part of any organism is cells. All living things are made up of cells. Cells are the reason for life, healing, and death. They hold the genetic materials that determine the functions as well as the failures of the body. Cell death is required for the continued health and eventual death of the organism it is a part of. Without understanding cells, understanding the body is not possible. Scientists and doctors have long understood the need to research cells in order to increase quality of living and heal ailments in the body. Cell research has led to them most important discovery in medicine: cell regeneration is responsible for healing. The quest for cell regenerative treatments has led the discovery of stem cells, arguably the holy grail of medicine. Since the mid 1800’s, scientists have had considered the possibilities regarding a these cells. As medicine has progressed, so have the possibilities. Stem cells are cells that have the potential to differentiate into other cells. Most empty slates, capable of becoming a specialized cell to fit any environment within the body. All stem cells are regenerative and can make endless copies of cells. Unlike other treatments, the use stem cell ... ... middle of paper ... ... discarded embryos. The discarded embryos are actually discarded blastocysts, which are a cluster of cells found soon after fertilization. These blastocysts are donated by couples undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF). Some of these may be poor-quality embryos that would otherwise be discarded. The resulting cells are considered to be “true” embryonic stem cells. The donated embryos are placed in a media preparation in special dishes and allowed to develop for a few days. At about the fifth day the embryo reaches the blastocyst stage and forms a ball of 100-200 cells. At this stage, ES cells are derived from the blastocyst’s inner cell mass. In some cases, the ES cells can be isolated even before the blastocyst stage. The use of discarded embryos is invokes strong emotions and beliefs in most people, and resulting in the questioning of ethics in this procedure.

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