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Stem Cell Research: The Study Of Stem Cells

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Joseph Winkelmann Mr. Sargent English 250 16 December 2013 Stem Cells Although stem cell research is a hot topic in politics and the scientific field as of late, it dates back to the 1950s. Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that can become any cell, such as but not limited to skin cells or brain cells. These cells are some of the first cells in the human body. Not only do they divide and form new cells rapidly in the embryonic stage, they can form any specialized cell in the human body, a process called differentiation. They can also form new stem cells, a process called self-renewal (Staff). Although the fear of unethical human cloning is present, the study of stem cells is necessary because it can improve society by testing new medications for safety and effectiveness, and by finding the cure of potentially fatal diseases, such as cancer. Stem cells can only be acquired from a few places. Embryonic stem cells are formed in the embryo just a few days after fertilization. By this point, there are about one hundred cells; this is called a blastocyst. Of those one hundred cells, ten to twenty are unspecialized stem cells (“Embryonic Stem Cells...”). These stem cells, known as pluripotent cells, can make every type of cell in the human body. The blastocyst is the only place that pluripotent cells can be found in the body. The long term goal of true embryonic pluripotent cells is to be used to repair diseased tissue; however; at this point in stem cell research, embryonic stem cells are being used for research purposes, specifically to determine how diseases originate and progress in the human body (Staff). Another type of stem cells is adult stem cells. Found in small quantities, these cells are located in the bone... ... middle of paper ... ...and cost over $6 million,” (“Product Development...”). Cutting out even one fourth or one third of drug and toxicity testing on animals would lead to multi-million dollar savings. There would also be savings in terms of energy and resources dedicated to studying experiments that result potentially irrelevant and dangerous results. Stem cell research is ethical and requires deeper experimentation. From increasing the safety of medicine to developing treatments that cure diseases, stem cells are the key to success. Stem cells can also be used to determine how diseases and injuries progress and affect certain cells within the body. Furthermore, using stem cells for research purposes will save money by cutting out some if not all animal testing, provide safer and better medications, as well as allow the allocation of saved resources to other research endeavors.
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