Stem Cells

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Stem cells are a large focus of study in today’s biomedical world. They are cells that exist in an undifferentiated state, and transform into differing tissue types depending on what the cells surrounding them are. The different types of stem cells have the ability to repair many classes of damaged human tissue. However, only one type of stem cell promises to regenerate virtually any class of tissue. This is the highly controversial embryonic stem cell (ESC). Unfortunately, there is a dark side to the ESC. To obtain these cells from embryos will ultimately kill it. By definition, the acquisition of the ESC includes performing an abortion. This has created a great stir in the public world, where abortion is such a hot topic that politicians are hesitant to take either side. The embryonic stem cell is today’s Pandora’s Box. With this option now available in the medical world, everyone involved with this topic must make a difficult ethical decision: whether or not saving existing life is worth the termination of potential future life. As expected, there are two sides to the stem cell argument. One side is all in favor of their use, and the other side is dead-set against it. Stem cells come at a high price, yet this price is well worth the saved lives they can offer. In order to develop an opinion on whether or not stem cells should be used, one first must understand what they are and how they are used. Simply stated, the definition of a stem cell is an undifferentiated cell, meaning that it has no true function yet. However, all of the genes within a human stem cell have the potential to become other types of cells. The triggering mechanism for this is for the stem cells to be placed among specialized cells. Specialized cells include skin cells, muscle cells, or any other type of cell that has a specific function in the body. One of the most popular examples—and one of the most effective—is the neuron example. This was originally discovered at the University of Madison at Wisconsin in 1997. In the disease Multiple Scleroses, the myelin sheath protecting the neuron is missing. In the absence of myelin to protect the neuron, pain is a constant sensation. Researchers at UMW gathered a group of mice, which were genetically deficient of myelin. When the undifferentiated embryonic cells were implanted into their spines, the cells were able to sense that the myeli... ... middle of paper ... ...he medical world wishes to be able to repair damage within the human body. While it is true that obtaining stem cells destroys life, the benefit to the greater good greatly outweighs the destruction of potential life resulting from a fertilized egg. With an infinite supply of stem cells from just a few lines, all defective tissues can be replaced. Those working in the medical world can greatly improve the quality of human life. With stem cells used in general practice in hospitals, people will live longer, healthier, lives. Many diseases would be completely eradicated, and injuries would cease to be crippling to so many people. However, only when scientists and doctors fully understand how to implement the embryonic stem cell, can all this happen. With funding and support for just a handful more stem cell lines, the medical world could be supplied with an infinite number of stem cells to cure patients. When doctors have all of the lines they need, then they can cease destroying embryos to obtain the stem cells they require. The biological world and the field of stem cells specifically, require the support of the federal government as well as the people to make this possible.[/i]

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