stem cells

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Embryonic stem cells (ES cells) serve as important research tools for many disciplines of science. These cells are capable of providing treatment for numerous genetic diseases, physical traumas, and degenerative conditions. Furthermore, ES cells are superior to adult stem cells in many instances, and have a wide range of possible uses in treatments in comparison to other lines of stem cells. Finally, embryos are not equivalent to human life; they only have the potential for becoming life, and the benefit of embryonic stem cells outweighs the cost. Embryonic stem cells are derived from the inner cell mass of a developing blastocyst. ES cells are both pluripotent and self-renewing. Pluripotency refers to the ES cell’s ability to differentiate into any type of cell or tissue except cells that form a placenta or embryo (Fritsch et al., 2008; Young, 2011). Self-renewal is the process where stem cells divide to make more copies of themselves (Young, 2011). Since these cells are capable of differentiating into nearly all cell types, they serve as imperative research tools for the improved development of treatments and therapies for a vast number of diseases and conditions. Adult stem cells are undifferentiated cells, which are found throughout the human body after development. These cells multiply and divide in an effort to replenish any dying cells or damaged tissues in the body. These cells are multipotent, meaning they can differentiate into multiple, but limited cell types (Fritsch et al., 2008). Another type of stem cell that is of particular interest is induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells). These are pluripotent stem cells that are derived from adult cells, the adult cells are essentially reprogrammed using four specific g... ... middle of paper ... ...that ES cells for therapeutic purposes can trigger host immune rejections (Yee, 2010). This is true, however this does not mean that ES cells are of no use to us, this argument only further exemplifies the point that we need to be continuing stem cell research using a variety of stem cell lines. In summary, ES cell research is of great importance to the future of science. ES cell research provides us with a multitude of potential treatments or even cures for numerous diseases. ES cells have more treatment opportunities in comparison to adult stem cells, and even have uses that iPS cells cannot replace. Lastly, embryos are only a potential for human life, they do not hold the same value that a child or an adult’s life holds. With numerous embryos remaining unused and discarded due to fertility treatments, we are wasting valuable opportunities in ES cell research.
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