Stem Cells -- Ethics, Research, and Regulation Essay

Stem Cells -- Ethics, Research, and Regulation Essay

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Stem Cells -- Ethics, Research, and Regulation

I. Introduction:

“Embryonic stem cell research offers both great promise and great peril.”
- President George W. Bush, Aug. 9, 2001

Stem cell research is not new but only recently has it become widely known to the public because the benefits of the technology are coming closer to reality; the field of stem cell biology is advancing at an incredible pace with new discoveries being reported in scientific literature on a weekly basis. Scientists first announced a method of growing embryonic stem cells in a laboratory in 1981, but the cells were from a mouse. It wasn’t until five years ago that James Thomson (pictured to the leftP3) at the University of Wisconsin- Madison announced that he was able to isolate cells from the blastocyst of an early embryo.5 From research he gathered in the fields of applied reproductive biology and mouse embryology, he was able to develop the first human embryonic stem cell lines. At the same time as Mr. Thomson, John Gearhart (pictured to the rightP4)reported the first derivation of human embryonic germ cells from the primordial germ cells located inside the fetal gonadal tissue that is key in the development of eggs and sperm. Dr. Gearhart, working at Johns Hopkins University with other prominent stem cell researchers, was then able to develop pluripotent stem cell lines by isolating stem cells from early human embryos and grow them in culture. Most recent research is focusing on two types of stem cells: pluripotent cells and adult stem cells that have been in clinical use for use but just recently were discovered to be able to develop into cells that have many of the characteristics of neurons. But even with all the information known alrea...

... middle of paper ...

... the National Bioethics
Advisory Commission.

4. National Institutes of Health Online. 27 August 2001. National Institutes of Health

5. National Institutes of Health Online. September 2002. Stem Cell Primer.

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