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Stem Cell Research: Good Or Bad

Essay by   •  January 1, 2011  •  3,895 Words (16 Pages)  •  2,097 Views

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Introduction: Why Stem Cell Research?

Stem cell research is a major problem that the world is facing today. A majority of people are against stem cell research, but a larger majority of people are for stem cell research. Because of this large controversy, most of America is torn down the middle because there are many reasons to support stem cell research, but there are also some reasons to be against it. I really did not know much about stem cell research before this project and I did not know what side to support.

Throughout this project you will read about stem cells and what different groups, organizations, and people have to say about it. I found this relevant to include because in order to understand the opinions of people, you must first understand what their opinion is on. In this paper you will also read a testimony from Christopher Reeve, a spinal cord injury patient, whose life could have been affected deeply if he was still alive today. I have also included interviews with my father and my cousin, to get different opinions on stem cell research.

This paper talks about stem cells in a positive and negative way, in order to get both sides of the story. My reasons for including both sides was so that I could choose a side to support. I have been so perplexed to what was going about stem cell research before this project. I was torn between the middle because people were telling me to be against stem cell research and other people were telling me to support stem cell research. So, I decided that I would get a larger opinion from both sides and see which side I support.

At the completion of this project I hope to learn about stem cells, what they do, and where they come from. I also hope to learn about how stem cells can help humans . I hop that the completion of this project will give me a better understanding of stem cell research, so that I

would be able to choose the side that I support. Whether it be for or against stem cell research.

Part 1: An Understanding of Stem Cells and the Controversy

Many people don=t even know what stem cell research is and 90 percent of those people do not even know what stem cells are. There is no easy way of explaining all of stem cell research, so I am going to tell you how it is. Stem cell research begin with a frozen, fertilized human egg. These embryos are then thawed and grown in a petri dish for about five days. During this period of time, the embryo grows into a blastocyst, better known as the inner cell mass. It consists of about 100 stem cells. Scientists then extract cells from the center of the inner mass and use them to begin new cell lines. By extracting the cells, the embryo is destroyed. The newly created cell lines are now capable of infinite duplication and can convert into any type of cell.

Stem cells are cells whose biological signals have not yet been given. They have the property of being able to renew themselves and turn themselves into any cell in the human body, if they are given the special signal. It is this factor that makes stem cells so different from other cells. Stem cells do not et have their gene code defined, meaning that they are not yet one exact cell. For example, blood cells have the job of carrying oxygen to different parts of your body. Stem cells do not have a job yet. The thing that also makes stem cells so different is that they have all the genes that other cells have, but their genes are activated for the primary purpose of mitosis, the movement of water in and out of the cell, without a specialized tissue function. Daughter cells that come out of these stem cells are capable of differentiating into almost any kind of cell.

Stem cells are very special cells. The factor that makes them so special is the factor of self renewal. Also the factor of turning into whatever cell in the human body makes them so special. Stem cells offer the ability to regrow cells and tissue that were destroyed by disease aging processes. These stem cells are a great part of our future, but did you know that there are different kind of stem cells. The most promising, yet controversial stem cells are the embryonic stem cells, which come from the blastocyst. When these cells are tampered with, they can become one of the three types of tissue cells in the body. These tissues are the endoderm, tissue that lines the digestive tract. The ectoderm, the outermost layer of the tissue cells, and the mesoderm, the tissue that fills the space between the endoderm and ectoderm with cells such as muscle tissue. The other type of stem cell is the adult stem cells. These stem cells are much more advanced, but are very hard to find. They also can not change into any of the three tissue cells, but are able to make exact copies of themselves and can still help build up certain tissue. The catch with adult stem cells is that they can not stay without their gene code for a long time and this makes it very difficult for transplantations.

Stem cell research is also very beneficial to humans and even animals. If scientists succeed in making the stem cells become human tissue, they can help cure so many diseases. The stem cells could be turned into insulin secreting cells for diabetics, nervous system cells for people with Parkinson=s Disease, brain tissue for people with dementia, skin for burn victims, or even beating heart cells for people who have damaged hearts from heart attacks or strokes. Scientists and doctors say that research on embryonic stem cells can help find cures for better treatments for certain cancers, cystic fibrosis, organ failure, strokes, burns, and even HIV.

In order to help cure these disease, scientists must first get the stem cells and there are not

many places where you can get stem cells. Some of the places where stem cells come from bring up the large controversy with the government and the Catholic Church. There are two types of stem cells that can come from different places, they are multi potent stem cells and pluripotent stem cells. Multi potent stem cells are cells that will only turn into certain types of cells. Pluripotent stem cells are cells that can turn into any type of cell in the human body. Some multi potent stem cells can come from the blood, cornea, brain, skeletal muscle, skin, liver, pancreas, and gastrointestinal tract. A source of pluripotent stem cells is the umbilical cord of a new born baby. The other sources of pluripotent stem cells are what causes the controversy in the world today. These stem cells come from the deceased fetuses of abortion, five day old embryo, 6 week old fetal germ, and the fetal

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