When it comes to experimentation, it is always necessary for scientists to weight both the positive and the negative effects of a particular research or study. Most experiments are done in order to discover something new that can be very beneficial in man’s life or something that can make life easier to live in. However, some of these experiments require sacrifices in order to achieve the best result at the end. These sacrifices may include risking the lives of animals or in some cases, humans. Because of this, recognizing whether or not the positive effects of a particular research experiment outweigh significantly the negative effects is definitely an important thing to consider. One perfect example of this is the conduction of the stem cell research. But what is the stem cell research and what are the different stem cell pros and cons?
What are stem cells?
What are stem cells? Stems cells are considered to be crucial things for the development of organisms. These stem cells are non-specialized cells that are capable of creating other types of specific cells such as those in the blood, tissues or the muscles. These cells are found all over our body; however, stem cells are far more potent in a fetus compared to an adult human being. Some types of these stem cells do have the ability to create all the other cells in the body. Others are even capable of repairing or replacing the damaged or dysfunctional cells or tissues. These embryonic stem cells are developed once the female egg cell is fertilized by the sperm. This process usually lasts for 4 to 5 days.
What exactly is Stem Cell Research?
What is stem cell research? Stem cell research is the use for investigation of basic cells that develop organisms. These cells are commonly grown in laboratories wherein tests are carried out in order to identify and know more about the fundamental properties of the cells. Most sources of stem cells are from aborted fetuses; however, there are also other known sources for these. These sources include the placenta and the blood that is contained in the placenta. Another primary source of stem cells is through the blastocysts. Blastocysts are considered to be fertilized human eggs that are not implanted into a woman.
Despite the good intentions of stem cell research in man’s health, controversy and issue with regards to the process of conducting the experiment or study has developed into many debates with regards ethics. Up until these recent years, the study of embryonic stem cells is still being conducted wherein it involves the extraction of tissue samples from an aborted embryo in order to obtain a proper sample of material for study. This is usually done days prior to conception or between the 5th and the 9th week.
Nonetheless, researchers have also entertained more ethical study methods in conducting the stem cell research by using the Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells or the iPS. iPS are considered to be artificially derived from non-pluripotent cell such as those of adults somatic cells. This is considered to be a significant advancement in research since it allows the researchers or scientists to acquire pluripotent stem cells without the use of the embryos.
Issues about Stem Cell Research
There are actually two main issues surrounding the conduction of the stem cell research. These two points are the ways in which the gained knowledge is to be used as well as the method/s in obtaining the said knowledge. So what are the pros and cons when it comes to the usage of the knowledge acquired or gained from the study or research?
Use of Knowledge
Because of stem cell research, a wide range of medical conditions or problems can be treated and prevented. The cure for several diseases such as cancer and AIDS is possible to obtain with the results of this research. Some other diseases that can be treated with stem cell research includes Alzheimer’s diseases, Parkinson’s disease, birth defects, spinal cord injuries, heart diseases, strokes and diabetes, organ transplantation or the replacement or repair of damaged organs and a lot more.
Nevertheless, cons are also present when it comes to the usage of the knowledge from this research. Most of these disadvantages are based on spiritual or religious teachings that tell us not to meddle with human life and the sin in playing the role of God as the ultimate creator. This is also supported by the fact that advanced stem cell research could lead to the cloning of humans.
When it comes to the methods involved in conducting the research, pros and cons are also present. The pros of stem cell research before the year of 2007 include the outweighing of the benefits of stem cell experimentation over the ethical issues. Some have also stated that abortion is becoming common these days that is why using something useful from this unfortunate situation is something that can be considered better. The use of embryonic stem cells are said to be more useful due to its properties that can’t be found in adult stem cells. The research is said to be the key in finding great insights with regards to the basics of the body.
However, critics and anti-abortion activists are against the said research since the scientific work and experimentation on an innocent and aborted fetus does not justify the possible effects of the study. Some anti-stem cell research supporters conclude that a life is a life and no matter what the situation is, this should never be compromised. Some believe that a fertilized egg is already the beginning of human life. This means that the destruction of a human life in order to save another life in the future is something that cannot be considered ethical. Many also believe that there are still a lot of ways in preserving human life that can be made through ethical research or study. These methods are said to be available but still needs to be discovered.
These are just some of the common pros and cons when it comes to the conduction of the stem cell research. Even up to now, debates with regards to this issue is still overwhelming. Nonetheless, we should all remember that life is precious and the best way to give importance to it is through the providence of proper care in order prevent the occurrence of many diseases and health problems.