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The Promise of Stem Cell for Solving Complex Medical Problems - Research Paper Example

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The discussion will attempt to address the primary question framed as follows: Could the stem cell research solve complex medical problems or not? So far, researchers have attempted to give a firm answer to that question through empirical research. …
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The Promise of Stem Cell Research for Solving Complex Medical Problems
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Download file to see previous pages It is evidently clear from the discussion that stem cell research might seem to be a catch-all solution to a myriad of clinical problems. If the public listens to certain corners of the bioethics field, stem cell research might seem to be a scientific solution that comes at a great cost to human life. Of course, most approaches to stem cells contain far more nuance than “for” and “against” embryonic cell research; however, it is a polarizing subject that is divisive even among researchers in the field. The purpose of this paper is to define some of the challenges—both ethical and scientific—posed to embryonic stem cell research, which includes looking at possible future directions for clinical practices, research agendas, and ethical systems that might oppose the use of embryonic stem cell lines. Overall, the “promise” of stem cell research includes not only the potential for benefiting mankind with novel kinds of treatment for painful and debilitating diseases, but also the potential for creating these treatments in ways that do not harm human dignity. First, a distinction should be drawn between embryonic and adult stem cells, particularly with regard to differences in their potentials to grow and regenerate tissues. Stem cells in general are a rare subset of primitive cells that, at the single-cell level, can self-renew as well as give rise to mature, differentiating daughter cells. According to the NIH, embryonic stem cells are grown easily in culture, while adult stem cells are rare in mature tissues. Accordingly, isolating these cells from an adult tissue is difficult, and methods to develop more cells in cell culture have not yet been developed. This distinction is significant insofar as large numbers of cells are needed for stem cell replacement therapies. In other words, adult stem cells cannot provide a sufficient level of coverage for stem cell research, let alone stem cell treatments on a public level. Therefore, stem cell research is normally biased toward the use of embryonic stem cells. Such stem cells are taken from embryos that are fertilized in vitro. The development of cells in a laboratory setting is known to scientists as “cell culture.” Embryonic stem cells are grown by transporting cells from a pre-implantation embryo into a culture environment that holds a nutrient-rich base known as a culture medium. Over the process of development, the cells divide and coat the surface of the dish into which they were transported. Once a cell line is developed, the original stem cells can produce millions or perhaps billions of embryonic stem cells for researchers to utilize in making discoveries and potentially treating diseases. Stem cells that proliferate in a cell culture of an extended period of time but have not differentiated into a specific kind of cell are known as “pluripotent” (meaning, literally, not constrained toward a specific developmental pathway). These cells are truly useful because they can be ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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