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Stem Cell - Research Paper Example

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Stem Cell Research Recent Progress: Stem cell researches are an important area in the study of biology that has been causing a lot of controversy in recent years. Although studying stem cells basically entails scientific concerns, it raises also a lot of other medical and moral questions…
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Download file to see previous pages Scientifically, stem cells can be defined as primitive unspecialized types of cells that can renew themselves and develop into more mature cells with specialized functions. They are fertilized eggs that are less than a week old. The typical scientific definition of stem cells describes them as "blank cells that can be turned into specialized cells such as heart cells, or any kind of tissue in the body, such as skin, muscle, or the brain" (Gupta). One of the distinguishing characteristics of stem cells is that they have the ability to renew themselves for long periods through the process of cell division. Also, stem cells can be converted to become cells with special functions, such as the lung cells, liver cells, the beating cells of the heart muscle or any other specialized cells (Rockville). There are primarily two types of them: embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. Each of these two types has its own functions and characteristics that are different from the other. Before studying stem cells of human beings, scientists made a lot of experiments on stem cells from mouse embryos for years. These experiments on the mouse embryos led to the successful discovery of the ways of isolating stem cells from human embryos and grow them in the laboratory. At the beginning, these human embryonic stem cells were created for infertility purposes through in vitro fertilization procedures. When they were no longer needed for that purpose, these stem cells are usually donated for research and experiment with the consent of the donor (Rockville). Due to the extreme importance of stem cells in organ transplantation and other medical purposes, it is ethical to conduct more research on stem cells, as long as these experiments do not distort any of the established religious beliefs. Objectives: Most scientists agree that stem cells have many medical advantages. Some scientists even regard stem cells as offering a great potential for the alleviation of human suffering, as they can provide cure for a number of diseases. Millions of people around the world suffer from diseases that may be treated more effectively with stem cells. These diseases include Alzheimer, Diabetes, Parkinson’s, and heart disease, and certain types of cancer (Takahashi et al.). In addition, stem cells can offer great help in many different areas of health and medical research. For example, studying stem cells helps us to understand the mechanism of their transformation into the various specialized cells that are essential for the existence of human beings. By becoming aware of the way they transform into other cells in the human body, scientists will gain better understanding of normal cell development, which will allow them to correct the errors in these sells, which cause the medical conditions from which human beings suffer. Besides, a third medical advantage of stem cells is that they provide an opportunity of making cells and tissues for medical therapies. In other words, stem cells can be used to replace those tissues or organs in the human body that are diseased or destroyed. Prior to the discovery of the stem cells technology, the only way to transplant a new organ in a human body was by donation from other persons. However, a new discovery about stem cells illuminated the scientists about the possibility of using these stem cells in transplantation. This use of stem cells in organ transplantation solves many of the problems caused by organ donation from oth ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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