The Benefits of Stem Cell - Research Paper Example

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The Benefits of Stem Cell Research The much talked about and sought after controversial stem cell research and its application to therapeutics has gained momentum in the past few decades. This breakthrough in science is based on the simple principle of cellular regeneration…
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The Benefits of Stem Cell Research
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Download file to see previous pages Since stem cells are mostly embryonic in nature and are treated as a xenograft, the rate of an implant rejection by the body is not very rare. A high rate of differentiation of stem cells and their easy integration with the surrounding cell matrix has made this therapy very popular. Various clinical trials are in progress, ranging from the management of cancers- particularly in bone marrow regeneration, diabetes, neurology and cardiovascular complications, to name a few. Stem cell therapy was, and still is of promising importance in the chemotherapy of certain cancers. It is a well known fact that chemotherapeutic agents, being non selective in nature, destroy both, the tumorigenic as well as the healthy, viable cells. An immediate replenishment of these cells is required in order to maintain optimal bodily functions, and this could be brought about by stem cell intervention, wherein the cells are derived from the embryonic placenta. This is the underlying principle of a bone marrow transplant. The marrow from a healthy donor supplies the viable hematopoietic stem cells to an immunocompromised individual who has low levels of these cells, due to either radiation or chemotherapy (Gonez and Knight). In this paper, I would like to discuss how stem cell research and transplantation techniques could be extended to patients diagnosed with Type I diabetes, the benefits and advantages versus the drawbacks, and the ethical issues one has to address while resorting to stem cell therapy. Type-1 Diabetes: Type-1, Insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) or juvenile diabetes is an autoimmune disorder, in which the ?-cells of the islets of the Langerhans in the pancreas get affected or destroyed. As a result, the levels of insulin secreted are extremely low. Since this hormone plays the most important role in the uptake of the monosaccharide glucose by the cells, its depletion or absence results in high levels of circulating blood glucose. This condition is called hyperglycemia, and if blood glucose levels are unregulated for a prolonged period of time, could result in fatalities. Since this is an autoimmune disorder in which the cells damaged completely, the only possible therapy in management of this condition is by delivering insulin through external sources, via injections or pumps. Drugs, which act on the ? cells of the pancreas in Type 2 diabetes, will be ineffective in type 1 diabetics, due to the lack of functional cells. A pancreatic transplant is one of the methods of addressing this issue, however, a minimum of 4 donor pancreas from brain dead volunteers are required in order for the process to have some success (Zhao et al.). Since the likelihood and feasibility entails many variables, it is not one of the sought after processes aimed at therapy. Current research could thus be aimed at restoring functionality of the damaged pancreatic tissue by means of a stem cell intervention, which could gradually regenerate these cells to self-produce this hormone. Experimental studies demonstrate that xenografts, tissue stem cells and embryonic stem cells are considered as hot targets in aiming to treat this condition. Pancreatic cells have a complex stimulus-response mechanism, depending on a multitude of factors such as activation of ion channels, sensitization of peroxisome proliferator activated receptors, etc. Essentially, the 2 aspects that have to be taken into consideration are their capacity to synthesize and house insulin, and the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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