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English 1101

Nov 9, 2017

Argumentative Essay:

Stem Cells

            Stem
cell research is currently one of the most debated topics in the scientific
community.  Before explaining the ethical
debate on the study of stem cells, it may be helpful to provide some background
on what they are, why they are important, and why scientists are so interested
in them.  Stem cells are able to develop into lots of different types of
cells.  They are much more prominent in embryos, but are present in adults
as well.  Also, in most tissues they act like an internal repair system,
practically dividing without limit so that they can replenish other cells for as
long as the person or animal is alive. When stem cells divide, every new cell
can potentially turn into another type of cell with a specialized function like
a muscle cell, brain cell, or red blood cells; or they can remain a stem
cell. There are two very unique and important characteristics that
distinguish stem cells from regular cells. First, stem cells are not
specialized and are capable of renewing themselves through mitosis (cell
division), even if they have not been active for a long time. Also, under specific
physical or experimental conditions, they can be caused to transform into
tissue-specific or organ-specific cells with specific functions. In most
organs, like bone marrow and in the intestines, stem cells divide regularly so
that they can repair the organ by replacing and repairing deteriorated or
damaged tissue.  However, in other organs
such as the heart and pancreas, stem cells do not divide regularly but must
have special conditions for stem cells to divide and repair.

There are many applications of
stem cell research in the medical field.  They could provide treatment for
many of our most devastating diseases and serious injuries.  The research shows promise for developing
cures for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, heart diseases, strokes,
and type one diabetes.  Many scientists are ecstatic with the fact that
they may play a serious role in the future of cancer research and
treatment.  Scientists are saying that stem cells may be the future of
medical treatment.  However, stem cells are not limited to curing a number
of diseases, they can also help treat and heal spinal cord injuries, and repair
damaged organs.  Also, they have the potential to greatly reduce the risks
involved with having organ transplants.  Instead of receiving another person’s
organ that can be rejected by the patient’s body, you could have your own organ
grown and then implanted into your body. 

Stem cell research shows more
promise for advances to medical science than any other current research.  Stem cells are essential in the growth of
embryotic organisms, but when the organism is born they lose the ability to
produce stem cells.  To study stem cells scientists need samples and the
most common place for a laboratory to get stem cells is from a fetus. 
Unfortunately, extracting stem cells from a fetus/embryo results in the
destruction of the organism.  This has sparked a whole debate on the
ethicality of stem cell research.  Scientists assure people that the
embryos that they use for this process are either not able to live or are aborted
by their parents.  Many people believe
that using a human fetus for research purposes, no matter the circumstances or
the potential for medical benefit, is unethical and immoral.   The question should be centered on the
benefit the research could provide the living and the changes it could make to
our society.  

People opposing stem cells
research argue that the outcome or potential uses of the research could not
possibly justify the ethical issues of the work on aborted fetuses.  Lots of
the opposed argued, “A life is a life and that should never be
compromised. A fertilized egg should be valued as a human life even if it is in
its very first weeks. Destroying human life in the hopes of saving human life
is not ethical.”  People say that we should start developing more
ethical ways of procuring stem cells (such as using adult stem cells) and halt
stem cell research until such methods are developed.  They also assume that the value of the
research is flawed in that it will likely not produce the prominent real world
applications that scientists propose.  

Many scientists say that “The
benefits of stem cell research have such a great outcome that they outweigh any
ethical issues.”  Meaning that the future results and applications of
the research would be so great that it would over shadow the way that they had
to collect the samples cells from embryos.  Some argue that “If
someone is going to have an abortion, isn’t it better that we use it for
something useful?”  While it is true that adults possess stem cells
themselves, it is not true that adult stem cells and embryotic stem cells serve
the same purpose.  Adult stem cells are not capable of nearly the same
applications as embryotic stem cells.  Also, a method for removing stem
cells from an adult without destruction of the organism does not exist. 

The purpose for most medical
research is the quest to support and prolong life.  This is exactly the purpose of stem cell
research.  The use of embryonic stem
cells is necessary to the success of the research.  Considering the potential incredible
advancements in the medical field, the ethical thing to do is to continue stem
cell research. 

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