Michael MakowskiCattieEnglish 1101Nov 9, 2017Argumentative Essay:Stem Cells Stemcell research is currently one of the most debated topics in the scientificcommunity. Before explaining the ethicaldebate on the study of stem cells, it may be helpful to provide some backgroundon what they are, why they are important, and why scientists are so interestedin them. Stem cells are able to develop into lots of different types ofcells. They are much more prominent in embryos, but are present in adultsas well. Also, in most tissues they act like an internal repair system,practically dividing without limit so that they can replenish other cells for aslong as the person or animal is alive.
When stem cells divide, every new cellcan potentially turn into another type of cell with a specialized function likea muscle cell, brain cell, or red blood cells; or they can remain a stemcell. There are two very unique and important characteristics thatdistinguish stem cells from regular cells. First, stem cells are notspecialized and are capable of renewing themselves through mitosis (celldivision), even if they have not been active for a long time. Also, under specificphysical or experimental conditions, they can be caused to transform intotissue-specific or organ-specific cells with specific functions. In mostorgans, like bone marrow and in the intestines, stem cells divide regularly sothat they can repair the organ by replacing and repairing deteriorated ordamaged tissue. However, in other organssuch as the heart and pancreas, stem cells do not divide regularly but musthave special conditions for stem cells to divide and repair.
There are many applications ofstem cell research in the medical field. They could provide treatment formany of our most devastating diseases and serious injuries. The research shows promise for developingcures for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, heart diseases, strokes,and type one diabetes. Many scientists are ecstatic with the fact thatthey may play a serious role in the future of cancer research andtreatment. Scientists are saying that stem cells may be the future ofmedical treatment. However, stem cells are not limited to curing a numberof diseases, they can also help treat and heal spinal cord injuries, and repairdamaged organs. Also, they have the potential to greatly reduce the risksinvolved with having organ transplants. Instead of receiving another person’sorgan that can be rejected by the patient’s body, you could have your own organgrown and then implanted into your body.
Stem cell research shows morepromise for advances to medical science than any other current research. Stem cells are essential in the growth ofembryotic organisms, but when the organism is born they lose the ability toproduce stem cells. To study stem cells scientists need samples and themost common place for a laboratory to get stem cells is from a fetus. Unfortunately, extracting stem cells from a fetus/embryo results in thedestruction of the organism. This has sparked a whole debate on theethicality of stem cell research. Scientists assure people that theembryos that they use for this process are either not able to live or are abortedby their parents. Many people believethat using a human fetus for research purposes, no matter the circumstances orthe potential for medical benefit, is unethical and immoral. The question should be centered on thebenefit the research could provide the living and the changes it could make toour society.
People opposing stem cellsresearch argue that the outcome or potential uses of the research could notpossibly justify the ethical issues of the work on aborted fetuses. Lots ofthe opposed argued, “A life is a life and that should never becompromised. A fertilized egg should be valued as a human life even if it is inits very first weeks. Destroying human life in the hopes of saving human lifeis not ethical.” People say that we should start developing moreethical ways of procuring stem cells (such as using adult stem cells) and haltstem cell research until such methods are developed. They also assume that the value of theresearch is flawed in that it will likely not produce the prominent real worldapplications that scientists propose.
Many scientists say that “Thebenefits of stem cell research have such a great outcome that they outweigh anyethical issues.” Meaning that the future results and applications ofthe research would be so great that it would over shadow the way that they hadto collect the samples cells from embryos. Some argue that “Ifsomeone is going to have an abortion, isn’t it better that we use it forsomething useful?” While it is true that adults possess stem cellsthemselves, it is not true that adult stem cells and embryotic stem cells servethe same purpose. Adult stem cells are not capable of nearly the sameapplications as embryotic stem cells. Also, a method for removing stemcells from an adult without destruction of the organism does not exist.
The purpose for most medicalresearch is the quest to support and prolong life. This is exactly the purpose of stem cellresearch. The use of embryonic stemcells is necessary to the success of the research. Considering the potential incredibleadvancements in the medical field, the ethical thing to do is to continue stemcell research.