KILLING ONE TO SAVE ANOTHER?
Stem cell therapy provides a life saving option.
What are stem cells?
Where do stem cells come from?
From conception in the womb, a human embryo relies on the flexibility of the stem cell to form into the complex being it is, with many organs. Stem cells are present all the way through adulthood, where they hide in niches local to their respective tissues or organs, prepared to replace nearby damaged cells. For example, when an injury arises in your body, stem cells are employed in the process of creating replacement cells for the injury.
The range of transformations that a stem cell may undergo decreases with age, a developing embryo's stem cell has more paths to embark, as opposed to stem cells in the niches of adult bodies, where they only activate to carry the functions of its local organ or tissue.
Stem cells employed in lifesaving therapies
These stem cells, whether in from an adult or baby, can provide treatment for a cancer-affected patient. When a patient has certain area of damage within the body, to the point where they cannot regenerate, stem cells from a donor can be employed to replace those damaged cells. However these methods may not fulfill the idea of "lifesaving".
Stem cells can be extracted from niches in the adult body, however one dangerous method of extracting such is extraction from the embryo, which essentially damages the embryo. The advantage of extraction of these transformer-cells from the new embryo over those in the adult body, is that stem cells may only specialize into a cell particular to the niche of the organ it resides in. However, when stem cells are extracted from an embryo, it is killed.