The Stem Cell Debate
Haley H. Rachel W. Hunter S. Kaylie S.
Haley Hildenbrand, Kaylie Schranz, Hunter Stewart and Rachel Wegner
March 16, 2016
Stem Cells Editorial
Science is such a beautiful thing we have access to, it helps discover new things, support previous ideas, keeps the world curious, and also thirsty for knowledge. Science has given us so much and our lives would be nothing without it. We use science and innovation everyday, even with the simplest devices. Stem cells are a prime example of how science can help our lives improve drastically. Stem cell research has been used for many years in the United States. Stem cells are cells that come from embryos and adults that are used to differentiate into a specific cell type to help in the medical field to end more suffering in as many ways as possible. Although stem cells may not be seen as ethical to all, they are extremely beneficial and an example of why science should not have limits.
Stem cells are seen as extremely controversial because they can be derived from human embryo’s. These embryo’s are taken from abortions or in-vitro fertilization.They came from embryos that had been given up, meaning they wouldn’t have lived a good life or those who use in-vitro fertilization for the betterment of science. Look at all the people who have in their life has dealt with cancer, alzheimer's, parkinson’s, strokes, heart diseases, etc., their stress could diminished by the treatment or even the potential cure because of stem cells. Stem cells could replace the diseased cells and act as normal ones, hypothetically. It has also been shown that the embryo’s are not yet fetuses and they have no senses and are incapable of feeling. For this reason, many determine that this is not the start of life and therefore can be used for scientific purposes. Many people of religious groups strongly disagree with stem cell research. Richard Doerflinger, a pro-life activist said, “We must not sacrifice one class of human beings to benefit another”. On the opposite end of the spectrum a pro-choice activist said, “Better treatment of these diseases could also give significant social benefits for individuals and economic gains for society”. These cells could promote a healthier country with less disease, increasing our life expectancy. As of 2012 the life expectancy in the US is 78 years, higher than before, however their a 7.8 million deaths a year from heart disease. This could be greatly decreased by the use of stem cells.
As controversial as embryonic stem cells are, there are other cells we can use that have the same general effect as embryonic are adult cells. Somatic stem cells and Pluripotent stem cells are both cells derived from adult tissues. Somatic stem cells are cells that can divide and become more specialized, but are specific to one type of tissue or organ. These stem cells don’t show as much promise as the others because rejection rates are higher and they are not as malleable as others. iPSCs or Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells are showing much promise, even though they are another type of Somatic Stem Cell. These are Somatic Stem Cells that are stimulated to act as an embryonic stem cell. The Obama administration has even promoted the research of these iPSCs in hopes of not having to use Embryonic Cells saying, “with respect to research on pluripotent stem cells derived by ethically responsible techniques so that the potential of pluripotent stem cells can be explored without violating human dignity or demeaning human life.” This was taken from an July 7, 2009 executive order.While we know so much about stem cells, so much research can still be done. There is a vast amount of information still to learn. If science had no limit to resources, we could make improvements to society and therefore better our country. Discovery will be all that happens with stem cell research and it is important for us to learn more about our world. Scientific research is what brings us are everyday items we use. New cell phones are always being developed and new information on technology is being learned everyday. With limits imposed on this, people cannot discover new ways to take selfies and that is important for society. So, as a country science should be unopposed and redefined everyday.
Stem Cell Therapy
This image depicts how the stem cells are harvested and changed into different types.
How Stem Cells Work
This image depicts how embryonic stem cells are made for scientific use.
The Making of Embryonic Cells
This image depicts how the stem cells are made.
Rachel Wegener Essay
3 March 2016
Stem Cell Research
A person who explores ideas, goes outside the box and finds solutions is an innovator. However, there’s always a line, one must decide whether or not to cross it. Often times scientists are faced with this decision, and that is when personal beliefs come into play. Morals, religious reasons, even simply for the greater good, these things will either hold true with the person or disintegrate in the frenzy and desperation for new innovations, cures and advances. Stem cell research has its pros and cons, and this topic is one of the many controversial issues in science. However, it’s a matter of when science crosses the line of right and wrong, and for that reason I am against using stem cell research with embryos.
The first point of interest in this issue is the matter of using unfertilized, unborn babies--or embryos--for their stem cells to clone, or even cure certain diseases such as Alzheimer's that would otherwise be incurable. This is an amazing feat in science, a stem cell can be used to cure Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, and even cancer, making these generic cells life savers. Not to mention functioning as a repairer for the liver, heart and body, even after a stroke, spinal cord injury, heart disease, or arthritis. Stem cells are certainly beneficial for many, and the good news about this is they do not have to come from destroying human embryos.
Most people do not know that there are other ways to obtain stem cells, and from much more effective and much less morally wrong sources. There are four types of stem cells:
embryonic stem cells, embryonic germ cells, umbilical cord stem cells, and adult stem cells. Ironically, every type of stem cell, except embryonic stem cells, have helped immensely with curing diseases or other advancements in science. Embryonic stem cells have yet to cure a single disease. So, the big question here is why would scientists be using the less effective stem cells that come from destroying potential human life, when they have at least four other options of obtaining starter stem cells that work much more in favor of adult human bodies?
Scientists have figured out how to reprogram cells to be starter generic stem cells, when they were originally unable to do so. Therefore that makes five ways to obtain stem cells other than from embryos. Not to mention that stem cells can be taken from much easier sources, such as umbilical cords, the placenta, amniotic fluid, adult tissues and organs such as bone marrow, fat from liposuction, regions of the nose, and even from cadavers up to 20 hours after death. Why would these scientists even need to touch human embryos? There are so many other options. The troubling part about this is that some still insist on using human embryos, knowing that all the other options are available to them. Embryonic stem cells are the least promising, especially in the field of curing diseases. They are not practical in children or adults because the rate at which the cell is used to growing is in a rapidly expanding, isolated environment. It is a cell that is meant for babies growing quickly in the span of nine months, not for a grown adult who is past that stage and in need of an adult stem cell. It’s simply disturbing that some still insist on using these, when it means destroying human life.
It should not be permissible to condone using embryonic stem cells for research, because it is now known that they will not be useful for curing diseases or matters of that sort, as well as the many other options scientists have to gain stem cells. Not only is it morally wrong to kill and destroy human embryos, it pushes the limits of where sacrifice for science and saving lives clashes with saving a different type of life as well as having morals. There is definitely a point where science goes too far, and stem cells is only one example. However many the benefits, often times morally and ethically it is wrong. The fact that there are so many other options to get stem cells, and scientists still use them, makes it a more horrendously sensitive and scandalous an issue. Even if there weren’t so many options, I would say embryos should not be harmed in the process, and ultimately human life wins over human repair.
Haley Hildenbrand Essay
3 March 2016
Stem Cell Therapy is a topic that has been discussed for about a decade. Ever since the scientific advancements have been able to create an atmosphere in which the research can take place, stem cell research has been an issue. The main controversy over the issue is that in order to harvest the cells for a purpose, you have to destroy a human embryo. Human life supporters believe that life begins at that stage and therefore it is murder to destroy it. Scientists believe that life doesn’t start there and that the cells can save someone suffering of a terrible disease now. New innovations on stem cell research can only be explored by serious scientists who should have no limit on what resources are required to make discoveries.
To begin, embryonic stem cells can change into any type of cell the human body has. When babies are growing, the stem cells divide and differentiate into heart cells, nerve cells, skin cells and everything in between. These cells are found in ‘blastocysts’ and are the reason there is such a controversy. (Gale) Adult stem cells are ‘found in various locations in the human adult body’ and are ‘not as potentially versatile as embryonic cells’. (Gale) So, it is logical that we need to use the more multipotent cells for medicine because they are can be any cell, not just a certain tissue. Although there has been research done on making the pluripotent adult stem cells more multipotent, until this has been fully done, science needs to be unrestricted and continue on with embryonic cells. That Is where the most of the controversy lies. Since embryonic stem cells are harvested from human embryos, many consider that taking a life.
Everyday, thousands are people are going into the hospitals to end their suffering. If we could just give people new cells to change their lives, should we? Diseases and injuries are the main source of pain for people and of we use stem cells to hypothetically end their situation. New cloning techniques in stem cells make it possible to possibly ‘induce stem cells to turn into complete organs’. (Wexler) Also, new stem cells in the human body can turn into needed ‘nerve, blood, tissue, and organ cells’ which can replace damaged ones in already ill people. (Wexler) There is always a risk of rejection but, with enough research, scientists can find a way to make cells agree with the human body. This can only happen if there are no limits to the advancement of this research. Of course, this cloning technique requires new embryos and people who believe that embryos should have rights think that it is the natural course to die and therefore we should save those embryos for a possible better life that won't have a disease. This leads to the main argument of, who do we save?
There are billions of people on earth. Many of whom are dying. so, do we save a life that exists or let the new one develop? Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is all about a monster being created from dead body parts and given life. The monster however asks his creator, ‘Why did I live? Why, in an instant, did i not extinguish the spark of existence which you had so wantonly bestowed?’ (Shelly 16.1) This shows how life shouldn’t be saved from certain death. However, brilliant minds are everywhere and should be saved. Stephen Hawking, an accomplished physicist, is suffering from motor neuron disease. With his amazing mind, we should give him new nerve cells to try to reverse the disease. Life is precious and therefore we should save it for as long as we can. Besides that point, The stem cells are harvested from expired and aborted embryos. The life is no longer really there and so, we should use what we can of them to further our study of the medical benefits of stem cells. To be blunt, embryos aren't life yet because they cannot function on there own, need a host, and they aren't capable of making decisions. Based off that criteria there should be no debate on whether or not there is a problem with using embryonic stem cells for research in medicine.
To conclude on this topic, multipotent embryonic stem cells should be used in scientific studies. They can develop into any cell, potentially cure diseases, and save a life that already exists. Opposers think to save the new life created and let it become a human. While research should be done on both adult and embryonic stem cells, no limits should be placed on either. Resources should be bountiful because we owe it to ourselves as scientists to get to the bottom of how life works.
Kaylie Schranz Essay
2 March 2016
Science is such a beautiful thing we have access to, it helps discover new things, support previous ideas, keeps the world curious, and thirsty for knowledge. Science has given us so much and our lives would be nothing without. We use science and invention everyday with even the simplest devices. Science seem amazing doesn’t it? Well sadly, it is not. Science is extremely controversial and seems to make certain people very upset and appalled. Today we ask ourselves should science be limited, although I agree science should have some limits, stem cells are the perfect example of why limitations in science stall advancements.
A stem cell is a cell that can specialize into any other cell, these cells can become skin, muscle or nerve cells and even turn into body parts. These are very helpful in the cure of diseases, such as parkinson's. Sounds perfect right? Unfortunately not. Stem cells are extremely controversial because the majority of time they’re derived from human embryo’s. Although this may seem wrong, the embryos are coming from either in vitro fertilization or aborted babies. For those of strong religious backgrounds they see stem cells as unethical because, “human life begins at conception”. They strongly disagree in the medical advancements because “We must not sacrifice one class of human beings to benefit another” (Richard Doerflinger). These groups also disagree that human life would be made by anything other than a man and women and an embryo made in vitro is against all moral values for them.
In my opinion, stem cells are the perfect example of why science shouldn’t have as many limits. These embryos are either from aborted babies who weren’t going to have a good life or embryos that were made for the betterment of science and the cure of diseases. A quote that stood out to me was, “Better treatment of these diseases could also give significant social benefits for individuals and economic gains for society”. These stem cells are extremely beneficial and strengthen our society. Look at all the people who have in their life has dealt with cancer, alzheimer's, parkinson’s, strokes, heart diseases, etc., their stress could diminished by the treatment or even the potential cure because of stem cells. It has also been shown that the embryo’s are not yet fetuses and they have no senses and are incapable of feeling.
After visiting the two opposing viewpoints of stem cell research, it is clearly shown stem cells are immensely helpful to our society. This cells show in cases science should not have limits for the betterment of medicine and curing diseases. There are some reasons why ethical boundaries can be overstepped to save many lives and save families from the emotional and financial stress of extensive treatments.
Hunter Stewart Essay
04 March 2016
Opposing Viewpoints: Stem Cells
A subject of much debate in both the political and scientific communities over the past decade has been that of embryonic stem cell research. Embryonic stem cells are unspecialized cells capable of renewing themselves through cell division under certain physiologic or experimental conditions. These unspecialized cells are capable of becoming many different types of tissue, for example bone, muscle or organ tissue. This process of taking cells from an embryo destroys it. Many are opposed to this idea, because it uses a blastocyst or fetus of an unborn human. Some would say that science is going too far to resort to aborted fetuses for scientific research. However others believe that stem cell research is in the boundaries of ethics and that the use of embryonic stem cells is justified. The potential benefits it could provide for people is worth the loss of an unborn blastocyst.
The argument of people against stem cell research is dwindling, however there is still many influential organizations against it; one being the Catholic Church. “The Roman Catholic Church is one of several religious institutions that has spoken out against embryonic stem cell research, arguing that the valid and noble ends of improving health and medicine do not justify the means of killing embryos.” (Gale, 1) Even the church who recognizes the possible benefits of this research. is against the destruction of embryos. They believe at conception the human is created and has its right to life. The bishop Richard Doeflinger argues “We must not sacrifice one class of human beings to benefit another” (Gale,1) Showing that they do not believe that the ends of possible medical breakthroughs justifies the means of taking a human life.
Those for stem cell research recognize the possibilities of incredible medical innovations and cures for chronic ailments. The pursuit of scientific advancement and the possibility of new discovery is explained well by Victor Frankenstein “I was encouraged to hope my present attempts would at least lay the foundations of future success.” (Shelly, 51) This relates to stem cells, because in researching Embryonic Stem Cells we can possibly lay the groundwork for great scientific success. For example Therapeutic Cloning is the use of in-vitro embryos to create new stem cells. Researchers in this field claim that “that scientists could use therapeutic cloning to manufacture perfectly matched bone marrow using the patient's own skin or other cells. This would eliminate the problem of rejection of foreign tissue that is associated with bone marrow transplant and other organ transplantation.” (Gale, 1) This could eliminate the need for aborted embryos. However in order to further this research more testing with embryos must be done.
Stem cell research can provide the medical and scientific community with the knowledge and capability to save and improve the lives of many people. The decision of ethical treatment of embryos can be argued, however the loss of a small group of cells could save the life of another person. The Catholic church claims that Stem Cell research is a sin and must be boycotted. However with the possibility of abortion being removed from this research being eliminated as a necessary step in this research and the possibility of cures for diseases like Alzheimer's and Dementia. Stem Cell research is justified by its possible benefits.