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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Stem Cells – Ethics Collides with Science

Originally Published: December 18, 2013
By Daphnée Dubouchet-Olsheski

Stems cells are specials cells found in (humans and) animals. Stem cells are the precursors of all cells in the human body. They have the ability to replicate themselves and to repair and replace damaged tissue in the human body. There are two types of stem cells. Adult stem cells are found in specific tissues in the body, and become cells that are needed in these tissues. Embryonic stem cells are cells found in the umbilical cord of the embryo.  These cells can become whatever cell they want (triggered by the activation of specific genes). (Viegas, Jennifer. Stem Cell Research). These stem cells are what can change the world! If harvested, we could grow thousands of organs and limbs to cure people. However, there are many challenges in stem cell research, one of which is the ethical argument. Should the embryo have the same moral status as a human person?

On the other hand, adult stem cell research is relatively uncontroversial.
Different religions around the world have stated their position on the use of embryonic stem cells. Most cultures have also expressed their views and opinions on stem cell research in hopes to have their values respected.

Countries have also taken positions on the practice of such research. Canada, for example, believes that stem cell research is an innovative idea that could possibly help millions of people and has developed a set of guidelines that doctors/scientists must obey in order to practice stem cell research.

Despite these differing world views on this scientific discovery, I believe that stem cell research is an important part of our scientific world and can possibly save many lives. Stem cells have given the world a glimpse into the future; a future free of disease, a future with cures and a future filled with hope.

Stem cells will be able to cure anything, from missing teeth to spinal cord injuries. Stem cells can also be used in heart attack victims. Muscle stem cells are injected into the damaged artery within 5 hours of the attack and start repairing the damaged heart muscle!
The discovery of stem cells was a world phenomenon bringing hope to finding cures for diseases that plague the world.  Progress is being made every day. One day we will see a world, if not free of disease, at least less burdened by disease because we can generate healthy body tissue… if only we could bridge the divide between ethics and science.

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