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Stem Cells and Ethics

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What are stem cells? According to (LHCrypto 2017), stem cells are a class of undifferentiated cells that are able to differentiate into specialized cell types. Stems cells are also known as the body’s raw materials-cells from which all other cells with specialized functions are produced. Furthermore, stem cells divided themselves to form more cells called daughter cells. The daughter cells can then become new stem cells or become specialized cells with a more specific function, such as blood cells and brain cells. Where do stem cells come from?

Stem cells come from two main sources:

  • Embryos (embryonic stem cells)
  • Adult tissue (adult stem cells)

Both types are characterized by their potency, or potential to differentiate into different cell types, such as, skin, muscle or bone. Embryonic stem cells: These stem cells come from embryos that are 3 to 5 days old. At this particular stage, an embryo is referred to as a blastocyst and has an estimate of 150 cells. These are pluripotent stem cells, meaning that they can divide into more stem cells or can become any type of cell in the body. This allows the embryonic stem cells to be used to re-make or repair diseased tissue and organs. Adult stem cells: These stem cells are found in most adult tissue, such as the bone marrow of fat, Adult stem cells have a limited ability to give growth to various cells of the body. Adult tissues remain in a non-dividing state until activated by disease or tissue injury. How have stem cells been used to treat people medically? (explain the medical problem/source of stem cells/success) Stem cells have the potential to treat a wide range of diseases. In a stem-cell transplant, embryonic stem cells are specialized into the adult cell type. Then, the mature cells replace tissue that is damaged by disease of injury. This type of treatment could be used to: Replace neurons damaged by spinal cord injury, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease or other neurological problems. Produce insulin that could treat people with diabetes.

Heart muscle cells could repair damage after a heart attack.

STEM CELLS AND LEUKEMIA

Leukemia is a cancer of the blood or bone marrow. The bone marrow produces blood cells, so leukemia can happen when there is a problem with the production of blood cells. It usually affects the leukocytes (white blood cells). Leukemia occurs when the DNA of immature blood cells becomes damaged in some way. This causes the blood cells to grow and divide continuously so that there too many. The healthy blood cells die and are replaced by the new cells, which are produced in the bone marrow. While the healthy blood cells are dying out, the abnormal blood cells do not die, they actually accumulate, occupying more space. The abnormal cells are the cancer cells. So, as more cancer cells are produced, they stop the growth of the healthy white blood cells and they can no longer function normally because the cancer cells are crowding the space in the blood. According to (Cancer Treatment Centres of America), a stem cell transplant can be used to restore healthy bone marrow in patients with leukemia. Stem cells help stimulate new bone marrow growth and restore the immune system. Before a stem cell transplant for leukemia, you will go through an intensive treatment to destroy as many leukemia cells as possible. This treatment may also be given by getting a high dosage of radiation therapy. Once the treatment is over, the patient Is ready to receive a stem cell transplant. Much like a blood transfusion, the patient will receive the stem cells intravenously. After the stem cells enter the bloodstream, they travel to the bone marrow and start to generate new blood cells in a process called engraftment. What ethical issues are there in the different stem cell types? (consider cost versus benefit/source of stem cells)

ADVANTAGES

It gives medical benefits in the field of therapeutic cloning and regenerative medicine.

It gives great potential for discovering treatments and cures to a variety of diseases. These diseases include; Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer disease, cancer, spinal cord injuries and diabetes.

Limbs and organs can be grown in a lab from stem cells and can later be used in transplants or to help treat illnesses. A proof the usage of an adult stem cell to treat disease is that a patient’s own cells can be used to treat a patient. Embryonic stem cells can develop into any cell types of the body.

DISADVANTAGES

The use of embryonic stem cells for research involves the destruction of blastocysts formed from the lab-fertilized human eggs. For those people who believe that life begins at conception, the blastocyst is a human life and it is bad to destroy it.

Embryonic stem cells may not be the solution for all ailments. Stem cell transplant for heart disease can make the coronary arteries narrower.

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Stem cells and ethics. (2018, September 17). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 23, 2022, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/stem-cells-and-ethics/
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