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“Stem cell research holds enormous promise for easing human suffering, and federal support is critical to its success” – Tom Harkin. Stem cells originate from adult body tissues and embryos, but they can also be donated through bone marrow, peripheral stem cells, and umbilical cord blood. Scientists are currently working to create stem cells from other cells through genetic techniques. The research of stem cells can lead to understanding the development of diseases and conditions by watching the cells mature into tissue, muscle, bone, and other organs. The United States government should sustain stem cell research due to being able to regulate research, create treatments, and is capable of using both fetal and adult stem cells.
The government changes policies and regulations to keep updated with research and reflect the views of political parties. An online article discusses how, “In the United States, laws prohibit the creation of embryos for research purposes.” Instead of creating embryos, donors can consent to the fertility clinics giving them to research. Nearly 1.7 million embryos are discarded a year from fertility clinics while only about 5,900 are being set aside for research. The discarded embryos could be used for research but it is considered unethical because there is no consent. This shows the government does utilize the say of the people in research matters as well as regulating what can be used with permission. This reflects the views of not only the citizens but of political parties are being taken into consideration when deciding what goes into the research. There is an extent of how far research can go before being unethical but the rules help maintain the change through laws and those in charge.
Presidents of past and possibly future generations can change regulations throughout the years as research and political views modify. An example of this presidential regulation is in 2001 when President George W. Bush limited federal funding on the research of human embryonic stem cells. This regulation was done because a human embryo was destroyed in the procedure. It was thought to be unethical at the time for the federal government to support and pay to destroy the embryos. Years later an online article discusses how in, “2009, President Barack Obama lifts 2001 restrictions on federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research.” This displays that throughout the years’ political views changed and that regulations modified with these views. This also exhibits that if any research were to become too radical the government can stop it or maintain it to be ethical. Currently, there is no documented harm in stem cell research besides the destruction of the embryos. With this research evolving every year, possible treatments and cures can be found for many diseases.
Within stem cell research there is a possibility for many treatments and cures the longer it continues and the more that is discovered by scientists. The National Institutes of Health discuss how scientists are trying to differentiate stem cells into specific cells to, “offer the possibility of a renewable source of replacement cells and tissues to treat diseases.” The further research goes the bigger the possibilities in the creation of such treatments. These treatments could help with muscular degeneration, spinal cord injuries, stroke, burns, heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. The research could not only lead to fighting off certain diseases but to stopping them completely. Diseases are not all that stem cells can fight, they can also contribute to helping organ failure or tissue regeneration.
Stem cell research could also lead to growing a specific tissue type or organ. This is possibly the biggest need for stem cells. In an article, Dr. Catherine Paddock discusses how, “scientists must be able to manipulate stem cells so that they possess the necessary characteristics for successful differentiation, transplantation, and engraftment.” With understanding the stem cells these scientists can then manipulate them to create what is necessary to treat most possible illnesses or injuries. The same article states that “to avoid the problem of immune rejection, scientists are experimenting with different research strategies to generate tissues that will not be rejected.” Not only could the scientists create new organs or tissue but there would be no chance of harm because no rejection would occur. Patients dying of any organ failure don’t need to wait for a donor and have a less risky surgery because the body will not reject the organ. These treatments do not only come from adults or are for adults but they come from and are for children as well.
Both fetal and adult stem cells play a major role in stem cell research because each has its properties that make them unique. In a scholarly article by MedicineNet, it is discussed how, “During the early stages of embryonic development the cells appear to possess the ability to become, or differentiate, into almost any tissue within the body.” This is because all body parts are being created and this leads to bigger possibilities of what these stem cells can be used to create. Although fetal stem cells seem to have more possibilities adult stem cells can be used similarly in making tissue or organs.
The adult stem cells are used to develop specific tissues and organs. An example of these adult stem cells is effective bone marrow transplants for over 30 years. MedicineNet describes how, “When we refer to a bone marrow transplant, a stem cell transplant, or a blood transplant, the cell being transplanted is the hematopoietic stem cell or blood stem cells.” These blood stem cells are very rare cells that are found primarily within the adult bone marrow. Stem cell research should be sustained by the U.S government so that they can monitor the research, generate new treatments, and put to use both fetal and adult stem cells.
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