Essay On Stem Cell And Its Potential To Advance Regenerative Medicine In Aging Adults
One of the most controversial scientific breakthroughs to date is the discovery of stem cell and its promising capability to heal many diseases, among which are those that required tremendous attention, time, effort and funding in search of a definite cure but still remain untreatable, such as cancer. Stirring controversy, provoking debates and making the headlines in at least the last 10 years, the use of stem cell in regenerative medicine as well is in other fields clinical science is undoubtedly an issue worth addressing—especially when taking into consideration its promising future of bringing a more permanent cure to many life-debilitating, sometimes incurably fatal, diseases. As an advocate for the use of stem cell in regenerative medicine and clinical science fields, I intend to conduct a research on the potential of stem cell research to advance regenerative medicine in aging adults which aims to connect with the society and with the other advocates and investigators of the topic. The intended research also aims to pass truthful and unbiased information to legislators so they would understand how important it is to consider the laws they make in connection with stem cells. The research will be useful in (1) disseminating proper information about the real potential of stem cells in treating incurable diseases and regenerating damaged tissues and organs of the body, (2) raising awareness about the promising capability of stem cells, (3) debunking false myths that hamper the development of current stem cell researches, and (4) settling, once and for all, the truth behind all ethical concerns being automatically linked to stem cells which inevitably connotes all studies done to further furnish the whole concept of integrating stem cell in regenerative medicine and clinical science.
As an advocate, I have to commit my time and effort in order to fulfill my research as the issue I am addressing is something that I find personally interesting upon learning about the hampered potential of stem cells. Considering the many lives it could have saved and seeing it in the faces of some family members, friends and other members of my own society, I am more compelled to do the research. My natural inclination to research compelling science-related social issues, ability to deliver unbiased results and particular knowledge about human sciences are my key strengths to fulfill this research.
Generally, stem cells are primitive cells (the cells present during embryonic development) that have the capacity to divide and produce more identical stem cells or specialize and become cells of a particular tissue (De Wert and Mummery, 2003). Stem cells may be produced either by (1) in vitro fertilization (IVF) or (2) somatic nuclear cell transfer (SNCT) (Bobrow, 2005). In both processes, an ovum that is ready to give rise to an embryo is usually hampered from fully developing once it has reached the blastocyst stage (Bobrow, 2005). In the blastocyst stage, the in vitro embryo may be implanted in a uterus and develop completely into a fetus or it may also be left in vitro for continuous culture of stem cells (Bobrow, 2005). This reality of stem cell harvesting is the core of many alarming concerns that regard the whole process as unethical (Bobrow, 2005). But both IVF and SNCT are not unethical, as (1) the egg cell used is unfertilized and (2) even if fertilized, if done in vitro, it still cannot differentiate and develop into an organism (Bobrow, 2005). So, the argument against stem cell harvest and use is already invalid if the blastocyst from where the stem cells were derived was done in vitro and remained in vitro for the culture—no life in human form was ended, as the arguments state, as none ever existed in that pattern. Therefore, developing stem cell research especially for the advancement of regenerative medicine in aging adults is helpful and should be continued and funded.
Bobrow, J.C. (2005). The Ethics and Politics of Stem Cell Research. Transactions of the American Opthalmological Society, 103, 138-142. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17057797
De Wert, G., and Mummery, C. (2003). Human embryonic stem cells: research, ethics and policy. Human Reproduction, 18(4), 672-682. DOI: 10.1093/humrep/DEG143