Good Research Paper About Stem Cell Research & Ethics

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Stem, Medicine, Ethics, Health, Skin, Urinary System, Kidney, Tissue

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/10/03

Stem cell research promises to revolutionize the treatment of many chronic diseases, bodily dysfunction and trauma, but the realization of this potential raises multiple ethical and practical difficulties. The difficulty of managing and treating chronic diseases is perhaps best emphasized by the rising nephrological crisis and organ failure. Li & Wingert (2013) highlights the risk of maladaptive an regenerative cellular responses associated with chronic and acute kidney disease, the recent evidence on renal stem cells and the difficulties that need to be overcome in order to realize the full benefits of regenerative medicine. According to Li & Wingert (2013), kidney transplantation and dialysis offer life-saving interventions, but are fraught with limitations, including the facts that they exact a huge cost on the health care system and individual patients. Developments in regenerative medicine hold the key to alleviating these difficulties by finding alternative interventions to manage existing kidney conditions. The presence of multiple renal cell types and the kidney’s intricate cell composition implies that its microenvironments are both diverse and manifold. Li & Wingert (2013) argues that regenerative medicine and improvements in the detection of specific diseases using biomarkers and possibility of targeting specific cells promises to revolutionize treatment and management of kidney diseases.
With the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases, the aging population and the rising direct and indirect costs of managing chronic diseases, the need for new developments in medicine is impossible to over-emphasize. According to Piccin & Orshead (2010) and Raggi & Berardi (2012), stem cells remain active for most of a human’s life (present in multiple tissues), but changes in the microenvironments, as well as the nature of the cells, inhibit their regenerative ability. The ability to leverage the activity of these cells is crucial to progress in regenerative medicine. Factors such as changes in the pre-cursor niche, surrounding tissue and distant tissue signalling act in concert with cell-intrinsic cell cycle regulators and multiple systemic factors to control cell kinetics and other cells functions that ultimately limit stem cell regeneration ability in old age. The inhibited regeneration of stem cells serves to reduce the risk of tumorigenesis, whose risk increases with age. However, with increasingly tight regulation of stem cell research, progress has been limited to animal models, which have proven that recruiting endogenous tissue-specific stem cells holds immense potential for tissue transplantation, which is just one proof of how a deeper understanding of the mechanisms of cell behaviour could lead to multiple therapeutically important manipulations.
Similarly, Raggi & Berardi (2012) argues that a deeper understanding of molecular pathways of age-associated stem cell dysfunction among animals and its implication on regenerative medicine is important. Raggi & Berardi (2012) also finds that the declining regenerative ability in stem cells influences their therapeutic efficacy in old age, but focusses more on mesenchymal stem cells, which have tissue-specific multi-potent cells known to be involved in stem cell research. Other than replacing worn out bones and body tissues, mesenchymal stem cells also maintain blood vessel integrity, besides helping keep a balance between the necessary regulatory networks that control specific remodelling and regeneration Li & Wingert (2013), Piccin & Orshead (2010), and Raggi & Berardi (2012) appreciate the enormous challenges that lie in the way of regenerative medicine. . The limitations associated with cells in elderly patients means that the current applications require high cellular doses alongside efficient expansion protocols in order to generate a required number of cells from traditional cultures. The protocols required for safe and efficient stem cell treatment are both complex and dynamic, rendering it difficult to reproduce for mass application. Li & Wingert (2013) argues that the discovery of technologies to deliver and control interventions in space and time to avoid unchecked PEC proliferation that initiate glomerular lesions, present a critical element and challenge that must be overcome in order to realize the benefits of regenerative medicine.
Even most importantly, one of the biggest obstacles to the development of regenerative medicine is not technical, but ethical. Other than the potential for abuse, the scientific research that involves the possible destruction of human embryos and other controversial use of human tissue/cells has risen bred multiple questions and restrictive regulations that have made progress difficult. The political and ethical controversy has made it impossible to test the theoretical potential that stem cell research holds. It is argued that legitimizing stem cell research would breed permissiveness that would in turn cause acceptance for unacceptable practices, besides the fact, morally justifying the practice necessarily justifies other potentially unethical and harmful research/practices. Other ethical issues raised include strategies for best optimization of extra embryos, proportionality, and subsidiarity. The fact that stem cell research is dynamic and characterized by many unknowns, it is natural that it should attract such ethical and political controversy, but main ethical principles point to the fact that the restrictive regulations are unjustified (De Wert & Mummery, 2003; Bobrow, 2005). For nearly the same reasons, Bobrow (2005) argues that both ethics and economics of stem cell research have been assaulted by the increasingly stringent regulations (criminalization of research), which is why education and open discussion of the controversial issues is necessary.


Bobrow, J. C. (2005). The Ethics and Politics of Stem Cell Research. Transactions of the American Ophthalmological Society, 103, 138-142.
De Wert, G., & Mummery, C. (2003). Human embryonic stem cells: research, ethics and policy. Human Reproduction, 18(4), 672-682.
Li, Y., & Wingert, R. A. (2013). Regenerative medicine for the kidney: stem cell prospects & challenges. Clin Transl Med, 2(11), doi:10.1186/2001-1326-2-11.
Piccin, D., & Orshead, C. M. (2010). Potential and pitfalls of stem cell therapy in old age. Disease models & mechanisms, 3(7-8), 421-425.
Raggi, C., & Berardi, A. C. (2012). Mesenchymal stem cells, aging and regenerative medicine. Muscles, ligaments and tendons journal, 2(3), 239.

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