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It Is A Good Idea To Use Human Stem Cells To Repair Damaged Or Diseased Tissue in Humans

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Introduction

It Is A Good Idea To Use Human Stem Cells To Repair Damaged Or Diseased Tissue in Humans Over the years, many people have died from killer diseases, which involve the irreversible breakdown of important cells or tissues, such as 'Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, heart disease and diabetes' [1]. The use of stem cells, a concept that is both new and controversial, could 'potentially revolutionise medicine' [1] and provide a cure for people suffering from these illnesses. Stem cells are 'cells that have the ability to divide for indefinite periods in culture and to give rise to specialised cells' [2]. There are two types of stem cells; firstly embryonic stem cells (ESC's), taken from an unborn human embryo and secondly, adult stem cells, obtained from bone marrow, the umbilical cord and other places in the body. This issue of using stem cells to repair damaged or diseased tissue is a very controversial one and many people oppose it, but why? Why are many people against such a huge step forward in medical science? ...read more.

Middle

ESC's are totipotent, which means that they can give rise to any cell in the body depending on the chemical messages it receives. These chemical messages vary depending on the location in the body, so this allows certain specified cells to develop where certain tissues need to be replaced. So, this one type of stem cell has the potential to become any cell that is needed. A huge advantage is that ESC's can essentially live forever. Sir George Radda, the chief executive of the Medical Research Council says 'Once these cell lines are established, they are immortal. You can multiply them and continue to use them.......That means you will reduce the number of human embryo's you would wish to use in this research' [4]. This is obviously beneficial. Another advantage is that ESC's are readily available. Everyday hospitals and fertility clinics routinely destroy human embryos remaining after in-vitro fertilisation. These surplus embryo's given scientists a ready supply of ESC's to use, although this still causes problems with pro-life supporters. The second method of using stem cells to replace or repair human tissue is by using adult stem cells. ...read more.

Conclusion

So, is it a good idea to use human stem cells to replace damaged or diseased tissue in humans? In my opinion, the answer is yes. The main argument that opponents of embryonic stem cells use is the ethical debate of destroying an embryo that could potentially form a human life. I argue that the embryo's used are already abandoned by their parents and will be destroyed. I believe that 'it is actually wrong to protect the lives of a few unborn human beings if doing so will delay treatment for a much larger number of people who suffer from fatal or debilitating diseases' [6]. The medical risks that may occur whilst using stem cells could soon be eliminated by extra research, so in the future this method of treating patients will also be safer. So, all in all, using stem cells to repair damaged or diseased tissue is a positive step forward in scientific medicine. Although there are many arguments against using stem cells, the choice to allow treatment and research to continue is 'the right and moral one' [6]. ...read more.

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