• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
Page
  1. 1
    1
  2. 2
    2
  3. 3
    3
  4. 4
    4
  5. 5
    5
  6. 6
    6
  7. 7
    7
  8. 8
    8
  9. 9
    9
  10. 10
    10
  11. 11
    11
  12. 12
    12
  13. 13
    13
  14. 14
    14
  15. 15
    15
  16. 16
    16
  17. 17
    17
  18. 18
    18
  19. 19
    19
  20. 20
    20
  21. 21
    21
  22. 22
    22
  23. 23
    23
  24. 24
    24
  25. 25
    25

Stem Cell Research

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

The research of stem cells, particularly embryonic stem cells is a controversial issue in our society today. Stem cell research has an incredibly large potential in medicine and could dramatically affect the treatment of many human illnesses that would have previously been incurable. However there are many groups of people within our society that protest against the use of embryonic stem cells because they believe that it is not right to destroy living cells that have the potential to develop into living human beings. Numerous debates have occurred because of peoples' differing views on this topic. What Are Stem Cells? Stem cells are undifferentiated cells1; meaning they are cells in the body that have not yet become specialised. They have the potential to develop into any of the 220 specialised cells in the human body.2 For example stem cells can develop into cardiac muscle cells in the heart in the circulatory system, or into nerve cells in the nervous system. Each type of specialised cell has a unique structure that is specifically suited for its particular function. For example, nerve cells have thin, long extensions, which help them to transport electrical messages around the body more efficiently. 3 Once cells specialise, they cannot revert back to their previous stem cell state. This means that they can no longer specialise to form any other cell. Therefore it is vital that stem cells are present in all tissues in the human body for growth, renewal and repair, as they have the ability to divide and specialise.3 Specialised cells (such as nerve cells) constantly need to be replaced, as they get damaged or die often. This occurs regularly, as somatic cells have a limited lifetime and are constantly being used, leaving them prone to damage. For example, muscle cells are regularly contracting, and are often worn and damaged because of this. This means that stem cells are responsible for the replacement of damaged or dead cells in the human body, providing a constant supply of specialised cells in order to keep the human body functioning regularly. ...read more.

Middle

Because more money is being invested, scientists are able to have all the necessary equipment and facilities to carry out their research, hence they can maximise the quality of their research. Overall, this will lead to significant knowledge being found out about iPS cells, meaning that they are more likely to fulfil their medical potential. The main disadvantage of the use of induced pluripotent stem cells is the unknown properties that they could have. Because DNA is randomly inserted into the host cells genome by a "retrovirus", certain characteristics could be expressed that are unwanted in these stem cells. For example, when iPS cells were initially discovered, one of the genes transfected by the "retrovirus" (known as c-MYC) was shown to produce cancers and tumours.30 This therefore made iPS cells unusable for human therapy, until this gene was eliminated in later techniques. There is still the potential that there are more genes transfected into the host cell that are undesirable. Hence, it is vital that research on iPS cells continues, to isolate and eliminate the undesirable genes, so that eventually, iPS cells can be used in human therapies. All properties of these cells must be thoroughly checked to ensure that they are suitable for human use, and if they aren't, they must be altered until they are, so that they can be used to treat patients. Another complication that arises with iPS cells is their shorter life span.31 This occurs because the cells that they are derived from (e.g. skin cells) are usually relatively old. The shorter life span of these iPS cells can be explained by the shortening of the telomeres as a somatic cell gets older.32 As shown on the diagram below, a telomere is the region of repetitive DNA that is found at the end of a chromosome, which helps to prevent the chromosome from deteriorating.27 After each successive cell division, the telomeres at the end of every chromosome shorten slightly, because of a problem that occurs during DNA replication (caused ...read more.

Conclusion

Evaluation The majority of the sources that I have used to provide information have been reasonably valid. This is because the information that I gained on these sites has been based on scientific fact. These sites have all been quite high profile; one is a resource from the "National Institutes of Health", one is from the University of Utah and the other 2 are world famous websites ("Wikipedia" and "New Scientist") The "National Institute of Health" site also ends in ".govt", meaning it is a government run site, thus it must provide factual, reviewed information. They are all informative scientific sites that would be reviewed by other people, for possible bias or incorrect information. Also, being reviewed by other people means that the chances of the sites having incorrect and biased information are greatly reduced. All information in most of these sites (especially Wikipedia) is referenced fully, to prove to the readers that the facts used are not fictitious and are accurate. Therefore, these sites are mainly unbiased on this issue and come from trustworthy and factual sites; thus the information gained from them is valid. However, Wikipedia can be edited by anyone, so for a very short period of time, it can be unreliable. However it is constantly reviewed and any incorrect information will not be on the website for too long. Therefore, to ensure the information that I have used is valid, I have double checked all information used from Wikipedia by checking the reference websites at the bottom of the page. I then cross referenced all information that I had used with the reference sites, to ensure that all information that was reported on Wikipedia was true. By checking more than one site, I have greatly increased the likelihood that the information I have used is valid and factual. Also, the site that I sourced the picture of the" medical potentials of stem cells" from was far less valid. It was merely a "blog" website that contained lots of biased comments that supported stem cell research. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Humans as Organisms section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Humans as Organisms essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Biology Revision notes - Human Biology

    5 star(s)

    glucose in the blood: * The pancreas stops secreting insulin * The liver doesn't convert glucose into glycogen * Body cells don't absorb glucose * The pancreas makes a different hormone called glucagon which causes glycogen to break down into glucose and then the glucose is released into the blood.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Treatments Of Heart Disease.

    3 star(s)

    a right to the NHS, no matter how foolish they have been in their own behaviour," (source 10) It is also fair to comment that smokers do pay a great deal of tax which goes to the governments funds to pay for such care; however those with a poor health due to life style do not.

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The Advantages and Disadvatages of Designer Babies

    3 star(s)

    Majority of the time a way was found, to heal those diseases by treating them the right way. However, scientists discovered that a lot of diseases could not be cured by describing some drugs some illnesses and/or diseases needed to be cured differently.

  2. Human biology short notes

    Testes Has seminiferous tubules which produce sperms Produces cells which secrete testosterone Ovary Consists of Ova Produces cells that secrete oestrogen Epididymis Stores sperms and conducts upwards during ejaculation Oviduct Lined with ciliated and mucus epithelial cells which transfers the ova to the uterus Is the site of fertilization Scrotum

  1. HUMAN CLONING

    A skin cell was inserted inside the enucleated egg to serve as a new nucleus. The egg began to divide after it was stimulated with a chemical called ionomycin. The results were limited in success. Although this process was carried out with eight eggs, only three began dividing, and only one was able to divide into six cells before stopping.

  2. Factors Affecting the Development of Coronary Heart Disease.

    When you stop smoking, your risk for coronary heart disease begins to fall immediately. Exercise more by gradually increasing the minutes you spend being physically active. You should strive to accumulate at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most or all days of the week.

  1. The Biological and Psychological Impact of Smoking Cigarettes

    Nicotine raises levels of a neurotransmitter called dopamine in parts of the brain that produce feelings of pleasure and reward (8). Dopamine is the same neurotransmitter that is involved in addiction to other drugs such as cocaine and heroin. Researches believe that dopamine is one of the key roles in

  2. Should the cloning of humans be allowed?

    a gene ending up in the wrong place and potentially causing problems. Human cloning could possibly allow this therapeutic gene to be sent to every cell in the body. It would work by firstly creating an ordinary embryo using IVF.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work