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Stem Cell Research Essay

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´╗┐Therapeutic Stem Cells 1. What is a stem cell? A stem cell is an undifferentiated cell, meaning that its function in the body is undetermined; it has not specialized (or differentiated) to a specific type of cell, for example a muscle cell or skin cell. Stem cells typically come from either embryos created in the embryonic faze of development or adult tissue, one example being bone marrow. Stem cells differ from other cells in the body because they are able to renew themselves through cell division, and the new stem cells created can be caused to become specialized into tissue-specific cells or organ-specific cells. In medicine, stem cells have become increasingly popular due to the fact that they have the capability to form any tissue, thus enabling potential treatments in the medical field. Stem cells are used in various ways, but particularly for transplants. A specific case is for people suffering from leukemia, or other blood disorders, this is known as a bone marrow stem cell transplant; the most common stem cell used today, and has been used for the past forty years. The stem cells from the patient, or donor are transplanted into the bone marrow, also known as hematopoietic stem cells, or in the blood stream, also known as peripheral blood stem cells. ...read more.


Since the stem cells used to grow the vein were the patient?s own stem cells, there was no chance of rejection by the body ? another advantage to stem cell transplant and operation. Rejection is usually an issue faced when patients have whole organs from a donor replaced in their body. The immune system may not respond to the new organ, thus destroying the organ. However if the stem cells used are from the patient?s body, there is no chance of rejection with the immune system. 1. What are the potential disadvantages of using stem cells in medicine? Though stem cells have proven useful in the medical field, there are disadvantages involved as well. Specifically for bone marrow stem cell transplants, if the stem cell used is from a non-genetically identical donor, there are chances of contracting Graft Versus Host Disease (GFHD). This is caused by the new transplanted stem cells regarding the patient?s body as ?foreign? and thus attacking the body, proving the transplant unsuccessful. Another disadvantage to stem cell transplants is the chemotherapy radiation done prior to the transplantation; it makes the patient feel sick as well as lowers their immune systems, making them susceptible to infection. Cost-wise, stem cells transplants can get very expensive, costing up to $200,000; consequently the majority of the population would not be able to afford the treatment, thus not putting the research done to good use. ...read more.


2012. <http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/physician-resources/medical-science/genetics-molecular-medicine/related-policy-topics/stem-cell-research/basics-stem-cell-research.page>. "Bone Marrow Transplantation and Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplantation." National Cancer Institute. N.p., 24 Sept. 2010. Web. 13 Sept. 2012. <www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Therapy/bone-marrow-transplant>. "Cost of Bone Marrow Transplant - National Bone Marrow Transplant Link." National Bone Marrow Transplant Link. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2012. <http://www.nbmtlink.org/resources_support/rg/rg_costs.htm>. "Glossary | Harvard Stem Cell Institute." HSCI | Harvard Stem Cell Institute. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2012. <http://www.hsci.harvard.edu/glossary>. "Graft-versus-host disease - PubMed Health." National Center for Biotechnology Information. N.p., 5 June 2012. Web. 13 Sept. 2012. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002286/>. Lapidot, Tvsee, Ayelet Dar, and Orit Koller. "How do stem cells find their way home?." Blood. N.p., 15 Sept. 2005. Web. 13 Sept. 2012. <http://bloodjournal.hematologylibrary.org/content/106/6/1901.long>. "Obama Ends Stem Cell Research Ban - CBS News." Breaking News Headlines: Business, Entertainment & World News - CBS News. N.p., 18 June 2009. Web. 13 Sept. 2012. <http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-503767_162-4853385.html>. "Stem Cell Basics - Ethics, Moral Values, and U.S. Law." Stem Cells At The National Academies. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2012. <dels-old.nas.edu/bls/stemcells/ethics.shtml>. "Vein grown from stem cells saves 10-year-old girl | Fox News." Fox News - Breaking News Updates | Latest News Headlines | Photos & News Videos. N.p., 14 June 2012. Web. 13 Sept. 2012. <http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/06/14/vein-grown-from-stem-cells-saves-10-year-old-girl/>. "What To Expect During a Blood and Marrow Stem Cell Transplant - NHLBI, NIH." NIH Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. N.p., 15 Nov. 2012. Web. 13 Sept. 2012. <http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/bmsct/during.html>. "What are Stem Cells?." Medical News Today: Health News. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2012. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/info/stem_cell/>. ...read more.

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