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Use of stem cells to treat Stargardts disease and one other named condition.

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Introduction

http://www.jimonlight.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/DURRESHAHWAR_STARGARDTS-DISEASE_19490101_13236.jpg Stargardt's macular dystrophy: The problem: Stargardt macular degeneration is a recessive genetic (inherited) eye disorder that causes progressive central vision loss, and eventually total blindness. Stargardt?s disease, with symptoms beginning in childhood, is the most common form of juvenile macular degeneration; affecting around one in 10,000 children. The mutation causes an active transport protein on photoreceptor cells to malfunction. These photoreceptor cells degenerate over time, which results in the production of a dysfunctional protein that cannot perform energy transport. The treatment: Embryonic stem cells are unique in that they have the potential to differentiate into any type of adult body cell (totipotent). Most embryonic stem cells are taken from embryos that have been fertilised in vitro in the laboratory (IVF), Under laboratory conditions, when embryonic stem cells are treated to divide and differentiate, retinal cells can be derived from embryonic stem cells. ...read more.

Middle

Hematopoietic Stem Cells (HSCs) are extracted from the patient?s bone marrow, peripheral blood or umbilical cord blood. The diseased white blood cells are destroyed via chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Bone marrow cells are killed and replaced with the stem cells, so healthy white blood cells can form. HSCs are transplanted back into the bone marrow. HSCs differentiate to form new healthy white blood cells. The benefit: The use of a patient?s own HSCs means there is far less risk of immune rejection than with a traditional bone marrow transplant. http://www.oxbridgebiotech.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/110327_leukaemia.jpg Application: Ethics of the therapeutic use of stem cells from specially created embryos, from the umbilical cord blood of a new-born baby and from an adult?s own tissues. ...read more.

Conclusion

Humans should have autonomy over their own bodies. Arguments against Therapeutic Cloning: * Involves the creation and destruction of human embryos ? both the stored embryos that are not used and additional embryos that are not required. (At what point do we afford the right to life?) * It is a slippery slope ? boundaries may be pushed further and further until embryos are routinely used as research material i.e. scientist ?playing God?; for which there might be religious or moral objection * Embryonic stem cells are capable of continued division and may develop into cancerous cells and cause tumours * With additional cost and effort, alternative technologies may fulfil similar roles (e.g. nuclear reprogramming of differentiated cell lines) http://www.slideshare.net/diverzippy/biok-notes-11-introduction-to-cells http://www.emaxhealth.com/1275/stargardt-disease-center-embryonic-stem-cell-trial http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hematopoietic_stem_cell_transplantation ...read more.

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