Stem cells have given much hope by promising to significantly increase the numbers and range of patients who could gain from transplants and to offer cell replacement remedies to treat unbearable illnesses such-as diabetes, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s ailment. The subject concerning stem cells is politically charged, quickening environmentalists to start taking part in ethical debates and other aspects of biology. There is a long way to go in stem cell research before new treatments are established, and the pressure is on for biologists and clinical experts to deliver.
Stem cells are the vital cells for every tissue and organ in our bodies. The highly specialized cells that constitute these tissues initially originated from the original pool-of stem cells produced soon after fertilization. All through our lives, we continue to depend on stem cells to substitute injured cells and tissues that are lost on a daily basis, like those in our blood, skin, hair and our gut lining. Stem cells have two major properties i.e. the capacity to self-renew; segregating in a way that makes replicas of themselves and the facility to differentiate; giving rise to the full-grown kinds of cells that constitute our tissues and organs.
Until lately, scientists principally worked with two types of stem cells from human beings and animals, these two stem cells are:
Tissue-specific stem cells
Tissue-specific stem cells, which are also known as an adult or somatic stem cells, are to some extent specialized and can generate some or all of the full-grown cell types found within the specific tissue or organ where they exist in. Because of their capacity to produce multiple, organ-specific, cell types, they are referred to as multipotent. Tissue-specific stem cells have been seen in numerous organs that have to constantly renew themselves, for instance, the blood, skin, and gut, and have even been found in other, less regenerative organs like the brain.
Embryonic stem cells
Embryonic stem cells have been emanated from a range of species, including humans, and are defined as pluripotent, meaning that they can produce all the dissimilar kinds of cells in the body. Embryonic stem cells can be found from the blastocyst; a very early phase of development that is made up of mostly void balls of around 150-200 cells and is hardly visible to the naked eye (Lovell, 2001, p. 89). Unlike tissue-specific (adult) stem cells, embryonic stem cells have the ability to produce each cell type found in the body.
In current years, stem cells have been the focus of rising scientific interest because of their usefulness in several biomedical applications. Stem cells are able to replenish themselves; they are characterized by two vital abilities: they have the ability to produce indistinguishable copies of themselves or self-replenish, and they give rise to dissimilar cell types (Davila & Cezar, 2004, p. 217). Today, there are numerous debates concerning stem cell research. The greatest deliberation is about the potential advantage of stem cells in medicine and the ethical dilemma linked with embryonic stem cell research.
According to the Donaldson Report, a stem cell is an unspecialized cell at a premature phase of development. Under specific circumstances, stem cells can segregate and differentiate into a big number of cell types that consist of the organs and tissues of the body (Alikani, 2007, p. 8). In addition, Stem cells have pros and cons: to comprehend the pros and cons of stem cell research, one should first comprehend where stem cells originate from. There are 3 major sources for acquiring stem cells.
Somatic stem cells are extorted from the peripheral or from the bone-marrow while embryonic stem cells are extorted from an embryo before they are differentiated from the cells of the embryo. At this phase, the embryo is known as a blastocyst (Meyer, 2000, p. 168). The pros and cons of stem cell research surface when people learn about embryonic cells. Those who appreciate human life from the time of conception, go up against embryonic stem cell research since the removal of stem cells from this kind of embryo necessitates its obliteration. In other words, it requires that human life be destroyed (Nippert, 2002, p. 57). According to diverse people, this is murder. Individuals who support Embryonic research claim that the small “blastocyst” does not have characteristics of human beings.
Up to now, all pro and con arguments that are believable have been proposed in the public debate and there are no new important arguments currently on the horizon. No agreement has been attained and perhaps never will. The future of embryonic stem cell research using SCNR methods will probably eventually be decided by the development research will make in the lenient nations. Some nations that are restraining at present, for instance, The Netherlands and perhaps France and Italy, seem to want to leave an entry open to the possibility to enter this research field. Given the present situation of deep opposition on whether or not to allow the formation of embryos for stem cell research, it is intricate to foresee which values will in the end triumph in the decision-making process presently in progress and whether or not synchronization of legislation on this matter will ever be realized in Europe.
Alikani, M. (2007). The debate surrounding human embryonic stem cell research in the USA. Reproductive Biomedicine, 89 (1) 7-10.
Davila, J. & Cezar, G. (2004). Use and Application of Stem Cells in Toxicology. Toxicological sciences, 79 (1), 214–223.
Lovell, R. (2001).The future for stem cell research. Division of Developmental Genetics, MRC National Institute for Medical Research, 74 (1) 88-91.
Meyer, J. (2000). Human embryonic stem cells and respect for life. Journal of Medical Ethics, 26 (1) 166–170.
Nippert, I. (2002). The pros and cons of human therapeutic cloning in the public debate. Journal of Biotechnology, 98 (1) 53–60.