Stem Cell Research: Good Or Bad?

Thursday, March 11, 2010 ·

"Can the end ever justify the means? That is the proverbial question that surrounds the research and ground-breaking studies about Stem Cells.

But before we go on any further with our discussion, perhaps we need to get a better understanding about what stems cells are. Wikipedia defines Stem Cells are cells that are found in most multi-cellular organisms. They are cells that can be distinguished by two important characteristics: 1) self renewal or the ability to go through numerous cycles whil maintaining its undifferentiated state, and 2) potency or the capacity to differentiate into specialized cell types. To simplify further, stem cells are those cells that has the potential to regenerate tissues over a lifetime.

Over the years, scientists and researchers have proven that Adult Stem Cells are actually very essential in the treatment of diseases like Leukemia, Spinal Cord Injuries, Heart Disease, among others. With this, there is no question about the importance of continuously doing stem cell research because we are seeing that they are beneficial in treating diseases. To give a concrete example, a research study was conducted about adult stem cells at the University of Houston by Dr. Robert Schwartz. Dr. Schwarts found out that skin cells can be implanted and regrown into developed beating heart beat cells to repair the damages caused by heart attacks.

Scientific and medical procedures involving adult stem cells do not lead to questions because the cells used in the curement of disease are taken from adults. There are, however, other lots of studies that involve the use of embryonic stem cells. Undoubtedly, these types of studies stirred up debates and discussions because the embryonic stem cells used in the studies are harvested from live human embryos. As a result, the human embryos are destroyed in the process. And because of this, it is but natural that pro-life organizations and churches disagree with continuing the studies about it. Besides, there are no proven treatments yet discovered out of embryonic stem cells studies.

Living in this fast-paced technologies and lots of ground-breaking scientific discoveries, I could not help but wonder about what is more that man will achieve in the coming years. As man continues to look for ways to improve and prolong his life, I am leaving you with the main question raised at a movie presentation about Stem Cells research:

To what extent can we use another human life to help our own?

May it be that we will always discern to think and to do what is right according to God's judgement.


Sheri said...
Sat Mar 20, 04:18:00 PM  

I think that stem cell usage and research is essential for us all. However, I don't think that getting them from unborns is a very ethical procedure. Stem cells from the umbillical cord (after birth) is a better option in my opinion. It will be interesting to see where this whole field of medicine goes in the next 10 to 20 years.

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