Stem Cell Research Issue
In the quest for new discoveries that can offer solutions to the devastating problems facing the world today, scientists are rigorously engaging in research that can provide solutions to these unfortunate circumstances. One of the on going researches that carry such hope is stem cell research. For understanding, stem cells are undifferentiated or unspecialized or blank cells in the human body with potential to develop into specialized cells that can form differentiated organs such as the brain, kidney, liver and heart (Chapman, Frankel and Garfinkel, 1). Despite controversies surrounding stem cell research, (former President George Bush is one of the opponents) I feel that the risks outweigh the benefits and therefore it needs to be supported with federal funding considering that it is a very expensive project.. Embryonic stem cells have a huge potential to provide a lasting cure to congenital diseases, organ transplants, infertility and birth defects.
In his address on stem cell research in August 9, 2001, former president of the US George W. Bush expresses opposition towards the stem cell research. Bush defends his argument on the basis that use of embryonic stem cells destroys life. He expresses emotional anguish on whether ethics should be sacrificed for scientific benefits. Bush, a rigid conservative in his own right, further asserts that the only research on stem cells that can continue is on those lines that existed from prior to his speech and scientists should venture into adult, placenta and umbilical cord stem cells. Bush' criticism on stem cell research is out rightly insincere and less factual. There are major therapeutic benefits for diseases such as leukemia, which attacks almost 34,000 people every year in the United States alone (The National Academies, 19). Embryonic stem cells can be used to regenerate white blood cells that are destroyed in this disease. The same is applicable in Parkinson's disease, where the brain can be regenerated and in many other disorders like juvenile diabetes, spinal disorders, and Alzheimer's diseases among others. What is more important? To protect blank cells that may really not grow into a desired human form on their own and let the sick human beings die or to use these cells in developing cures for the ailments? Concerning Bush speculation that other stem cells rather than the embryonic can be used, it should be known that research has proven the other stem cells to equally have potential but they are short lived and that is why the embryonic stem cells are more preferred. Moreover, due to their prior undifferentiated state, embryonic stem cells can develop to any form as compared to the others which may have limitations,(Forman, 4) like you cannot expect a placental stem cell to develop brain tissue. Isn't that simple logic? It should be known that stem cells are not considered to be individual living beings and their use should not be looked upon as exploitative or destructive. Supporters of stem cell research include President Barack Obama who pledged support for the research (Lawrence) but restricted any attempts to human cloning.
Embryonic stem cell research should be considered as using life to save other lives rather than destroying lives to benefit others. While we sit and argue on whether it is right or wrong to use stem cells in developing cures, other people are dying at the verge of potentiality that we have refused to exploit. In summary ethical, religious and personal views have a place in the society but they should be used to judge both sides of the coin. For instance, I would argue that it is ethically wrong to let someone die of diabetes when an embryonic stem cell could readily make a functioning pancreas for him. Let's put aside the wars and urge the government to offer federal funding for stem cell research.