Genetic Engineering - Cloning, DNA, Stem Cells Pros and Cons
Molecular genetics


The future technology

Pros and Cons of Stem Cell research

What are the potential benefits of stem cell research?

lab experiment

Imagine a world where transplants could be done without the sacrifice of another person losing an organ. This world exists only within the boundaries of stem cell research.

What stem cell research strives to achieve is the cultivation and nurturement of stem cells, the basic cell of the body, enabling it to be reproduced to other specific parts of the body. The implications are obvious. Limbs and organs could be grown from scratch in a lab then used in transplants or to cure illnesses.

By providing the raw material for virtually every kind of human tissue, new treatments for a wide range of human diseases including diabetes, heart disease, some forms of cancer, and Parkinson's disease can now be developed.

This research also benefits the study of development events that cannot be studied directly in a human embryo, which would cause major clinical consequences such as birth defects, infertility and pregnancy loss.

A more complete understanding of normal development will ultimately allow the prevention or treatment of abnormal human development.

Another advantage is the ability to test millions of potential drugs and medicine, without the use of animals or human testers. This requires a process of simulating the effect the drug has on a specific population of cells. This would tell if the drug is useful or problematic.

How Stem Cell Research Benefits Medical Treatments

  1. Current Treatments
  2. Potential Treatments - Brain, Spinal Cord
  3. Potential Treatments - Muscle, Heart, Low Blood Supply
  4. Potential Treatments - Baldness, Missing Teeth and Blindness
  5. ALS Potential Treatment and Stem Cells in Animals

Cons of Stem Cell Research

There are no problems surrounding the method of research. However, the problem lies in the source of the stem cells. As explained in the methods section, the stem cells are either obtained from pluripotent cells in human embryos or fetuses.

This leads to many under handed means to obtain the embryos or fetus, causing problems in the "organs black market". This entire situation gives rise to the illegal sale of the embryos or fetus by doctors. The research in stem cells have also raised many religious and social issues (see Issues).

Adapted from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/About/primer/genetics_cell.html

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