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The Ethical Matters Related With Stem Cell Research (Essay Sample)


The task was to explore the stem cell technology especially its development and the ethical issues that arise from the application and advancement. The paper attached explores the historical background, the ethical issues and the rationale for regulation of the technology.


The Ethical Matters Related With Stem Cell Research
The Ethical Matters Related with Stem Cell Research
Stem cell research has had a series of changes and developments since the scientists and researchers noted the probabilities of not only saving lives through the propagation of stem cells, but also the possibilities of genetically engineering organisms from favored stem cells. In consideration, stem cells are biological cells found in complex organisms and have not gone through the differentiation stage. In addition, it is possible to differentiate them into specialized cells and tissues through initiated mitosis to produce more cells. Scientists identify two distinct categories of stem cells namely embryonic and adult stem cells. The extraction of these cells presents the major challenge that researchers and developers are apt to face in employing this technology. Stem cell technology combines the efforts of geneticists, cell biologists and clinicians in a bold move aimed at developing curative measures for different diseases.
Development of stem cell technology is traceable in the early nineteenth century. The first bone marrow transplant occurred effectively in 1968 paving way for further developments in the years that followed. Later in 1997, scientists discovered that Leukemia originated from the hematopoietic stems cells. Significant developments in stem cell technology occurred in 1998 after Thompson managed to isolate cells from the inner cell mass of select embryos to develop the first embryonic stem cell. In addition to this, scientists identified that they could use mouse tissues to produce different stem cells if manipulated. The results of these discoveries have thus influenced not only the development of stem cell research procedures but have also formed the basis of criticism against stem cell technology. Research in stem cell technology has registered significant milestones in the recent past albeit against an array of criticism from different groups. The major reasons for the controversy are therefore based on the definition of when life begins. It is important to note the controversy stems from the need to have scientists avoid the creation of human and other organisms through stem cells. On the contrary, it is notable that these critics do not have any reasons to criticize the use of stem cell technology in treatment of health conditions. Lanza (2009) notes that the criticism emanates from the question as to whether individuals should consider a blastocyst to be a human being.
Scientists acknowledge that a number of ethical issues affect the stem cell technology. These aspects are arguably the sources of the growing criticism and controversy the process has attracted. The developments in stem cell extractions and the applications in cloning are identifiable as other contributing factors. The application of stem cell technology involved the use of primate cells. Following the developments in primate research, researchers have subsequently used human subjects in studies and further development of stem cell procedures. Religious groupings especially the main stream churches have voiced their concern over the extraction of human tissues and their subsequent use in the development of other tissues citing negation of human rights and also going against the dictates of the bible. In essence, critics point out that the destruction of the blastocyst during the extraction of embryonic stem cells is the root source of the controversy surrounding stem cell technology (Thomas, 2013). This is because researchers consider the blastocyst a living organism even though it is in the early stages of development.
Scholars have studied the potential medical applications of the technology in recent past. Notably, there are a number of groups that implore scientists to hasten research in stem cell research and technology. Stem cell technology has a wide range of applications in medicine. According to Sarkar (2009), the advancement in the stem cell technology has brought together different disciplines and resulted in the creation of procedures of importance in medicine and other engineering processes. For instance, genetic engineering and the application of recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) technology has made it easy for scientists to create a number of cell cultured products. The treatment of some diseases using stem cell technology is traceable to early years of the development of the technology. For example, reports of transplants in bone marrow to cure certain conditions emerged in 1950. The most notable treatment involved correcting blood cell disorders using adult tissues in patients with faulty blood cells. Taken into consideration, the development and the demand for more regenerative medicine is a specific example of the significant impacts that the technology presents to medicine as a field. This is because regenerative medicine experts have continually considered the use of stem cell technology in different corrective measures. It is important to note that diseases such as Parkinson’s ailments are curable using advances in stem cell technology, additionally, researchers report having made laudable steps in identifying methods of applying stem cell technology in treating cancer.
The paradox in the application of stem cell technology is indeed an interesting aspect in that it is arguably a possible cause of controversy. It is important to observe that that the developments in stem cells extraction and reproduction of different cells have the potential to create equally good and unwarranted effects. One observable aspect of stem cell extraction is that persons can use the cells to save the life of a patient and also aid in creation of desired traits in an organism. However, researchers are capable of extracting the same cells and proceed to develop potentially harmful products based on the tissues from which they obtained the cells. For instance, research notes that individuals can employ the technology to conduct corrective CNS procedures on patients with such disorders (Battler and Leor, 2006). Based on this, it is notable that ethical and moral guiding principles have the potential to hinder effective curative measures.
Therefore, the main controversy surrounding stem cell technology stems from the ethical issues associated with the extraction of the cells that later generate the desired cells. Most importantly, scientists acknowledge that these are capable of taking any shape due the fact that they are not fully differentiated. According to Hug and Hermeren (2011), there are two moral issues that researchers and scientists have to choose from. These are the duty to prevent or to ease suffering and the duty of scientists to protect and respect human life. Interestingly, in cases where individuals use the embryonic stem cells, there is possibility to respect the moral principles. The arguments against stem cell research and application therefore follow religious teac...
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