Stem cell therapy is undoubtedly the most innovative treatment that is currently available. But it is easy to miss out on some important facts if you base your judgment on the controversies revolving around it.
You need to understand clearly that a lot of research is still going on to find out the limit this treatment can go without leaving out the potential benefits and threats. In this article, I’m going to take you through some few things you need to know about stem cells.
How are embryonic stem cells obtained? Does the procedure defy ethics?
An embryonic stem cell is simply a product of the embryo. But to get a working stem cell, the embryo must be obtained after the egg of a woman is fertilized by the sperm from a man. The fertilization can be achieved either in a laboratory or the body of a woman.
If the embryos that are obtained via a laboratory procedure aren’t placed in the womb of a woman, then they can be used for medical research. Instead of throwing them away, scientists choose to harvest these eggs from which they obtain the stem cells.
What to keep in mind is that stem cells are never acquired from the fertilized eggs that are inside the human body. They are obtained from a laboratory and multiplied using cell cultures. Once obtained, they are frozen and shipped to wherever they are needed for treatment.
Other sources for stem cells
Adult stem cells are also useful but are only used to reproduce cells of their kind. For example, if the adult stem cells are muscle cells, they can only differentiate to form muscle cells. However, some studies have shown that contrary to what the scientist are claiming, adult stem cells just like embryonic stem cells can differentiate into other cells, but this is yet to be confirmed. On the other hand, embryonic stem cells have the ability to differentiate into all kinds of cells.
Why is the world so concerned about stem cells?
Simple, stem cells have the ability to differentiate into other kinds of cells. This makes them quite useful in solving many other health complications affecting humans today. However, there are a few of those who don’t fully accept the use of embryonic stem cells due to other ethical issues. Due to this, President Bush decided to restrict the research to stem cell sources that are existing.
The objective of stem cell research
Scientists are more interested in their ability to differentiate. The main reasons embryo makes the main target is the fact that it can create all kinds of human body cells. But to achieve this procedure, scientist are trying to figure out how genes make a decision of creating specific kinds of cells.
They are also more interested in the information targeting the change in cell development. Figuring out all these will help them come up with cures for birth defects as well as cancers. However, all this depends on several issues that need to be addressed by both the government and the scientists.