Essays academic service


Embryo stem cell research ten years of controversy

Other benefits for the future: Benefits and Future Hopes" The health and social impact that some maintain would result from findings of a treatment and cure for the below ailments and diseases A cure for diabetes would have a massive social impact, according to some sources: It is the sixth leading cause of death, lowering average life expectancy by up to 15 years. It is the leading cause of kidney failure, lower limb amputations, and adult-onset blindness, and adults with diabetes have heart disease death rates two to four times higher than persons without diabetes.

The estimated total financial cost for diabetes in the U. This all makes the potential health and social benefits of stem cell research substantial, if it were to lead to something of a cure for diabetes. The current cost of Alzheimer's disease to American society, which some sources argue would be eliminated through the discovery of a cure through stem cell research: Moreover, the rapid aging of the American population threatens to increase this burden significantly in the coming decades.

Demographic studies suggest that if current trends hold, the annual number of incident cases of AD will begin to sharply increase around the year 2030, when all the baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 will be over age 65.

  • The debate surrounding embryo stem cell research is just one example illustrating how controversies about innovation often centre not so much on present scientific facts as on speculations about risks and benefits in the future;
  • Only embryos with no disease genes are chosen for implantation;
  • Benefits and Future Hopes" The health and social impact that some maintain would result from findings of a treatment and cure for the below ailments and diseases A cure for diabetes would have a massive social impact, according to some sources:

By the year 2050, the number of Americans with AD could rise to some 13. He said he expected, for example, drug development to make big strides by allowing pharma companies to test novel compounds on specific tissue types derived from stem cells. Potential drugs made of chemical or biological compounds can be tested in cultures of pure populations of cells that are specifically related to or affected by the disease. For example, the dopamine-producing neurons implicated in Parkinson's disease might be made from hESC lines and stored in quantity.

Treating the neurons and measuring their response would quickly sort out which chemicals work best. Thousands of potential drugs tested in this fashion would speed up drug discovery.

External links

Existing pharmaceuticals could be refined and improved in the same fashion. Although most drugs are manufactured outside the body, gene therapy takes a different approach: The potential success depends not only on the gene's delivery into the appropriate cells, but also on the gene's ability to function properly.

Both requirements pose considerable technical challenges. Noninfectious viruses are used to deliver the gene, just like ordinary viruses infect cells. Unfortunately, this method is imprecise and also limited to the specific types of cells the virus can infect. If the proteins aren't produced efficiently or the transformed cells eventually die of old age, then repeated rounds of therapy are needed.

Gene therapy can be improved by using stem cells. Because stem cells self-renew, they can reduce the need for repeated rounds of therapy. Blood-forming stem cells are especially good choices for delivering drugs because they are easily removed from -- and reintroduced into -- the body, and once in the body they home in on certain organs and structures such as marrow, spleen, and thymus.

Dozens of human clinical trials have used HSCs to deliver therapeutic agents such as interferon to patients suffering from blood and solid-tumor cancers as opposed to cancers of the bloodanemias, and immune diseases such as SCID and HIV. In some cases the results have been promising, extending the lives of terminally ill patients. Cell-to-cell fusion -- one of the phenomena behind apparent stem cell plasticity -- might also be a way to deliver a therapeutic gene.

Framing the future of embryo stem cell research: potential and problems

Four days after fertilization, while still in a laboratory dish, an eight-cell embryo is grasped gently by light suction and a single cell is removed with a pipette. The embryo recovers with a quick round of cell division.

The DNA in the cell is extracted and then tested with a genetic probe for the disease in question. The test ascertains whether the embryo has no disease genes, is a 'carrier' with one disease gene and one normal gene, or has both copies of the gene and will therefore develop the disease.

Only embryos with no disease genes are chosen for implantation. Parents who carry the gene, or who have family histories of the disease, can use PGD to avoid having an affected child.

  • If a stem cell therapy can cure, they argue, then all the downstream costs of caring for chronic illness go away;
  • The closer the HLA match either from family members or from outside donors , the less the chance that rejection will be a problem;
  • John Gearhart, of Johns Hopkins University said, "I personally feel that the beauty of these cells is that we'll learn a lot about human biology and disease processes, and that that information will be more important than the cells themselves;
  • The closer the HLA match either from family members or from outside donors , the less the chance that rejection will be a problem.

PGD has emerged as a tool for parents whose only other option would be to test abnormalities during fetal development. In most cases, PGD enables the family to avoid the difficult decision of whether or not to end a late stage pregnancy. John Gearhart, of Johns Hopkins University said, "I personally feel that the beauty of these cells is that we'll learn a lot about human biology and disease processes, and that that information will be more important than the cells themselves.

Rather than discarding donated embryos that test positive for defects, a clinic at the Reproductive Genetics Institute in Chicago has developed over 30 hESC lines by transferring the defective nucleus into enucleated eggs.

These stem cell lines, each with a different genetic disease, are now available to researchers who can use them as an in vitro model. Observing how these cells behave compared to normal cells will help identify how certain diseases begin, progress, and affect healthy tissue. Not only are the disease-causing genes and their proteins identified, this also opens up possibilities for designing drugs that reverse or treat the problem.

From Chapter 7 of Christopher Thomas Scott's book "Stem Cell Now" - "Other experts contend that individual treatments are feasible, and that once competition heats up, market forces will conspire to bring down prices. If a stem cell therapy can cure, they argue, then all the downstream costs of caring for chronic illness go away. A high initial price for injecting stem cells would be more than offset by future medical savings.

The banks would use a test called HLA histocompatibility antigens typing to match donor and recipient genes, minimizing tissue rejection. The closer the HLA match either from family members or from outside donorsthe less the chance that rejection will be a problem. A similar list of donors already exists.

Debate: Federal funding for embryonic stem cell research

There may be major obstacles to stem-cell use in therapy and transplant treatments, according to Lord Winston, the current president of the British Association for the Advancement of Scienceneurological embryo stem cell research ten years of controversy to the BBC.

He said in 2005 that unless a number of issues are resolved, stem-cells with "result in unsuccessful therapies" BBC's wording. The BBC summarized the problems he presented, writing "He points to their low cell-cycle time, leading to slow replication in culture and the fact there might be selective pressure for the faster growing, but possibly abnormal cells, to dominate a culture system. He also highlights the instability of embryonic cells in general and "their remarkable propensity to produce abnormal numbers of chromosomes.

Alzheimers may be "insoluble" with stem cell treatment - BBC Lord Winston to the BBC - "I was concerned that parliamentarians - particularly in the House of Commons - have been convinced that it was just a matter of a few years before we would be able to transplant stem cells and cure a lot of neurological disorders, like Alzheimer's disease, for which I think it is going to be a hugely difficult problem and probably completely insoluble by stem cells.

In Chapter 7 of Christopher Thomas Scott's book Stem Cells Nowhe draws a hypothetical timeline of the testing, development, and final application of stem cells in treatments, concluding that it would take 14 years from 2006 for that process to be completed and for the the FDA to approve the first cell therapy for use in clinics.

While this point does not necessarily degrade the potential benefits of embryonic stem cell research, it was aimed to quel views that the benefits would arrive quickly.

Connect With Us!

Some non-stem cell treatment approaches have been growing rapidly, which may reduce the marginal benefit stem cells provide. Stem cells are involved in assisting cancer's proliferation.

In addition, some stem cells may even act as cancer stem cells CSC. Wikipedia - Stem Call Research This was first revealed in 1997 when Leukemia was shown to originate from a haematopoietic stem cell.

  • He also highlights the instability of embryonic cells in general and "their remarkable propensity to produce abnormal numbers of chromosomes;
  • Alzheimers may be "insoluble" with stem cell treatment - BBC Lord Winston to the BBC - "I was concerned that parliamentarians - particularly in the House of Commons - have been convinced that it was just a matter of a few years before we would be able to transplant stem cells and cure a lot of neurological disorders, like Alzheimer's disease, for which I think it is going to be a hugely difficult problem and probably completely insoluble by stem cells;
  • Alzheimers may be "insoluble" with stem cell treatment - BBC Lord Winston to the BBC - "I was concerned that parliamentarians - particularly in the House of Commons - have been convinced that it was just a matter of a few years before we would be able to transplant stem cells and cure a lot of neurological disorders, like Alzheimer's disease, for which I think it is going to be a hugely difficult problem and probably completely insoluble by stem cells;
  • Stem cells are involved in assisting cancer's proliferation;
  • For example, when the South Korean scientist, Woo-Suk Hwang announced major advances in stem cell research in 2004 and 2005 these were welcomed as a major landmark — hope made flesh.