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This paper explores the pros and cons of using embryonic stem cells. It also discusses and explains why embryonic stem cells are more effective than adult stem cells. There are many advantages in using embryonic stem cells versus adult stem cells. The First main topic discusses what a stem cell is, and the major difference between an embryonic stem cell and an adult stem cell. The second topic explains why embryonic stem cells are more beneficial, and why researchers should be allowed to use embryonic stem cells in their research. The last topic goes over why adult stem cells are not that effective, and why embryonic stem cells are better suited for treating different cancers or testing different drugs. The conclusion of this paper provides a final thought of why embryonic stem cells are a better choice over adult stem cells.
Embryonic Stem Are Superior to Adult Stem Cells
When it comes to the human body, one of the most important components that make up the body are stem cells. According to the University of Kansas Medical Center, All stem cells, no matter what part of the body they come from, are unspecialized cells that ascend to more specialized cells. Stem cells can become over two hundred specialized cells in the body. They served as the body's refurbishing system by renewing themselves and replenishing more specialized cells in the body (Stem Cell Research, 2010). Basically, stem cells are what you need to live. For an example, in the winter, humans' skin starts to get dry because of the coldness and low moisture in the air. When humans' skin begins to flake off, stem cells are the key factor in making more skin. Humans have layers upon layers of skin, at the very bottom layer there are little stem cells working hard to produce new skin and help push those new cells to the top layers on the skin once the dry flakes fall off. There are also numerous of other stem cells all through out a humans' body. At this point it is important to explain there are two different types of stem cells, embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. This paper will explain why embryonic stem cells are more officiate than adult stem cells.
To begin, there are a few differences between embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. According to Huntington, Embryonic stem cells are taken from the very early stages of embryo development and can give rise to all of the cells of the human body, except the placenta and other supportive tissues in the womb. Adult stem cells are found in the tissues of a fully developed child or adult and can only produce a limited number a cell types (Huntington, 2003). Just by looking at that wonderful explanation by Huntington, it is easy to understand why embryonic stem cells are superior. They become whatever cell you want them to become, where as adult stem cells have limited abilities and can only become what they already are. For example, if stem cells are taken from an adult human's liver, those cells can only become liver stem cells. Where as, if a scientist took embryonic stem cells from an embryo, it can be turned into whatever cell the scientist wants it to become, and then place it into a human in need of that certain stem cell.
In contrast, the embryonic stem cells have major advantages over adult stem cells. According to The Truth About Embryonic Stem Cell Research, the advantages of embryonic stem cells are that they are easier to make, manipulate, and find. These advantages help scientist to obtain the stem cells fairly easy. Adult stem cells are not that easy to find, they are hard to culture, and manipulate (The Truth, n.d.). According to Doctor Melanie McDowall, the capability to become any cell type is what could make embryonic stem cells a practical tool for the treatment of any illnesses and disorders in humans, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, spinal cord injuries, even heart disease (McDowall, 2007). There has been a study done by Australian researchers, Professor Andrew Elefanty and Professor Ed Stanley, based at the Monash University in Melbourne. In their study, they have injected a rat with embryonic stem cells. As part of their research they introduced a glowing agent into the stem cells so that they could watch these enhanced stem cells as they moved throughout the rats' body. They performed this modification because they wanted to see when the stem cells would turn on and off, and if they found their way to the correct organ that the stem cell was programmed to find. Elefanty and Standley were pleased to find their experiment worked (Clark, 2009). Embryonic stem cells are quite amazing. Who knew that a simple cell could basically be programmed to cure a disease, re-grow an organ, or simply produce things that our body can no longer produce. The human body is an amazing object.
On the other hand, the whole debate about embryonic stem cells is very controversial. Many people believe that utilizing embryonic stem cells is morally wrong. They have a hard time understanding the positive benefits of these stem cells over their religious beliefs. Most states in the United States have banned the use of embryonic stem cells for research. Many states have allowed the use of adult stem cells because there is not as much controversy with their use. There are, however, a few states that do allow scientists to perform research using embryonic stem cells. According to Joyce Howard Price, a Washington Time writer, to date, at least six states - California, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Wisconsin - have encouraged embryonic stem cell research or set aside money for it (Price, 2007). Shockingly, these states offer millions of dollars for the research on embryonic stem cells. People may not realize that scientists often use embryonic cells to test different medicines, before they perform the tests on animals or humans. A question that people that oppose stem cell research have to ask themselves is, would people rather let animals and humans die, or have simple stem cells take the hit from the new drug?
Certainly the controversy about stem cells is a lot to handle, but according to Stem Cell 101, Embryonic Stem Cells are generated from fertilized, frozen eggs from invitro fertilization clinics; they are not derived from eggs fertilized in a woman's body. Women who donate their eggs are fully informed about everything that is happening. The mothers donate their eggs because of three main reasons. No more desire for more children. The mother does not want to continue with storage. Or the mothers do not want to give the eggs up for adoption. If not used for research, they would have to be discarded (Stem Cells 101, 2009). Many people probably do not know about this interesting fact. Most people think of embryonic stem cells as killing babies. The truth is, these embryos did not have a life to begin with. They did not have a beating heart, or eyes, or a brain. They were just merely eggs that were fertilized sitting in a bank waiting to get picked by a mother so that she can start developing them herself. Without a mother, these eggs are just, well eggs.
On the other hand, adult stem cells are completely different. These cells come from living human beings. They are called "adult" stem cells, but they can be taken from children too. There are many disadvantages to adult stem cells, as listed previously, they are hard to obtain, hard to culture, and hard to manipulate. In addition, adult stem cells are not as versatile and cannot take the form of whatever cells someone needs. If cells are taken from a muscle, those cells will stay muscle, same holds true with bone cells, liver cells, and even blood cells. According to Huntington, adult stem cells are difficult to identify (Huntington, 2004). So what does someone do if a stem cell they believe was obtained from muscle tissue was given to a patient who was having heart problems, in hopes that a doctor can place these muscle cells into the patient's heart to make the heart stronger, and then they find out that the cells were actually cartilage cells? The consequence of this type of mistake is deadly, and it is all because the adult stem cells were hard to identify. However, if embryonic stem cells were injected into the patient, those cells would know to go to the heart and "become" a muscle and make that heart stronger, and not kill the patient.
All in all, there will always be conflict between which stem cell is better. Are embryonic stem cells better or adult stem cells? You make the choice. Hopefully after reading this paper, everyone will aim towards embryonic stem cells. It is true that most people believe in what they hear, but if someone wants the real facts about something, they need to do some research themselves to make their decision. Obtaining embryonic stem cells does not necessarily mean that scientists are killing babies, and adult stem cells are not the "safe way" in obtaining stem cells. Taking the wrong one out can actually do more harm then good to a person. Research demonstrates the safest way to heal someone, grow new body parts, or even organs, is to use embryonic stem cells. In the end it is your choice.