Embryonic Stem Cell Research

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In 2008 we Michiganders voted in favor of proposal 2(ballotpedia).  This proposal was also known as "CureMichigan."  The proposal allowed the donation of embryos that would otherwise be discarded(ballotpedia).  This proposal also allowed researchers to create embryonic stem cell cultures, which they then could use to study diseases(ballotpedia).  Now with this vote in favor of the proposal we opened the door to a whole new level of medical advancements.  This proposal should remain legal in order to find cures for incurable diseases.

Embryonic Stem Cells are generally very early stage cells that have the ability to turn into other specialized types of cells.  For example, these stem cells can turn into liver, skin, and nerve cells(stem cells clearly explained).  These early stage cells can have many differing abilities.  By having these amazing abilities, embryonic stem cells are the future.   With these abilities, we will be able to regrow our own nerves after they are lost.  We will be able to regrow layers of skin, and have a new liver if ours fails.  It would be like we have a clone, but not to that extent.   On a very basic level stem cells are interesting.   We are trying to understand how cells store information and then turn into other cells with very different properties(stem cells clearly explained).  How a cell goes from type A to type B is part of discovering something about ourselves and the world we live in(stem cells clearly explained). Stem Cells are also being used for reasons other than disease orientated like simply knowing how cells change from one function to a another.    Stem cell research may also be useful for improvements on the quality of livestock and other animals.

Stem Cells are important for numerous reasons, which include potential therapeutic reasons like: cures for diabetes, brain diseases( Parkinson's Disease), and for treatments for cancer and/ or Multiple Sclerosis(stem cells clearly explained).  Opponents of the proposal claim stem cells are already being used to treat 73 diseases, but in fact 40 years of stem-cell research have resulted in only a handful of treatments winning federal approval(mlive.com-Embryonic stem cell research is ethical).  Tendon and ligament injuries present a major clinical challenge to orthopedic medicine.  In theUnited States, at least 200,000 patients undergo tendon or ligament repair each year(Israeli researchers).  Until the present time, therapeutic options used to repair torn ligaments and tendons have consisted of tissue grafting and synthetic prostheses.  Researchers implanted these cells into the torn Achilles tendons of rats, they found that the cells not only survived the implantation process, but also went to the site of the injury and were able to repair the tendon(Israeli researchers).  These cells changed their appearance to look more like tendon cells and which significantly increased the production of collagen, a protein critical for creating strong yet flexible tendons and ligaments(Israeli researchers).  With this knowledge, we are able to assume that this same process with work within human subjects.

Also, with these medical advancements, we might be able to fight death for some time longer.  It might not seem like a big deal, but what is the price of a few more months, maybe even a few more years, with your loved ones.  With advancements we might be able to find a quicker process for eliminating cancer.  In theUnited States, it is estimated that approximately 40,000 women will die from breast cancer(breastcancer.lifetips.com -12/01/09). Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death due to cancer, with lung cancer being the most common cause of death due to cancer. Even though, older women are more likely to get breast cancer, younger women are more likely to die from it(breastcancer.lifetips.com -12/01/09).  A family in my hometown is feeling the effects of breast cancer.   The mother of the family was given five months to live just in September.  We try to look at the positive side of the situation as that she will be able to spend one more Christmas with her family, but when we look at the negatives we see that she has three children.  One of them is a senior at Schoolcraft High School, and the other getting married this coming summer.  Now put yourself in the shoes of these kids, graduating from high school, maybe one of the biggest accomplishments of her lifetime and you look into the crowd where your parents are to be and you only see your father.   You are walking down the aisle with your father in hand and you look and see your future mother and father in law then you look and the seat that is to be accompanied by your mother is empty.  Now you are entering high school the greatest academic accomplishment so far and you look back after getting on the bus and no one is there.  Now what would it mean for a few more months or even years with your family.  With Stem Cell Research these things might not happen.

As with everything there are groups that say by using embryonic stem cells, we are killing the future youth of America.  They are saying that the embryos that we are getting the stem cells from are undeveloped children.  They say that we are not following the good book and listening to the ultimate plan that God has in store for us.  We are not to destroy any life, no-matter how small it is, no matter what the reason for it.

These points are very hard hitting but when does life start is something that we must ask ourselves.  When we look at cells we see that cells start as one undivided cell.  Now does life start before or after the cell begins to divide? This question is like asking, "what came first the chicken or the egg".  There is no clear answer to the question.  This is when we need to look at ourselves and ask ourselves this question. Life starts when the cells in the embryo begin to divide, that's when I believe that life starts.  With that being said we are not killing humans if we take stem cells before the cell begins to divide.

It is simple, what is the value of life.  The vote on proposal 2 in 2008 should remain legal.  With medical advancements showing up, we know that there is unexplored potential in this filed.  This research is going to save lives, it may not seem like it now, but it will.  We need to continue to support this research.  We also need to remember that these embryos are going to be discarded, so why not use them for the greater good.


Works Cited

Brinn, David. "Israeli Researchers Regenerate Torn Ligaments and Tendons with Stem Cells." Israel21c.com. israel21c, 9 Apr. 2006. Web. 10 Dec. 2009.

Conan-Davies, Richard, Dr. "Stem Cells Clearly Explained." StemCellsClearlyExplained.com. N.p., 8 June 2002. Web. 1 Dec. 2009. <http://clearlyexplained.com/‌nature/‌life/‌cells/‌stemcells.html>.

"How Many Women Die from Breast Cancer Each Year?" BreastCancer.LifeTips.com. Life Tips, n.d. Web. 2 Dec. 2009. <http://breastcancer.lifetips.com/‌faq/‌103415/‌0/‌how-many-women-die-from-breast-cancer-each-year/‌index.html>.

Johnson, Adrian. "Embryonic stem cell research is ethical, needed and should be expanded." Kalamazoo Gazette (Oct. 2008): n. pag. mLive.com. Web. 24 Nov. 2009. <http://www.mlive.com/‌opinion/‌kalamazoo/‌index.ssf/‌2008/‌10/‌embryonic_stem_cell_research_i.html>.

"Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research & Cures." Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research and Cures. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2009. <http://www.stemcellresearchformichigan.com/‌faq-policy.php>.

"Michigan Stem Cell Amendment, Proposal 2 (2008)." WWW.Ballotpedia.org. Ballotpedia, n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2009.

"Stem Cell." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2009. <http://en.wikipedia.org/‌wiki/‌Stem_cell>.