Issues Surrounding Stem Cell Research
One of the main arguments centered against the use of stem cells in medical research programs is due to their supposed origins, namely human embryos that are in the early stages of their development. Subsequent extraction of embryonic stem cells is considered by several groups as a violation of the right to life since the embryos are being denied the right to exist in order for the stem cells to be extracted (Sterneckert, Reinhardt, and Schöler 627). The main problem with these arguments is that they consider embryos as being the equivalent of human beings. While it is undeniable that embryos are, in a sense, “alive,” they cannot really be considered as being human.
For instance, skin flakes that come off a person have human DNA and cells, but that does not make them human. A human being, in essence, is a concept that is manifests as a direct result of the accumulation of trillions of cells working in conjunction with one another, which have a requisite level of experience and knowledge accumulated through interaction with the outside world. It is this accumulation of cells and experience that creates a human being; since an embryo has no way of developing experience and is composed of only parts of a whole, it cannot be stated that it is equivalent to the entirety of a whole (Debaets 189). However, several religious and human rights organizations consider embryos as being more than just a collection of cells and consider it as being human, this resulted in the present-day debate involving the use of stem cells in medical research and treatment.
Using Stem Cells to Cure Disease
Stem cells show incredible potential in curing a wide variety of different diseases based on their capacity to transform into different types of cells. For instance, diseases that impact the nerves or cause muscle deterioration could potentially be cured by having the dead nerves and muscle tissue replaced with new cells via stem cells (Chan, Wong, and Lee 634). Not only that, but stem cells have also been shown as having the potential to help regrow tissue that was once thought of as being impossible to replace, such as arms, brain cells, eyes, and even certain organs (McHale and Lander 4). From a medical research point of view, stem cells could be a potential panacea for a wide variety of different medical issues that exist today. This means that if current public resistance towards their use was to disappear, new advances in medical research could develop unopposed, resulting in a literal “boom” in new medical treatments.
Impact of Religion on Views
There should be a distinct separation between medical science and religion when it comes to the implementation of a wide variety of different treatments. Simply put, my religious views have no impact whatsoever on how I view stem cell research. In fact, I highly encourage the continued exploration of this facet of medical research, given its potential in revolutionizing how we view medical treatments.
Government Funding in Stem Cell Research
After seeing the potential that stem cell research could have in medicine, governments should definitely start funding stem cell research projects. Unfortunately, with present-day public resistance towards this type of research, it is unlikely that substantiate government funding will be provided in the future (Williams 319). Fortunately, there are private companies that are researching stem cells, and it is likely that new breakthroughs will be seen in the future (Doan 4).
Chan, Albert Wai-Kit, Alice Yuen-Ting Wong, and Hon-Man Lee. “A Patent Perspective On US Stem Cell Research.” Nature Biotechnology 32.7 (2014): 633-637. Print
Debaets, Amy Michelle. “Patents, Royalties, And Publicly Funded Stem Cell Research.” Ethics & Medicine: An International Journal Of Bioethics 21.3 (2005): 188-190. Print
Doan, Alesha E. “Creating Frankenstein: Morality, Politics And Stem Cell Research.” Conference Papers — Midwestern Political Science Association (2007): 1-28. Print
McHale, Peter T., and Arthur D. Lander. “The Protective Role Of Symmetric Stem Cell Division On The Accumulation Of Heritable Damage.” Plos Computational Biology 10.8 (2014): 1-12. Print
Sterneckert, Jared L., Peter Reinhardt, and Hans R. Schöler. “Investigating Human Disease Using Stem Cell Models.” Nature Reviews Genetics 15.9 (2014): 625- 639. Print
Williams, Ros. “Cords Of Collaboration: Interests And Ethnicity In The UK’s Public Stem Cell Inventory.” New Genetics & Society 34.3 (2015): 319-337. Print