Stem cells are those types of cells in the human body that have the capability to differentiate itself into any specialized cell that fits perfectly for a certain function.
In the early stages of life, these cells are very important as it helps the body organs and system to properly grow. These stem cells are considered as “internal repair system” of the human body.
Stem Cell Research is a new field in medical science, which involves planting the healthy stem cells and developing them into different types of cells found in the human body including brain and blood cells.
Apart from that stem cell research proved to be useful as it helps to treat some of the serious diseases like degenerative disease, heart disease, or Parkinson’s disease even if your body organ is damaged with the help of this therapy there is a possibility to grow your organ back.
Like all new sciences, there is great potential to do harm as well as provide benefits to future generation’s health and wellbeing. It is, therefore, not surprising that the Pros and Cons of Stem Cell Research is still a very heated and debated issue amongst scientific researchers, moral activist groups, religious groups, and governments. Here is the list of the pros and cons of stem cell research.
Post Content - In Short
- Pros of Stem Cell Research
- Cons of Stem Cell Research
Pros of Stem Cell Research
1. Supports Medical Treatment
One of the biggest breakthroughs in cell biology is extracting stem cells from human embryos. The characteristics of stem cells to differentiate themselves among many types of cell makes it more reliable.
Scientists and researchers take it as the greatest achievement in the field of medical treatment. They believe that the use of stem cells will provide cures for diabetes, spinal cord injury, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and immune system disorder.
2. Low Risk of Rejection
The transplant of the stem cells is performed in order to cure the diseases. Stem cells are genetically and physiologically the cells of the patient’s own body.
When the cells are transferred into various therapies it has a low risk of rejection because the cells are taken from the individual needing treatment. This limits the immunosuppressant treatments to maintain a positive quality of life in the future.
3. Regenerative Properties
The regenerative potential of stem cells makes them valuable for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, injuries or damage to tissue. As we know stem cells have the capacity to replicate and transform into specialized cells, isolating bone stem cells, which helps regenerate and grow bone cells providing them with required factors and growth factors.
They repair heart muscle, repair torn tendons or ligaments and even attacking cancers or viruses. They transplant the pancreatic cell to improve the insulin production for diabetic patients.
4. Advance Study of Cell Biology
Stem cell research helped scientists study and research more about cell biology. It helps to understand the cellular regeneration and how diseases work, or what damages the cells that lead to illness.
The information gathered from the research helps to replicate the transformation process in vitro (the technique of performing a given procedure in a controlled environment outside of a living organism). It provides the world the correct weapon to combat disease, extending life expectancy to a certain extent.
5. Detects Reason for Pregnancy Loss
There are many infant deaths in the current world that we are aware of. Mostly miscarriage occurs during the embryonic stage of development, they can extract the embryonic stem cell and research about the defect and the problem occurred during pregnancy.
This helps scientists pinpoint the genetic defects and underlying causes that lead to the loss in early trimester by looking at properties of embryonic stem cells within.
6. Replicates in Bulk
As they can replicate and regenerate stem cells that can be used for research as well as treatment purposes. It takes a few stem cells to create probably trillions of cells that are required to a certain treatment. The stem cells can be cultured in the lab and can be used for experiments and research.
7. Better Quality of Life
Stem cell research will ultimately allow people to not only live longer but, hopefully, live much healthier lives, in which normal problems related to age will not cause a person to lose their quality of life.
For example, people with arthritis may be able to have this cured, and consequently, they will be able to walk well into their 90s without assistance.
8. No Need to Experiment on Animals
Once they extract the stem cells from the embryo or the body, they can replicate itself in bulk. The needed stem cells can be used for the treatment and the rest can be used for the research process.
In this way the experiment results might be more authentic cause human cell is used rather than experimented on animal cell. Animals will no longer be a puppet for this type of biological experiments.
Cons of Stem Cell Research
1. High Rejection Rate
Embryonic stem cells are harvested from blastocysts or embryos, they are not a patient’s body cells and may be rejected. Some of them don’t respond to the activation sequences as intended.
On the other hand, adult stem cells do not pose a risk of rejection as they are a patient’s cells. This even has the risk of generating tumors on some patients as well.
2. Ethical Concern
One of the most vital components required for embryonic stem cell research is blastocyst, which is known as embryo obtained from human egg fertilization.
People believe as the life forming the concept and consider it equal to murder, which is immoral even used with good intentions. This type of therapy is prohibited in many countries and many religions.
3. Intentionally Harvesting
Stem cells are known to be found in adults through umbilical cord blood and in the dental pulp of the babies, these stem cells are relatively less available than embryonic stem cells and are much older.
So intentionally people might start the black market for embryonic stem cells, though it raises some ethical questions. Women might start harvesting embryonic stem cells by getting pregnant intentionally. These issues might generate negative activities and impressions on people about stem cell therapy.
4. Long Term Side-Effects
Many people around the globe are receiving this treatment every year, the rate of success is also high. We only know about short term side effects, like is transplanted successful or not, but in the long run, such therapies might have consequences.
Some issues and cases of illness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, etc. were reported by the patient who was declared healthy. The concerned doctors are doing research and studies about the effectiveness of stem cell research and therapies which is still pending.
5. Expensive Procedure
Considering all the procedures and consequences stem cell researchers rely heavily on external funding. Many of the projects and research are halted due to insufficient funding. As if they are in the experimental phase, neither health insurance nor government provides benefits for these procedures.
The cost of stem cell treatment is around $10,000 in the United States and $100,000 outside for single treatment. Even the cost of harvesting an embryo is around $2,000 or even more. Overall this therapy seems to be costly and expensive in every aspect.
6. Unreliable Commodity
Stem cell therapy is currently the most influential breakthrough in medical and biological history. But, on the other hand, it has just begun. It’s in an early stage and thousands of research and experiment are being carried on for positive results.
Some of the diseases are treated successfully but are considered as an experimental stage therapy which will definitely make some genius breakthroughs in the future. But right now its reliability is very low and the consequences are high.
7. Adults have very few stem cells
Adult stem cells are required for the treatment and as the number of these cells are already low in adults. They are found in many different regions of the body, they are isolated from tissue samples and their current source is unknown.
It takes lots of time to separate them and is a costly process as well as it regenerates slowly.
The ethical concern about destroying an embryo to get the stem cells, even if that embryo was going to be discarded. It should depend on the will of the person who is going to donate the stem cell or should it be a law.
While using adult stem cells, the cells generated are of the particular type from where the cell was extracted, it cannot modify itself or use it in some other places. So, if it could morph itself it would be amazing.