Stem Cell Research

Stem cells are those cells that can be differentiated into particular cell types but which can also maintain the capability to replenish themselves in the course of cell division. Stem cells were first recognized in embryos.

In an embryonic blastocyst, stem cells of the inner cell mass proceed to develop into all of the tissues and organs of the body. Progenitor cells and possibly many powerful adult stem cells operate as a repair structure for the body, filling more specialized cells in adults. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stem_cell_research) Adult stem cells can be retrieved from living humans, and embryonic stem cells can be obtained from embryos.(http://www.

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catholicweekly.com.au/02/aug/25/02.html)Making use of adult stem cells, much success and potential have been established from the research. But some researchers feel that embryonic stem cells are of more use then adult stem cells because of their plasticity, which enables them to cure many diseases. Embryonic stem cells are considered to be more useful for nervous system treatments, as researchers have faced difficulties in identifying and isolating neural progenitors from adult tissues.

Embryonic stem cells are not useful to the immune system, but this problem wouldn’t occur if the patient received his own stem cells. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stem_cell_research)The use of stem cells in the improvement of medical treatments for an extensive range of conditions seems to be very promising, since stems cells have the possibility to be differentiated into basically all cell types. Stem cells can be used in the treatment for damage to the brain, skeletal muscles, spinal cord, and heart.

Treatments have been considered following physical suffering like injuries to the spinal cord, degenerative conditions like Parkinson’s disease, or even hereditary diseases (combining treatment for genes).(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stem_cell_research)Cell replacement therapy is used to treat wounds and different genetic and degenerative conditions.

The many diseases that may be agreeable to stem cell repair consist of spinal cord injuries, muscular dystrophies, Alzheimer disease, arthritis, retinal degeneration, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and blood disorders such as hemophilia. Stem cells are used to substitute damaged tissue, thereby providing transplant substance that’s genetically coordinated to the patient so that it will not be rejected. (http://www.als.ca/stemcell/research.aspx)This concept of stem cell research, which resembles a plan sometimes used to get eggs for the treatment of fertility, is just one among the numerous other efforts to increase the supply of human eggs required for further research.

Scientists need these eggs for a procedure called therapeutic cloning, which produces stem cells that are genetically matched to a particular individual. Therapeutic cloning could help in developing improved drug treatments by the scientists. (http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/science/20070120-0915-stemcelleggs.

html)The process implicates transmitting DNA into human eggs and growing them into 5-day-old embryos, from which stem cells are produced. It is exactly not known how many eggs are required by the scientists for further research in this field. Anyway it is definitely very important  for a woman who is donating the eggs. Guessing that a woman can be expected to spend several hours in hospitals, being consulted, guided and subjected to any operations, after sedating her, which recovers eggs from her body. Even before this procedure, a woman is expected to take hormonal injections daily, for a whole week, to stimulate the development of eggs. Women in the United States are paid to donate thousands of eggs every year to help other women have babies.

(http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/science/20070120-0915-stemcelleggs.html)The main interest for researchers in science and medicine, regarding embryonic stem cells is the capability of the cells to develop into almost any cell made by the human body.

Practically seen, if the growth and development of stem cells is encouraged, there is every possibility to grow cells which are of medical importance, and which can be used to cure many ailments.The primary possible application of this embryonic stem cell technology will be in the area of drug invention. The capacity to grow pure populations of exact cell types offers a confirming basis for chemical compounds that are of medical significance. Treating particular cell types with chemicals and determining their reaction presents a short cut to differentiate chemicals that can be used for the treatment of the diseases that involve those particular cell types. Stem cell technology enables researchers in quick screening of thousands of chemicals, which are presently tested using time-consuming procedures. (http://www.news.

wisc.edu/packages/stemcells/facts.html#6)Stem cell research can also be used to know various facts of the human development.  Especially the early stages of human development have been difficult to study, but using stem cell technology, scientists can screen the drugs required by trying them on human embryonic stem cells.  This study will help in preventing birth disorders, loss of pregnancy and infertility. (http://www.news.

wisc.edu/packages/stemcells/facts.html#6)There are also some disadvantages or risks involved in the extraction of multiple eggs. The drug that is commonly used to close a woman’s ovaries, before subjecting them with different drugs to produce multiple follicles is Lupron (leuprolide acetate).  According to complaints received by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), this drug is known to cause many problems including rash, hot flashes, burning sensation, loss of hair, tingling sensation, itching, headache and migraine, rigorous joint pain, giddiness, skin complaints, difficulty in breathing, chest pain, abdominal pain, vomiting sensation, dejection, emotional insecurity, loss of libido, faintness of vision, fainting, muscular pain, severe weakness due to loss of pituitary function, amnesia, high blood pressure, increased heart beat, bone pain, vomiting, asthma, insomnia, swelling in the body, constant thyroid enlargement, vertigo, liver function deformity, vision abnormality, mood swings, diarrhea, anxiety and muscle weakness.(http://popdev.hampshire.edu/projects/dt/dt33.

php);Although the drug Lupron is permitted for other specific uses, it is not permitted for use in the multiple egg extraction procedure, which is not properly understood by many young women. The use of the drug Lupron is not accepted on label, it is just another drug, which is, used off-label. Correct studies that give good reason for using this drug for egg extraction have not been submitted officially to the FDA authorities.(http://popdev.hampshire.edu/projects/dt/dt33.php)All the above mentioned symptoms and conditions may seem very minute to a woman who very strongly wants to donate an egg, the reason might be her financial condition or her urge to help another woman who is in dire need of a child.  Whatever be the reasons, egg donations for stem cell research has increased a lot, and if this donation could save another persons life, than what is wrong in donating an egg.

  Young women in the United States have taken to egg donation in a big way, and in the near future we are going to hear a lot about stem cell research and the advantages of this research. (This is my view on the topic)ReferencesDr Amin Abboud,  ‘Stem Cell Debate: The Issues’, The Catholic Weekly.Retrieved 1 March 2007, http://www.catholicweekly.

com.au/02/aug/25/02.html‘Embryonic Stem Cells’, Research At The University Of Wisconsin-Madison.Retrieved 2 March 2007, http://www.news.wisc.edu/packages/stemcells/facts.

html#6Judy Norsigian, ‘Egg Donation for IVF and Stem Cell Research: Time to Weigh the Risks to Women’s Health’, Differentakes No. 33 ~ Spring 2007, Retrieved 1 March 2007.   http://popdev.

hampshire.edu/projects/dt/dt33.phpMalcolm Ritter, ‘For Stem Cell Research, Getting Human Eggs Is A Challenge: Should Women Be Paid For Them?’ Retrieved 1 March 2007. http://www.signonsandiego.

com/news/science/20070120-0915-stemcelleggs.html‘Stem Cell Research’, The ALS Society Of Canada, Retrieved 2 March 2007. http://www.als.

ca/stemcell/research.aspx‘Stem Cell Controversy’, Wikipedia, Retrieved 2 March 2007, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stem_cell_researchThis essay gives us an insight to the need for egg donation in women, and the benefits and the risks involved in donating eggs for stem cell research.  This essay tells us what stem cells are, what are the differences between adult and embryonic stem cells.

It gives a detailed explanation of the benefits of stem cell research. It also discusses the needs of a woman donating the eggs, the legal issues attached to the stem cell research. The disadvantages and at the same time the popularity of the stem cell research.;;