Stem cell is the basic unit of living organism. Stem cells form the basic foundation of all living cells in all organisms. They are capable of multiplying through division over time. Unspecialized stem cells form the entire cell structure found in human beings. These cells develop into all the different types of organs in the body. Unmodified stem cells can give rise to the modified cells, including heart muscle cells, blood cells, or nerve cells. When unmodified stem cells give rise to the modified cells, differentiation takes place. There exist many interpretations about stem cell differentiation. Scientists have discovered how to exploit stem cells in the medical field for benefit of mankind (Kaan & Liu, 2010, p. 9).
Stem cells have the following universally accepted properties. First of all, stem cells have the ability to regenerate with time. Second of all, stem cells are not specialized but can be tailored to perform specialized tasks. Finally, they become tissues and organs appropriate for the environment.
There are three different types of stem cells, categorized according to their place of existence. Embryotic stem cells are among the basic elements present in the development of human beings. Embryotic stem cell multiplies itself by a rapid dividing (Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research, 2005). Such cells have pluripotent characteristics; this means that a cell becomes a nerve cell or a heart muscle. The cells possess identity and function like neural cells, skin cells, blood cells or muscle cells. Researchers take embryotic stem cells from aborted fetuses. Fetal stem cells are embryonic germ cells; the cells develop into the ovaries or testes of the fetus. These cells have similar properties to embryonic stem cells, which grow into all types of body cells. Consequently, they lack pluripotent qualities.
Adult stem cell is the third type of stem cells. These cells exist in the blood, tissues, bones, marrow, and skin. Stem cell engineering has the potential to revolutionize the field of medicine. Stem cell technology can prove decisive in drug research, human development research, and disease treatment. Stem cells are extremely helpful in testing different drugs and developing the new ones. Stem cells study can assist in understanding the birth defects and infertility.
Stem cells have the capability to replace diseased body cells. Organ transplantation is expensive to many people. However, it became known that diseases caused by malfunctioned tissue can be cured with stem cell treatment. For example, the patients with damaged heart muscle caused by a heart attack could theoretically be treated with stem cells programmed to function as heart muscle cells. When stem cells get transplanted into the patient’s heart, the functional cells will replace the dysfunctional ones. Stem cells research is an answer to many challenging questions in the medical world and in treatment of diseases. Stem cells research should continue owing to the immense benefits it can offer. In order to replace damaged tissue or organs, healthy cells capable of growing into the new tissue can be introduced into the body using stem cell technology. Such a method is likely to be safer and more successful than other tissue repair techniques that are currently in use.
Stem cell technology might enable the medical practitioners to rebuild all types of tissue, including cartilage and muscle. Treatments based on stem cell technology could help solve inherited conditions, such as cystic fibrosis, degenerative conditions, involving damaged brain cells and nerve cell damage caused by stroke. However, religious and cultural values oppose the usage of stem cell technology. Many people believe that harvesting of embryonic stem cells is a taboo. Besides, there is a common belief that isolating stem cell line destroys embryos. However, the benefits derived from the use of stem cells technology override moral and ethical issues.
Adult stem cells have the following potential applications. Assisting diabetic patients is one of such applications. Stem cells from the pancreatic duct become islet cells. Diabetic mice treated with these cells produced normal amounts of insulin. Therefore, it can be concluded that stem cells aid in the treatment of cardiac problems (Lenkr, Hoppe, & Beie, 2011, p. 160).
Rats used during stem cell research have shown promising results and encouraged use of stem cells in medicine. Therefore, it is quite necessary to exploit the medical potential inherent in stem cells. Resistant stem cells have prolonged the life of HIV positive patients. Research in this field has shown a lot prospects and saved lives of many patients. It is imperative to note that research in this area is quite necessary. Treatment of skin diseases and different forms of cancer in humans is a sure sign that a proper use of stem cells reduces the mortality rate.
According to the stem cell technology, stem cells can be used to renew the muscle tissue in mice. Stem cell research aims at finding a cure for a number of incurable diseases. The benefits resulting from stem cell research, such as eradication of human suffering and less painful treatment, have motivated scientists and researchers to a large extent. Embryos have the potential to revolutionize the medical world. It is easier to obtain embryotic stem cells than adult stem cells. However, such type of research is not universally accepted. Despite limited research in this area, researchers believe that stem cells hold a significant capability for disease treatment. Despite their difficult use, the adult stem cells worked successfully in many different treatments, even with human beings.
The modern medicine aims at eliminating human suffering making treatment affordable to all. Adult stem cell research is achieving the goal of providing accessible medication with minimal loss of life. In some countries, it is illegal to clone human embryos and use them for research. Stem cell research had not begun before the ban. Research on viable in vitro embryos allows a beneficial use of human embryo (Solte, Beyleveld, & Friele, 2003, p. 374). Oversight of human stem cell research is essential to ensure that the research carried out in an acceptable and responsible manner maintains public trust (Elliott, Ho, & Lim, 2010, p. 109). Regulating cell biology is a necessary task in the medical field. Any rules about the use of early embryos for health research and, eventually, medication purposes, would need to be consistent with other areas of law and practice. That could involve amending current laws with emerging laws, or conversely, changing existing laws to the new legislation governing the use of human embryos, cloning and stem cell research (Cullen, 2009, p. 212).
In order to realize the effectiveness of modern cell-based medication that promises to cure endemic and weakening diseases, scientists should exploit stem cells technology to obtain all the necessary characteristics for differentiation, transplantation, and implantation (Hug & Hermerén, 2011, p. 3). Stem cells offer a chance to treat the diseases in the near future. However, any significant research in stem cell engineering requires financial, moral and political support. There is also a need to promote stem cell engineering. Besides, stem cell biology touches on the issues of morality. The laws ensure that the privacy of a patient remains confidential. The number of unqualified medical practitioners is minimal, which safeguards exploitation of patients by the medics. The high cost of medication and unnecessary loss of human lives calls for an urgent attention and searching for the alternative solutions. Many a time, the price of medication is prohibitive to many patients. What is more, a loss of life in itself creates a costly burden. Financial constraint hinders an advanced research in stem cell biology. Therefore, there is a need to allocate funds towards the research.
Just like genetically modified foods have faced a lot of resistance, stem cells biology encounters a lot of suspicion. Stem cell engineering requires support from both protagonists and antagonists, which in turn calls for tolerance between science and religion. Religious and moral proponents require a change of attitude towards embryonic cell propagation. Some religions oppose to blood transfusion, cell transplantation, and modern methods of fertility. Such contradictions act as a barrier to funding the stem cell biology research related projects. Medical practitioners should also be regulated by strict laws and regulations abiding them to practice in a safe way. The laws governing professionalism should protect patients from charlatans. Medical practitioners have made the modern world look for the alternative forms of medication. This arises due to the high cost charges that patients should pay when faced with different serious diseases that require the use of cell stem biology. As a result, a high rate of deaths, unresolved physical abnormalities and misuse of drugs becomes evident. Such regulation is essential to guarantee the proper use of stem cells.
Nowadays, stem cell biology should be applauded and accepted for it has continued to influence positively the problems of modern society. More research work should be conducted in order to follow and study the new emerging trends in diseases which continue to mutilate and become complicated. Continuous analysis of symptoms exhibited by a certain disease will promote the usage of stem cell biology. Failure to act can make more people become vulnerable to diseases which will in turn pull down the economy. There is a need to embrace the use of stem cells globally. However, there is fear of crime emerging from the harvesting of stem cells by unscrupulous traders. The motivation to make a profit from stem cells sale may lead to such horrible cases as missing body parts of the dead, mysterious disappearance of people, and murdering innocent patients in the hospitals. What is more, some countries promote trafficking of body parts, while others allow the slave trade. On the contrary, people must use stem cells within ethical and legal framework to avoid social controversy.
In conclusion, the benefits resulting from the use of stem cells far outweigh the risks. There is no need for living in fear, when science can be used to minimize suffering. Good morals should be emphasized when using stem cell biology. Medical practitioners should take the responsibility for using cell stem biology in an ethical and justified manner. In such a way, they will be able to rescue many patients who die of complications arising from the diseases. By the way, the code of conduct should be adhered to by the medical fraternity. Life is precious in itself and it should be protected by all means. In addition, religion should stop spreading controversy. Therefore, all the above mentioned benefits derived from stem cell biology show that advantages outweigh disadvantages.