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Embryonic Stem Cell Research: The Cure for Diseases or Unethical Expermentation
Transcript of Embryonic Stem Cell Research: The Cure for Diseases or Unethical Expermentation
Controversy of Embryonic Stem Cells
One of the aims of this project was to gather and correlate data about this controversial issue.
The method of inquiry chosen was a sample survey due to the simplicity and easiness to gather and collate the data.
This sample size of this student consisted of 22 students from a first period HSP3M class.
The survey was completed on Wednesday June 12, 2013 between the hours of 10:30 a.m. and 11:45 a.m.
Results & Analysis
In conclusion, the objective of this presentation was to offer the viewer with an improved understanding of the debate of embryonic stem cell research. There is potential to save many lives with this lucrative form of stem cells. It is also necessary to question the ethics behind this research. Both sides have valid arguments to support their side, and it is up to policy makers to determine how research of this sort should be conducted.
What are stem cells?
What are the types of stem cells?
Embryonic vs. Adult Stem Cells
Issue of using embryonic stem cells
Stem Cell Video
The objective of this presentation is to allow greater insight and understanding for the viewer on hES which they can deeper into this controversial and then formulate their own personal judgement.
Proponents of hES
Opponents of hES
They are cells that have the ability to divide for indefinite periods in culture and to give rise to specialized cells.
These cells are
and can produce a variety of
such as heart, liver and nerve.
When an embryo is formed the produced are many stem cells, which turn into the specialized cells necessary to form the fetus to what will eventually become a fully functioning human being.
There are two main types of stem cells:
Adult stem cells (somatic cells)
- are undifferentiated cells, found throughout the body after development, that multiply by cell division to replenish dying cells and regenerate damaged tissues.
Embryonic stem cells (hES)
stem cells derived from the inner cell mass of a blastocyst, an early-stage embryo, which give rise to all cells a human being will need after birth
Stem cells are
(not having a specific function)
and give rise to more
under the right conditions.
Hinda, K. (2011). Human milk contains PLURIPOTENT stem cells — Milk Research Community. Welcome to the IMGC Portal — Milk Research Community. Retrieved June 10, 2013, from http://milkgenomics.org/newsletter/stem-cells-discovered-in-human-breast-milk
Kocher, P. (2004). What Are Stem Cells?. ProQuest. Retrieved June 6, 2013, from http://www.csa.com/discoveryguides/stemcell/overview.php
YouTube. (2013). Stem Cells - YouTube. YouTube. Retrieved June 14, 2013, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jF2iXpoG5j
Adult Stem Cells
Embryonic Stem Cells
Are cells derived from
- potential to differentiate into multiple, but limited cell types. Ex: a multipotent blood stem cell can differentiate into several types of blood but cannot differentiate other non-blood cell types.
Cannot replicate indefinitely,
Are cells derived from
- refers to a stem cell that has the potential to differentiate into any of the three germ layers: endoderm, mesoderm, or ectoderm, which is almost any cell in the human body
Have the ability to
Embryonic stem cells are shown to have far more advantages than adult stem cells, but are restricted in terms of research into their uses and possible treatments...
it believe that:
Stem cell research is unethical and should be banned, primarily concerning embryonic stem cells
Embryonic stem cells lead to destruct of potential life, since the embryo is destroyed in the process
It goes against their religious and moral values
It has the potential to lead having knowledge into human cloning
it believe that:
Stem cells has the potential to treat and possibly cure many diseases
Stem cells can be used to test drugs, streamlining the process for approval for new drugs
Potential to be used for “cell-therapies” for disorders that result from disruption in cellular function
Potential to save lives and benefit humanity
Unethical and destruction of life
These can form a wider variety of specialized cells when compared to adult stem cells
Adult stem cells are limited to the types of cells they can specialize into primarily due to where they are derived from the patient.
Embryonic stem cells are pluripotent, meaning they can differentiate into many different types of human cells.
Embryonic Stem Cells Are Pluripotent
Possibility to Treat Many Diseases
Embryonic stem cells could
Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, spinal cord injuries, strokes, burns, heart diseases, diabetes, and arthritis.
Proven as an effective treatment of
leukemia and autoimmune diseases
through bone marrow transplants.
potential treatment of Type I diabetes
the transplantation of healthy pancreatic cells derived from embryonic stem cells can result in the patient being able to create insulin.
Potential to Repair & Replace Damaged Organs & Tissues
The creation of cells could be in potential
from disease that result from disruption of cellular function or the destruction of tissues within the human orifice.
Burn victims could be able to have skin grafts done with their “own” skin cells.
Many people every year die from waiting for an organ transplant, with the use of stem cell proper functioning organs can be produced within that time, ensuring patient’s do receive their transplant.
Meregalli, M., Farini, A., & Torrente, Y. (2011). Stem Cell Therapy for Neuromuscular Diseases | InTechOpen. InTech - Open Science Open Minds | InTechOpen. Retrieved June 12, 2013, from http://www.intechopen.com/books/stem-cells-in-clinic-and-research/stem-cell-therapy-for-neuromuscular-diseases
Creation of specialized from embryonic stem cells
Streamline Process for Drug Approval
Stem cell lines
could streamline the process for approval of drugs without the use of human or animal test subjects.
Stem cells can be used to simulate an environment or organ of the body in which a drug be used to function.
the use of human and animal test subjects.
Help Improve Understanding of Embryonic Development and Growth
They can be used to
development stages of a human embryo, which can be linked to congenital defects, loss of pregnancy and infertility.
Thorough study of normal human development can
provide comprehensive understanding
that can prevent or treat abnormal human development.
Stem Cells Will Eventually Lead to Human Cloning
Many people believe the technology used in stem cells can be used for
, which will lead to more controversy and is also unethical.
The technology used around stem cell produce it closely related to cloning. In fact, the method in which “dolly” the cloned sheep is very similar in procedure to the extraction of somatic stem cells.
Żbikowska, A. (n.d.). Human Cloning: How does Human Cloning work - DIAGRAM. Human Cloning. Retrieved June 16, 2013, from http://cloning-scientificcontroversy.blogspot.ca/2011/12/how-does-human-cloning-work-diagram.html
Human Cloning Diagram:
Destruction of Embryos is Unethical & Immoral
Stem cell - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (n.d.). Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved June 10, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stem_cell
The use of embryonic stem cells involves the destruction of blastocysts. Many people believe life starts from conception and destroying embryos is
immoral and unethical
This argument is based on the question,
“What defines life?”
This takes into account religion some defined life from conception therefore embryos are morally equal to a human beings.
The destruction of stem cells to relieve the pain of others is seen as impermissible as the embryo itself does not benefit in any way.
No Cures & Treatments are Guaranteed
Embryonic stem cells are no guarantee for cures or treatments of diseases with research.
As with a sort of research results are not 100% guaranteed or viable, but the viability of stem cell have been proven and strong evidence which supports it.
It might not have treatments or cures for disease thought to be curable.
Possibility of Rejection of Stem Cells
Other Alternatives to Derive Stem Cells
In treatment embryos that are cannot be derived from the patient’s own body, would require a donor.
Cells that are not derived from a patient’s own body, must be genetically matching to a perfect, if not the cells will be rejected which can lead to complication.
For example, a bone marrow transplant patients has a 30% of finding a donor with their family, but outside their family the odds can be up to 1 in 100 000.
There are other alternatives to embryonic stem cell research such as:
Amniotic stem cell obtained from amniotic fluid
Umbilical stem cells obtained from the umbilical cord after birth.
Adult stem cells with can be taken from specialized areas of the body to produce new stem cells.
Stem cells from umbilical cord are multipotent
Living with Kennedy's Disease ... until there is a cure: The Stem Cell Research Controversy. (2010). Living with Kennedy's Disease ... until there is a cure. Retrieved June 5, 2013, from http://kennedysdisease.blogspot.ca/2010/11/stem-cell-research-controversy.html
Religious groups take to both sides of the argument; some are for embryonic stem cell while others are against it.
The majority of religious groups do agree with the use of adult stem cells for research.
Catholic and Greek Orthodox
the use of
adult stem cells
, but strongly
the use of
Churches of these domains believe personhood begins at conception and human embryos are of the same moral status of human beings.
Destruction of embryos is regarded as unethical.
have no official voice that speaks for it, and has
no official position
on this issue. Thus, Protestants are sharply divided on this topic.
Followers have many differing points of view on these issues.
Some Islam countries
such as Iran, Turkey, and Singapore
have embryo research
The use of surplus IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) embryos remains for in research relate to preventing human suffering and illness is uncontroversial.
Controversy rests in the creation of embryos for purposes of research;
some Islamic states
such as Egypt
banned embryonic research
stating that embryos are early life.
nder the Jewish culture
the use of embryonic stem cell research.
Israel, the only Jewish majority state legalizes the use of embryonic stem cells.
According to Jewish law embryos do not have equivalent moral status as human beings.
Gametes and embryos do not have a moral status outside of the human body.
Hinduism states that
life beings at conception
although there has been
no official stance
on the issue of stem cell research.
The religion emphasizes avoiding harm towards other living things and that all forms of life are sacred to be respect.
This mediates against using embryonic stem cells as it is considered a living being.
of this issue, Buddhists have adopted the concept that life begins at conception.
Some groups support
the use of embryonic stem cell as it is in accordance with seeking knowledge and ending human suffering, which Buddhists strongly believe in.
Other groups do not support the use of embryonic stem cells as it violates the first of the Five Precepts, of not harming others.
History of Stem Cell Research
Economic Aspect to Stem Cell Research
Changes Arisen from Stem Cells
Political Aspect to Stem Research
Perspective Towards the Issue
Improves Understanding of Genetic Including Mental Illness
Little Psychological Influence
Morals & Ethics
Social Groups & Sides to Issue
Social Control & Guidelines
The history of stem cell research starts from about early 1960’s, although the theory of the stem cells existed since the late 1800’s. In 1961, two Toronto scientists Dr. James Till and Dr. Ernest McCulloch published incidental findings, which proved the existence of stem cells.
Since that point in history the research behind stem cells has rapidly expanded, but at the same time has raised many ethical questions which has divided the people’s opinion towards this topic. Human embryonic research (hES) has led to most of the controversy behind stem cell research.
As with scientific research involving the potential to make cures and treat illness there is some sort of profit driven aspect to the research. The prospect of possible cures has to lead to a public vs. private idealism, which has influenced each other to create rivalry to be “the first.” This has create concern among people as many are concerned if a cures and treatments can be obtained by embryonic stem cell they would only be available to the rich, and only in countries which allow for use of embryos in stem cell research.
Cultural background of the person will have the largest influence on a person’s perspective on the issue. Religion is the most significant of the cultural influences, but some others can include where in the world a person’s lives as some countries widely accepted human embryonic stem cell research, while others strongly condemn hES. This influences ties in with psychological and sociological influences, which will be stated below.
Some changes that have arisen from stem cell research include the effective treatment of leukemia and autoimmune diseases through the use of bone marrow transplants, which contain multipotent hematopoietic stem cells. These stem cells are implanted into the recipient’s marrow. This treatment has saved a countless number of lives, and hopefully even more in the future. This has played a major role in changing people’s perspective towards the issue.
Politics also play a major influence in this issue as many political groups have a bias in this issue, including guidance and regulations they may choose to impose. In Canada, the "Guidelines for Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Research." Three general conditions to hES require that:
i) The embryos that were originally for reproductive purposes are no longer needed; and
ii) Informed consent to research use of created embryos; and
iii) The ova or sperm used in the creation of the embryo were not obtained through commercial transaction.
One’s own perspective is highly influenced by their past and surroundings. This has a psychological influence as the environment a person is exposed to have an effect on how they choose to view the outside. A person coming from a religious household which has a strong “pro-life” view is much more likely to condemn embryonic stem cell. While being in a household that has someone suffer from and illness like leukemia for example, would be more likely to support embryonic stem cell research.
Embryonic stem cells can be used to study development stages of human embryo, which can be linked to congenital defects, and inheritable diseases. There are many mental illnesses believed to some sort of genetic link or hereditary aspect to it. For example, Down syndrome is caused by having an extra chromosome in the 21st pair, causing physical deformities and poor cognitive development. Studying embryos can allow for understand of how this trisomy occurs, and can lead to better screening in early pregnancy and possibly treatments.
This influences also ties into ones upbringing and perspective that a person brings towards the issues with having the complete facts to both sides of the argument. It most likely also has influence whether a couple may consent to use their embryos for research.
Psychology plays almost no role in influencing this issue, simply due to the nature of the issue. Embryonic stem cell research has little to do with psychology; most of the influences centered on this topic are anthropological or sociological.
A person who associates with or is part of a religious group that has an official opinion on this issue is more likely to be strongly influenced by it. Structural functionalism plays a significant in terms of the sociological influences as most of society’s functions and relationships are affected by social institutions such as places of worship i.e. religious venues, government sanctions / guidelines, and education. As stated above religious groups do have opinions related to the issue and thus groups of people will base their perspective on religious viewpoints.
This issue is largely a debate related to ethics and morals as to when does life begin, and if embryos are human beings or of lesser moral value. Many people criticize the use embryonic stem cell research because it involves the destruction of embryos. The belief is that human life begins at conceptions and thus has equal moral value to a human being. Morality comes from sociological influences as the environment around is what shapes our perception of things that are “good” and “bad.”
Unlike most debates on controversial it is not essentially an issue of “right” vs. “left,” it is much more than that and more in depth. The side against embryonic stem cell research belief is that human life begins at conceptions and thus has equal moral value to a human being; therefore destruction of embryos from research is immoral and not justifiable. The group in support of hES believes the use of human embryos allows for new possible treatments and cures for diseases. Embryos can specialize into a wider variety of cells, which adult stem cells cannot.
The Government of Canada has a set guidelines on the how embryonic stem cell research can be conducted and how embryonic stem cells may be derived. These guidelines were influenced by Canadians who are for or against hES, this guideline system tries to address this issue while being fair to both sides of the argument.
The sample size was 22 students all in a first period HSP3M course.
Fourteen of the subjects were females and eight were male.
Seventeen subject were in eleventh grade, three subjects were in tenth (all female), and the remaining two were in twelfth grade (one female and male)
Table 1: Responses to Questionnaires
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It was learned from the research that exactly half of the sample population was aware of the controversy and ethical issues of stem cell research, by which they stated either “strongly agree” or “agree.” Both females and males had very similar responses to the survey. Over half of the sample population were in favour of the use of adult stem cells at 86%, while the remaining 14% neither agreed nor disagreed. When ask the same question regarding embryonic stem cells the results were slightly different.
Less than half of the sample population “strongly agree” or “agree” with hES at 45%, 41% neither agreed nor disagreed, and 14% disagreed with the use of hES. When asked the question on whether embryos outside the human have equal rights as human beings, the sample population was fairly split. About 37% of people believe embryos did not have equal rights, 36% neither agree nor disagree, and 27% believed embryos had equal right to human beings.
Majority of those surveyed said they believe government should invest money into researching stem cells, 68% agree with research into stem cells, and nobody opposed research. Sample population showed strong agreement into acquiring stem cell through alternative methods: 14% strongly agreed, 54% agreed, 23% neither agreed nor disagreed, and 9% disagreed. Gross majority of surveyed believed stem cell would have a positive impact in the future at 82% either strongly agreeing or agreeing, and 18% stating they nether agree or disagree.