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Stem Cell Reserch
Transcript of Stem Cell Reserch
The Basics on Stem Cell Research
By: Hattie Chancy
May 18, 2015
A Stem Cell is an immature cell that has the potential to become specialized into different cells that can live all throughout the body.
Two Types of Stem Cells...
Adult Stem Cells
Embryonic Stem Cells
- produced when when newly fertilized eggs begin to divide
- they can become any type of cell in the body
- destroys the human embryo when the stem cells are extracted
- life is destroyed in the process because the embryo is fertilized
- can also be obtained from in vitro fertilization
- donated for research purposes
- stem cells that already exist in an already developed tissue
- can find in places around the body
- bone marrow
- umbilical cord
- more mature so they are harder to engineer to become a certain type of cell- limited in what they can form into
- does not damage human life
- mainly used to maintain the tissues where they are found
Embryonic stem cells
Adult Stem Cells
- This graph shows that the research done on adult stem cells is much farther advanced than the embryonic research. Because embryonic stem cell research is more controversial, it is easier to conduct research on ADC because it is more used and well known.
First, a video to explain the purpose of stem cells.
Because of their ability to regenerate, stem cells offer potential to cure many diseases.
Among these diseases, stem cells are most often used to treat leukemia, lymphoma and several inherited blood disorders. This is because the stem cells used to treat these ailments come from bone marrow, which is easy to obtain.
I found it interesting that Parkinson's can be treated by using stem cells because my grandmother was diagnosed with this disease a six years ago.
I have no idea if she would ever get the chance to use stem cells to treat her condition or not, but it makes me wonder if she would consider this option if it was presented to her.
Because I was curious about this, I looked into what the Micheal J. Fox Foundation said about using stem cell research to cure Parkinson's. This is what I found...
They noted here that stem cells could be beneficial to figuring out a cure to Parkinson's, and to understand it in a deeper way on the biological side.
Here, the foundation states how it is in full support of the research even though they understand how much work will be needed to reach the point of this procedure being beneficial to people suffering from Parkinson's.
Harvard Institute is also making progress in the understanding of causes of Parkinson's and potential ways to cure it using stem cells.
Harvard students noticed that the part of the brain that is dying in patients with Parkinson's is the section called the substantia nigra, which produces dopamine.
To create this lost dopamine, which is believed to cause Parkinson's, stem cells are injected into this part of the brain.
From here, the cells become neurons which repair the substantia nigra.
This is all very interesting to me because this case is something that hits close to home for me. I see my grandmother struggle everyday with this disease. Because of this, even though I do not agree in using embryonic stem cells to cure diseases, I am able to understand why some people would chose to use stem cells to heal those who are close to them that are struggling with a terminal disease, even if it goes against moral codes in some people's perspective.
This lab posed the idea that stem cells could be used to repair the damaged parts of the brain caused by Parkinson's , and help to eliminate some symptoms at the very least.
Is this practice moral or immoral?
So why is this wrong?
What does the Bible say about this issue?
Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
This passage from the Bible hints that, according to God, life begins at conception. This implies that killing embryos to use for stem cell research is immoral because they are living and a part of God's plan for the world.
Because stem cell research is a modern practice, the Bible does not directly state its views on it. However, the Bible does discuss when life begins and its view of destroying life. We will use these passages to formulate what the Bible would have said regarding stem cell research.
“You shall not murder"
The Bible defines
[the intentional, predatory killing of another]
Stem cell research is considered murder in terms of the Bible because using human embryos for reasons other than to make life (in the case of embryonic stem cell research) destroys and
the embryo in the process. This passage exclaims that no matter what state life is in, at no point should it be destroyed.
However; some may argue that because the
of the act is to use stem cells to help a person that is suffering, and not to destroy a life, the act is considered moral. This idea uses the principle of double effect. This is an area of controversy on the morality of stem cell research.
Why not say--as some slanderously claim that we say--"Let us do evil that good may result"? Their condemnation is just!
In this passage, the Bible clearly states and condemns practices that use evil means to accomplish good ends. In the case of embryonic stem cells, this suggests that even if the cells can be used to help others, because they destroy life to be obtained, using them is wrong and against God's will.
, the Bible says that using embryonic stem cells for research and to heal people is wrong. This is because it kills the embryo, in turn, destroying human life. God states that life begins at conception, and this means that the embryo is considered to be life. Therefore, this life is sacred and should not be forsaken. The bible also states that even if the killing of an embryo might be used for healing, the act is not just because God says that we should never use evil to accomplish good deeds. However, the Bible would approve of the use of adult stem cells because they do not harm life in the way that they are obtained. Adult stem cells are used primarily to heal, and we know Jesus would approve of this because He Himself was a healer to others around him.
And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. 24 So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them.
This passage shows us how healing was very important to Jesus, and that this was something that he did often to sick or hurt people around him. In the case of adult stem cells, this scripture shows how the Bible would support it because of the way that adult stem cells are used specifically to help people, without harming life in the process.
What does the Catholic Church say about this issue?
Here is a video of a Priest from the Church of St. Mary discussing the Catholic beliefs on stem cell research.
In September of 2006, Pope Benedict XVI stated the following about stem cell research:
This passage restates what the Bible says according to human life. They both acknowledge that life shall never be destroyed on any means because it is considered to be destruction of the world that God has created.
This statement regarding "unlawful means" shows how in-line the Catholic teachings are with the Bible. The Bible states (as I noted previously) that it is not just to use evil means to produce good results. The Pope agrees with this, and states that all people must respect the basic human right to life.
The "Guidelines for Embryonic Stem Cell Research" is a testimony written by Bishops which is directed to the National Institutes of Health. This is an excerpt from this text.
I found it interesting that the Bishops recognized that one does not have to be Catholic or a member of the Christian faith to realize that embryonic stem cell research is wrong. They state that it is "basic human insight" to know not to harm the life of another human being.
Views on Embryonic stem cell research:
Views on Adult stem cell research:
Because the use of Adult stem cells poses no moral problem and no destruction of life, the Catholic Church is in favor of it. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops explains this idea and how they view adult stem cells.
The Catholic church even supports and funds the use of adult stem cells and their research because of their healing properties.
These statistics show that the Catholic church agrees with the use of acceptable stem cell research because it can be used to save lives and help create more lives in the future.
What are the arguments for and against stem cell research?
This graph shows how society views embryonic stem cell research. over 40% of people cannot take a stance on what they think about the issue, this might be because people do not know enough about the topic.
When comparing embryonic stem cell research and adult stem cell research, this graph shows how much more tolerant people and the government are of non-embryonic stem cell research.
All of Society...
Opposed to Stem Cell research
For Stem Cell Research
Here is a map that shows where in the United States stem cell research is approved or dissaproved.
This is shocking to me because I expected the bible belt states (the south) to be more disapproving of stem cell research.
1. Human embryos are considered life *
a. They have basic human rights
b. They have protection against abuse
c. Therefore, they should not be destroyed
*Human embryos are considered life if the person believes that life begins at the moment on conception.
2. Cannot use evil means to make good outcomes
- the Bible states this
- the Pope agrees with this idea
3. Using embryonic stem cells goes against what is moral
- In no time is one life more sacred than the next, we must value life in all of its forms
When viewing Embryonic stem cell research ...
1. Life does not begin until the child is born, so extracting stem cells from embryos does not destroy life because it has not begun yet.
2. The potential benefits of using stem cells outweigh the morality of harming an embryo
3. Blastocysts have no moral status and can be treated like any other cell
1. Because adult stem cells do not harm the embryo, their only purpose is to heal.
*** No one can disagree that this is immoral.
This study got me wondering which type of stem cells would be needed to cure Parkinson's disease? Adult or Embryonic?
- Recent searches show that, from what scientists have tested so far, only embryonic stem cells could transform into dopamine-producing neurons.
- Because I do not agree with the use of embryonic stem cells, I would not want my Grandmother to use this form of stem cells to heal her of her Parkinson's, if this ever became an option. However, if science discovered a way to heal this disease by using adult stem cells, I would hope that she would agree to this treatment because they do not harm life to be obtained.
In all, the main factor which must be considered when discussing this issue is when
life is said to begin.
- If one thinks that life begins when egg meets sperm, that person will be against stem cell research.
- If one thinks that life begins when the baby is born or even 2 weeks after when it develops a nervous system, that person will be in favor of stem cell research.
I do not agree with use of embryonic stem cells because all life is sacred. To me, this means that just because the human cannot be seen, an embryo is just as much alive as I am right now. Because my life is sacred, so is the life of an embryo. The extraction of stem cells from embryos is not morally just because it is taking a life for granted and ruining God's creation.
However, I do support adult stem cell use and research because its primary use is to heal and not to destroy.
4. The act is considered moral becuase the intention is not not kill a human, it is to heal another human
- double effect
Before researching and discussing about stem cell research, I did not have a clear understanding on the topic as a whole. But in knowing that it related to science, I assumed that I would agree with it because of my love for science and new technology. However, as I expanded my understanding on stem cell research, I began to realize how immoral it was to destroy a human life in order to potentially save another. Just because the life that is being taken for granted is an embryo, which cannot speak for itself, this does not mean that we should destroy this life. All life is sacred and created by God, and in killing of this life, we are going against God's will.
However, even though I do not agree with embryonic stem cell research, because of my life experiences, I am able to understand why some people might agree to this method of healing in drastic situations. Because I see my Grandmother struggle with Parkinson's disease, I know what it is like to see someone that you love suffer. This makes me more aware of how a person who knows their family member could be healed by this technique, would try anything to save their loved one, even if the act is not morally just.
"Basics of Stem Cell Research." Basics of Stem Cell Research. Web. 19 May 2015
"Stem Cells and Parkinson's Disease | Parkinson's Disease Information." The Michael J. Fox Foundation. Web. 19 May 2015.
"Parkinson's Disease." Parkinson's Disease. Web. 19 May 2015.
Parkinson's Disease: How Could Stem Cells Help?" EuroStemCell. Web. 19 May 2015.
"Stem Cells." Answers in Genesis. Web. 19 May 2015.
"Catholic Support for Ethically Acceptable Stem Cell Research." Catholic Support for Ethically Acceptable Stem Cell Research. Web. 19 May 2015.
George, Frances. 22 May 2006. Web. 19 May 2015