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THEO 303 (Sp '16) T09 - Embryo and Stem Cell Research

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by

Hartmut Scherer

on 8 February 2016

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Transcript of THEO 303 (Sp '16) T09 - Embryo and Stem Cell Research

Scientists made progress towards controlling how human stem cells assume their identities.
Sources and Image Credit
Adopted main thoughts from
Stem cells and Genesis
; http://creation.com/stem-cells-and-genesis and
What should a Christian's view be on stem cell research?
; http://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-stem-cell-research.html; accessed May 25, 2015.
1)
Break-through in 1999
Embryo and
Stem Cell Research

The true issue
- Bible supports the battle against physical ills
- a major feature in Jesus' ministry (Matt. 4:23f)
- the most important question
concerning stem cell research:
Is it right?
What are stem cells?
- a single cell - a zygote or an ovum
fertilized by a spermatozoon
- has all the instructions coded in the DNA
- growth: different cells in different places have to
specialize
- result: bone cells execute only instruction
pertaining to bone
- stem cells are like embryonic cells
- potential to grow into many types of tissue
- hope: stem cells could be used to regrow
damaged tissue
Definition of terms
- stem cells that can be directed
in the lab to develop into tissue
undifferentiated cells
- fertilized ovum with the potential
to form a whole organism
totipotent cells
- stem cells that have the potential
to develop into most tissues
pluripotent cells
- stem cells with less potential to
develop into tissues (only some)
multipotent cells
Main controversy
- embryonic stem cell research (ESCR)
- these stem cells are the pluripotent inner cells of
the blastocyst (hollow ball of cells)
Adult (somatic) stem cells
- stem cells are from body tissues (not from embryos)
Benefit:
- no problem with tissue rejection
- 70 successful treatments with adult stem cells
Examples:
C.J. Chiu, a professor of cardiothoracic surgery
- stem cell from bone marrow
Cardiologists from Johns Hopkins University
- transplanted stem cells into the heart of pigs
- umbilical cord blood (abundant source of stem cells)
- 50% recovery in brain tissue of mice
- enabled a 37-year-old woman to walk
Liposuctioned fat
- researchers have grown cartilage, muscle, or more
fat cells, from such stem cells
Significance of these findings:
1) tremendous potential of adult-derived stem cells
2) far fewer problems of rejection of tissue
3) simpler to differentiate into specific tissue
4) may eliminate the therapeutic need for fetal cells
Disadvantages of embryonic stem cells
- tissue rejection by most patients
- cloning embryonic stem cells often result in
severe abnormalities
- most potential to grow into different types of
tissue (may be too undifferentiated)
Embryonic’ stem cells from unfertilized eggs
- a genetically identical copy of the individual
- human cloning is wrong because life begins at
fertilization
- human cloning treats one class of people as
disposable
Human cloning
Summary
- stem cells can form many different types of tissue
- they are found in embryos, types of non-embryonic
and adult tissue
- show promise for treating many types of diseases
and disabilities
- best treatments to date are from non-embryonic
stem cells (best source: liposuctioned fat)
- embryonic cells have had no successes
- embryonic stem cell research is closely linked with
human cloning
- human life begins at fertilization
- as intentionally killing human life is wrong, so is
ESCR also wrong
- justifying the killing of embryos for research
benefits will help dehumanise them
Free Writing
- Write down three words that you think are
important of today’s topic
- In groups of 3-4 students, share the three words
and tell others, why you chose these words
(~ 10 minutes)
- Have a free writing based on the discussion in the
group (~3 minutes)
- a theology of suffering, caring and healing
communities; shalom
A common view of a person
- persons continue to be the same person
irrespective of time and change
-
substance/essence view
- if personhood depends on our ability to perform
certain functions, it becomes a
degreed property
1)
deoxyribonucleic acid
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