Last week in my Technology in Society class we were talking about the ethics of stem cell research, I learned a lot of new alternate procedures that I previously was unaware of. What are your thoughts? These are mine:
Ethics of anything can be a touchy subject, however when it comes to cloning and stem cell technology, I feel that the positive outcome outweighs the negative. We are in the early stages of testing and in some cases already successfully curing cancers and saving lives with this research. Stem cells in bone marrow are now being successfully used to treat leukemia, but the real promise of stem-cell therapies lies in the future. There are countless other diseases, cancers, organs and limbs that could benefit from successful stem cell and cloning technology.
There are many things that can be used to aid in stem cell research to include placenta, babies that are miscarried, and even aborted fetuses, this is not too different from organ donation from a scientific perspective. Explorable stated “Aborted fetuses are not the only source of stem cells; there are stem cells in the both placenta and blood contained in the placenta." I take the stance that when I am dead, I don’t need any of my organs; let someone have it and live or use them for research. I have a grandfather who died due to an inability to receive a transplant. The movie Seven Pounds with Will Smith took this to a whole new level. It showed the impact that he was able to have with one body on so many people’s lives. In the movie Will Smith played a man who researched seven people to atone for seven people that he had killed, he donated different parts of his body to save their lives. He donated his eyes, heart, lungs, bone marrow, liver and kidney.
The majority of positive support for stem cell research comes from leftover embryos from IVF (in-vitro fertilization) that would otherwise be discarded anyway. A possible solution to appease both sides is ANT (altered nuclear transfer) where an embryo is never created. Murnaghan clarified with “A derivative of somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), the nucleus of the somatic cell (any body cell other than an egg) is altered, or genetically reprogrammed, prior to being transferred into the egg." Another option is blastomere extraction, where an embryo is created but not destroyed. This procedure is performed on a two-day old embryo, following the division of the fertilised egg into eight blastomeres or cells. Another option is to strictly utilize adult stem cells. Therapeutic potential rates take a dive because the cells can’t be differentiated into as many different types. Another negative aspect of using adult stem cells, as depicted by Murnaghan, they are also more likely to have developed genetic abnormalities over time and they don't tend to replicate as efficiently.
In case you want to read more from my sources: