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Is stem cell research beneficial or not ?Please explain.

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zofic13 | Student, Grade 11 | Salutatorian

Posted November 30, 2011 at 5:33 AM via web

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Is stem cell research beneficial or not ?

Please explain.

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readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 30, 2011 at 6:00 AM (Answer #2)

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It is best to start with a definition of what stem cells are. Stem cells are non-specialized cells that have the ability to be used to create other specialized cells, which in turn people can use for various purposes. The thought of this is amazing and the benefits are tremendous when it comes to many diseases. For example, stem cells can be used to help patients with: Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, various forms of birth defects, and heart disease, to name a few. Moroever, stem cells can be used to replace or fix up damaged organs. This list is only the beginning, because we are still in the beginning stages of research.

Some people see stem cell research as dangerous from an ethical point of view. Some say that we might be playing God when we manipulate people in this way. Also what if this technology falls into the wrong hands and people use stem cell to enhance and not merely fix. Would this create a wealthy group of people who are genetically better, because they could afford it? There are many more ramifications that we have not even considered.

In short, both sides have strong arguments.

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stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 30, 2011 at 6:32 AM (Answer #3)

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You are absolutely going to get different responses from different people, based on each answerer's personal viewpoint and perspective. My mother died after suffering with Parkinson's Disease for years - I am in favor of anything that might support research and/or treatment that could save others from going through what she experienced and that would spare family members from the anguish of witnessing helplessly the deterioration of the patient.

I understand the ethical concerns raised by the idea of stem cell harvesting and research, but I am counting on the medical ethics people being able to find means of developing appropriate guidelines.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 30, 2011 at 6:33 AM (Answer #4)

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The truth is that we don't know yet if it will be beneficial other than from a purely scientific point of view.  Research into stem cells seems to have promise for future medical therapies but it is not yet proven.  It may be that we will gain nothing other than a bit of scientific knowledge from stem cell research.

I think the first post, however, misses the important ethical problem.  The real problem here is whether stem cells are human life.  If they are, we have no right to kill them or experiment on them, no matter how beneficial it might be to do so.  If they are life, it could never be beneficial to do research on them (embryonic stem cells, that is).

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clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 30, 2011 at 8:53 AM (Answer #5)

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I tend to agree with post 4 on this issue.  In many ways, the big unknowns in stem cell research could easily be compared to the big unknowns in every other scientific breakthrough in history.  It is always a risk to delve into a matter of life and science that is mostly (currently) a mystery.  I agree that if the cure for cancer lies in stem cell research (and potential therapy therein) then we will be looking back and wondering why we weren't pushing faster and farther everyday to discover it.  On the other hand, if human embryonic stem cells are in fact the very beginnings of human life, I tend to agree that it is wrong to use them for scientific manipulation and experimentation in the name of research.

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kapokkid | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 30, 2011 at 9:38 AM (Answer #6)

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I would suggest that the answer is almost completely unknown and so most responses are based on opinion.  Stem cell therapies are considered promising but none have shown real effects that can be easily reproduced.  They have been used in all kinds of different therapies but nobody has been able to consistently repair damaged organs or replace tissues though some believe they have some effectiveness in those situations.  So at this point, you have to address the idea of whether they are human life or not and weigh that against medical benefits that have yet to gain significant proof.

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marbar57 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted November 30, 2011 at 10:18 AM (Answer #7)

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I think stem cell research is a novel idea, but it seems more science fiction to me right now. It would be nice for those with life-threatening or debilitating conditions to be able to get a "quick fix" using this technology but I don't see it happening in my lifetime. Besides, I think it's a form of "playing God" and we really don't have any business dabbling in it or cloning.

It seems to me the risks far outweigh any advantages that could be gained by it. How do we know what will happen when those cells are placed inside another person's body? Will they act the same as they did inside the host's body? Could it end up doing more harm than good to the recipient? Those are all intelligent questions that have me skeptical.  And back to your original question:  Is stem cell research beneficial?--I don't really know, nor can I give a definite answer!

A good article you can read giving the pros and cons about this is found at http://www.allaboutpopularissues.org/pros-and-cons-of-stem-cell-research.htm.

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ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted November 30, 2011 at 10:55 AM (Answer #8)

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Stem cell research is beneficial if for no other reason than the more scientific research that occurs, the better chance there is to find cures for diseases. The point being raised about embryonic cells is an emotional one, so my question is where do these cells come from. Certainly, they cannot be taken from live fetuses. Do they come from aborted fetuses? If so, the real ethical issue occurred at the moment of aborting.

 

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vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 30, 2011 at 12:16 PM (Answer #9)

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I would agree with those who favor stem cell research, for all the reasons already mentioned. I very much understand the "slippery slope" argument, and I share some of the ethical concerns emphasized by opponents of stem cell research. I keep reading that great progress is being made in the use of stem cells derived from adults, placentas, and even (if I am remembering correctly) umbilical cords.

Here's an article that seems relevant:

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=3298286&page=1#.Ttb_UrIk67s

 

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wannam | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted November 30, 2011 at 11:01 PM (Answer #10)

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I think stem cell research is an exciting new field of medicine which should be explored.  I read an article just the other day about our bodies natural use of stem cells.  Did you know that if a mother has heart trouble during her pregnancy, stem cells can migrate from the fetus to the mother's heart?  There are so many potential benefits from stem cells that I can't understand closing the door on this type of research.

Of course, there are ethical concerns surrounding where the stem cells are obtained.  There are many places to gather stem cells besides an unborn child.  Some scientists are working on reverting adult cells back to stem cells as well.  I think we have to be careful of the ethical guidelines for research but that is true of any scientific research area.

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frizzyperm | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted December 2, 2011 at 8:00 AM (Answer #11)

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Stem-cell research is the most exciting field of medicine/biology in living memory. Stem cells are key to how our bodies develop. Their potential is enormous and they've already made crucial discoveries and are racing along, discovering vast areas of human biology. Stem cells are going to change almost everything related to health.

I shudder that the above responses are so fuzzy. SCR is incredibly valuable to biology and medicine. Billions of lives will be improved by SCR (unless Michelle Bachmann gets to be President).

The only influential objection to the massive human benefits of stem-cell research is that a book written 2500 years ago by nomadic goat-herders didn't specifically condone early-stage embryonic investigation and therefore, its modern followers have concluded, SCR is 'evil'.

The immeasurable, planet-wide relief of human suffering offered by SCR is somehow not important to their definition of 'good' because magic souls are more important than living humans.

(And even though the bible says nothing about SCR, it does say that eating seafood; wearing mixed-fibre clothing and working on the Sabbath are all absolutely forbidden on pain of death. Isn't it funny that the Bible specifically names these things as complete abominations, but nobody gives a flying ferret. However, embryonic stem cell research, which isn't mentioned in the bible at all, is an earth-shattering sin. Go figure.)

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boblawrence | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted December 8, 2011 at 8:40 AM (Answer #12)

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Actually, stem cell research has already provided successful medical treatments and cures.

Stem cells are pleuripotential.  This means that they can turn into various specialized cell types. They are a "wild-card" cell that can be programmed into any number of cells that perform needed or deficient functions.

A recent development has been the ability to harvest stem cells from liposuctioned fat.  This avoids all of the controversy surrounding the use of embryonic stem cells.

Stem cells are currently used successfully to treat leukemia.  Stem cells have also been used to repopulate a patient's bone marrow when the marrow has been destroyed by disease.

Soon, stem cells will be used to replace deficient islet cells in the pancreas as a permanent cure for Diabetes.

On the horizon is the use of stem cells to replace missing neurons in spinal cord injuries.

Stem cells will be used much like grafts, replacing various tissue types that have been lost by injury or disease.

Stem cell research has accomplished a great deal in the few years it has been undertaken.  We should sll support this research because it has a very real potential of curing many major diseases.

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mychmrmntic | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 10, 2011 at 12:46 AM (Answer #13)

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Is stem cell research beneficial or not ?

Please explain.

yes it is. The only reason the catholic church has some opposition to it is because most places harvest the stem cells from a fertillized egg, which is basically an abortion. They are against it not because of the technology, but because we can gather the stem cells from other areas of the body, such as a spinal cord, which does not require anyone to die because of it.

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barjuna799 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 4, 2012 at 4:51 PM (Answer #20)

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Many people have assumed the hand of God ever since there has been one true God. We shouldn't muck around with nature and clone anything that has a heartbeat.

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joiner | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted January 5, 2012 at 12:46 AM (Answer #21)

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Stem cell research was always thought of as cruel and not worth the benefitfrom the procedures that had to be done. This however has changed with the discovery of stem cell research that can be done without harm to the unborn child. They use the umbilical cord now, so there is virtually no downside to doing this kind of research. This is a vital form of research that needs to be studied even more thoroughly. There are ethical guidelines that prevent this research from being studied as much as it needs to be, but with the discovery of the umbilical cord stem cell research, they are able to tread on those ethical guidelines that were before unattainable.

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dariusrickard | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 5, 2012 at 6:21 PM (Answer #22)

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stem cell can make or break our lives. but of course it depends on how we use it.

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superarnulfo | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 5, 2012 at 10:31 PM (Answer #23)

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Stem cell research is very exciting...i have found and read a blog regarding stem cell.Researchers use embryonic Stem cells to treat diabetes that is why American Diabetes Association strongly support the protection and expansion of all forms of stem cell research, which offer great hope for a cure and better treatments for diabetes.

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aaronmusguire | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 6, 2012 at 9:59 AM (Answer #24)

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I think the research is worth taking a serious look at. You have opinions that go both ways and I would have to say I have been on both sides too. Having said that, the work and tests that have been done using adults to harvest the cells is what I am in support of. 

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elisa96 | Student, Grade 10 | eNoter

Posted January 7, 2012 at 9:38 AM (Answer #25)

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its your own oppinion, some vote for it some against. using stem cell reaserch people can do things like regrow lost limbs. but to accuire these stem cells is what the debate is about

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brucederick90 | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 8, 2012 at 10:58 AM (Answer #26)

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All of you guys have different responses from different people, based on each answerer's personal viewpoint and perspective. But thank you for the responses I was able to gain knowledge on that issue.

 

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dwesley346 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 10, 2012 at 6:49 PM (Answer #27)

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I believe stem cell is both beneficial and not. Beneficial in the sense that it can renew and add up another life span. However, it is not an assurance. still there is still the need for further studies.

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madhatterh2 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 19, 2012 at 2:45 AM (Answer #28)

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It is best to start with a definition of what stem cells are. Stem cells are non-specialized cells that have the ability to be used to create other specialized cells, which in turn people can use for various purposes. The thought of this is amazing and the benefits are tremendous when it comes to many diseases. For example, stem cells can be used to help patients with: Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, various forms of birth defects, and heart disease, to name a few. Moroever, stem cells can be used to replace or fix up damaged organs. This list is only the beginning, because we are still in the beginning stages of research.

Some people see stem cell research as dangerous from an ethical point of view. Some say that we might be playing God when we manipulate people in this way. Also what if this technology falls into the wrong hands and people use stem cell to enhance and not merely fix. Would this create a wealthy group of people who are genetically better, because they could afford it? There are many more ramifications that we have not even considered.

In short, both sides have strong arguments.

Hell yea matha fucka

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txmedteach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted January 23, 2012 at 1:58 AM (Answer #29)

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http://www.sciencemag.org/content/321/5893/1218.short

This article gives an example of a peer-reviewed publication showing a significant positive step based on stem cell research. Granted, it is based on induced pluripotent stem cells (not embryonic stem cells).

However, this helps make the point that we already use humans and human tissue for research and education. For example, not a single doctor you know has not dissected a human cadaver. Transplants would never have been possible if we never experimented with uman tissue. Drug trials are run all the time with human subjects.

The idea that we should not experiment based on human subjects is far too broad and does not even agree with medical ethics. For example, if you worry that the embryo could not consent to the research, then why wouldn't you worry about the baby or child that could not consent to organ donation whose organs were donated based on parental consent? Some may say that transplants are already proven to work. However, I would argue that no doctor would consider a transplant a "sure thing," and all that we are getting in transplanting human tissue from a child is the potential to extend life or make life better. In the same way, embryonic stem cell research should only be based on the altruistic consent of the parents and it should not be considered much different from pediatric organ donation because it also offers the potential to extend life or make life better.

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santyst | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 24, 2012 at 4:16 AM (Answer #30)

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hmmm i think all you are known about stem cell very deeply by all above post. now the question is about its ill and well effects. its so simple and it fully depends upon how the next generation uses it in future. it may be extremely destructive or very much life saver if used in the either way.way.

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christiansarentignorant | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 9, 2012 at 10:25 AM (Answer #31)

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I think that God never intended for man to be aable to play at being Him.... Stem Cell research is ok, as long as its taken from bone maarrow. However, when taken from embryonic cells you are killing a living being. i mean, whichh one is better, killing something that never had the chance to live, or trying to heal someone who has lived a long liffe, and is now suffering from alzheimers? Or even Parkinsons.... I understand people who think it would be better to cure these diseases, but in the end, our earthly lives do not matter compared to our eternal lives in Heaven. god has a plan for everybody, why try and fightt his plan?

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