Like everything in life, stem cell research is not exempt from having both pros and cons. Let’s look at some aspects about stem cell research pros and cons that are of particular interest and usefulness to anyone interested in the subject of stem cells.
Stem cell research has been shrouded in controversy as people fight about the pros and cons of stem cells. Stem cells are special cells that have the ability to become any part of the body needing regeneration. Damaged brain cells, liver cells, heart cells, muscle cells, and skin cells- just to name a few- can be replaced by naturally occurring stem cells.
To fully understand why there is some controversy with stem cell research pros and cons you should understand where stem cells are routine harvested from. Let’s start with the most controversial; embryonic stem cells. Embryonic stem cells call into the question of morality because a human egg is fertilized and an embryo is grown in a lab for the purpose of stem cell research. Some people do not feel that a human being should be used as research. Other people who are pro embryonic stem cells research argue that a fetus is not yet a human. Studies point out that embryonic stem cells could be useful in curing disease because these cells contain the blueprint for all body systems and cells in the body. However, studies have found they may be too unpredictable and can cause cancer.
Umbilical cord stem cells are harvested from the cord blood of a newborn baby. Today, many families have the option of storing the cord blood stem cells from their baby for potential future use. Cord stem cells have proven to be very effective in research at repairing the body when needed. The disadvantage to cord blood stem cells is the risk of rejection if the recipient of the cord blood stem cells is not the donor. Umbilical cord stem cells hold great promise and storage, for future use, of these cells has already proven reliable.
Adult stem cells, also known as blood stem cells, can be taken from bone marrow or gathered through circulating blood. Harvesting bone marrow stem cells is a painful procedure where a bone punch is done to capture the stem cells. This process could also cause damage to the area during the procedure and there is a risk of infection post procedure.
Stem cells captured from circulating blood are the newer kids on the block. This avenue may pose as the most promising. Some researchers say that blood stem cells are limited in their function, meaning they cannot turn into any type of cell in the body like embryonic stem cells. New information is emerging suggesting that stem cells from blood can indeed turn into any type of cell the body needs. There are fewer stem cells actually circulating through the body than with the other options. Treatment with blood stem cells could result in needing more harvesting and more treatments than the other types of stem cell therapies.
Stem cell research pros and cons offers an insight into the glory of this remarkable healing therapy and also offers a glimpse at the darker side of the treatments not many people hear about.
Few researchers think about the container used to culture and grow stem cells. What researchers found is that flasks coated in agarose gel produced more stem cells and furthermore, the stem cells remained multipotent! Agarose gel is an electrical conductor gel made from a seaweed. These researchers from China, Xue-Sheng Zheng, Xiao-Feng Yang, Wei-Guo Liu, Gang … Continue reading
Stem Cells show promise in brain regeneration for Parkinson’s disease sufferers. Parkinson’s disease is a sadly debilitating disease affecting over 50,000 people in the United States with approximately 10 million people suffering worldwide. Parkinson’s symptoms can begin before the age of 40, making this disease widespread. Zhiqing Zhang, Xiaofang Wang, Suping Wang in China found … Continue reading
Most people only hear of embryonic, fetal, cord blood stem cells, or bone marrow stem cells. Stem cells are actually produced throughout the body. One interesting place that stem cells are very prolific, and makes the most sense concerning the beginning of life, is the male testes (i.e. sperm stem cells). Here is a medical … Continue reading
Stem cell – like cells can be turned cancerous in breast tissue. Researchers from Michigan State University characterized two types of breast epithelial cell types, with one type possessing the ability to become mutinous under certain conditions because these particular cells exhibit stem cell-like characteristics that can turn into breast cancer. The epithelial cells make … Continue reading
Many people wonder what the best source of mesenchymal stem cells is: Bone marrow? Umbilical cord blood? Adipose or fat? Let’s look at the findings of Susan Kern, et al, from the Institute of Transfusion Medicine and Immunology, German Red Cross Blood Service of Baden-Württemberg–Hessen, Mannheim, Germany. In a paper titled: “Comparative Analysis of Mesenchymal … Continue reading
Anytime you are dealing with human or animal tissue, there is the danger of infection or the spreading of disease. In Spain they have been working on this issue for years and there is a paper by Fernando Cobo of the Stem Cell Bank of Andalucía in which he addresses this issue. Here is a … Continue reading
Here is a quick overview from a group of scientists in Massachusetts (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and University of Mass Medical School) explaining how they were able to derive “immortal” stem cells from human hair follicles: _____________________________________ Multi-potentiality of a new immortalized epithelial stem cell line derived from human hair follicles By: Cecilia Roha, … Continue reading
Fetal stem cells have been another source of controversy through the years. Some people disagree with using a fetus for stem cell research. Several factors are involved in the controversy. Aborted fetuses, via abortion, were used at one time for a source of fetal stem cells. Unplanned miscarriages are another source. These avenues evokes many … Continue reading
Stem cells reside in all areas of the body. At one time, scientists believed that stem cells only resided in the bone marrow. Science has taught us differently now. Stem cells reside in the skin. The stem cells here are responsible for holding off the signs of aging and damage. Let’s face it, we all … Continue reading