Though scientists have known about stem cells since the early 1900s, it wasn't until the 1960s that stem cells' regenerative capabilities were observed.



Pros And Cons Of Stem Cell Research

Though scientists have known about stem cells since the early 1900s, it wasn't until the 1960s that stem cells' regenerative capabilities were observed. In 1998, a watershed moment occurred when scientist James Thomson successfully removed stem cells from unwanted embryos at a fertility clinic and harvested its cells in a laboratory. With that moment, stem cell research gathered speed.

Advantages

Stem cells can be engineered to replicate various specialized cells---those in the brain, liver and skin---and have the potential to treat vast numbers of illnesses. There is a strong likelihood that stem cells can generate healthy organs in a laboratory, to be transplanted into people needing them.

Stem cell research is especially exciting because it gives new hope to people who have terminal or incurable conditions. For instance, while Parkinson's patients take drugs that slow or lessen their symptoms, the drugs are incapable of curing the diseased tissue in the brain. This is where stem cell research comes in, because it has the capability to generate disease-free tissue. Parkinson's is just one of many diseases poised to benefit from stem cell treatment.

Demerits

The opponents of human embryonic stem cell research reacted by pointing out that the considerable ethical problem is the source of those stem cells. That living human embryos as the most vulnerable human beings are set to be destroyed while taking those stem cells out of their bodies for research.

That it is never acceptable in the field of ethics to kill any innocent human being intentionally even if it promises benefit to the majority. It is said to be tantamount to reducing these fetuses and embryos to mere objects for others' use, instead of subjects with inherent rights that must be given equal protection.

However, in spite of the above merits and demerits, scientists are continuously working on stem cell research, in order to save the lives of millions of people.

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