If we look at the great advancements of science in the last century a great percentage will be the innovations made in the field of medicine and new treatment procedures. We have successfully invented and researched new treatments for diseases, which have now been partially or completely eradicated from the world. Many diseases like leprosy and polio are now highly contained. Cancer and tuberculosis have found approved medication, while smallpox is, literally, out of the world. However, there are still some diseases which are not completely curable and are kept at bay by using medicines to suppress the symptoms. Such diseases include Parkinson’s disease and diabetes.
In early 1998 two researchers in independent events reported than stem cells from the human body can be utilized for developing new organs and tissues, which can replace diseased body parts and give lasting cure. Stem cells are cells that are not differentiated and are not specific to any type, like skin cells or brain cells. This gives them an ability to grow into any specific type as per their wishes. The events though considered highly innovative, were also criticized for usage of unborn babies or fetuses that were aborted. The stem cells are present in human bodies throughout life, but are predominant at the embryonic stage. Dig through the details that give you a list of advantages and disadvantages of stem cell research.
Advantages Of Stem Cell Research
Can Cure Some Incurable Diseases
Diseases like diabetes, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s may finally meet their match. As stem cells can be used to replace damaged or affected cells, the research may be able to end the problems finally caused by such diseases, which are till now, non treatable due to the irreparable damage caused to the organs.
Can Cure Birth Defects
Stem cells can help cure congenital defects, by trying to correct the cellular level mistakes that took place before birth, thereby treating the child off the defects. This can be injected into the patient, who suffer from any particular deficiency and be allowed to develop into a possible solution.
Replace Or Repair Damaged Organs
This is the most commonly sighted benefit of stem cell research is this process. Any patient who has an urgent need for an organ transplant can have an entire organ be grown from stem cells and replaced into his body. It will be like getting a customized organ, which will not be rejected by the body. In case only a repair is required, this can be performed too. For example, in the case of a damaged spinal cord, stem cells can replace a portion which is damaged.
Cancer is caused by cells which go haywire. Try and imagine a world where cancerous cells can be replaced by good cells and thus eliminating cancer all together. There can also be cures, which utilize the stem cells potential to fight off cancer all together and stop them from spreading. This will save the patients from harmful after-effects of chemotherapy and amputations.
Disadvantages Of Stem Cell Research
While scientists generally agree that for as long as stem cells are derived from cells of volunteering adults, there are no ethical aspects involved. The ethical issues are brought up when stem cells are derived from embryos or aborted fetuses. The problem is that no other type of stem cells can match embryonic stem cells in their potency. Some anti-stem cell organizations claim the research to be anti human and murderous.
Chances Of Tumors
There are chances of uncontrollable growth in the injected stem cells, which can cause tumors and become major problem. The tumors caused can actually become a major problem than the actual disease.