Colby EvensonJ. SwartwoutCollege Writing17 January 2018Stem Cells: The Future of Medicine  The pursuit for a successful cure to life threatening diseases we have not yet found a cure for has been a challenging and daunting task for many scientists. For as long as humans have existed, optimal health has remained crucial for a productive life. When a person develops a disease, cancer, or other life altering health complication, their optimal health decreases which drastically reduces quality of living. Stem cell research is an opportunity to discover a cure for the diseases, cancers, and other complications we haven’t yet been able to cure.  What exactly are stem cells? Stem cells are cells that can be differentiated into specialized cells. There are two types of stem cells and each are categorized based off where they are acquired. Embryonic stem cells are cells that are extracted from an embryo during the blastocyst phase of embryological development, and the other type of stem cells are adult (somatic) stem cells which are stem cells that are extracted from specific tissues. While some believe stem cell research is viewed as an unproven form of medicine, others believe that with proper funding and proper ethics, stem cell research is the beginning to something extraordinary.Although a good portion of people believe stem cell research is vital for the future advancements of medicine, others will say that stem cell research is an unethical, and unproven form or medicine. Yes, stem cells are an unproven form of medicine for now, but with modern technological advancements this will be changed due to proper funding. Embryonic stem cells require scientists to extract the cells from the embryo during the blastocyst phase of embryonic development. The questioning of the ethicality of stem cells is because of this  action. When scientists extract these cells, the embryo itself dies. People view this as scientists  inhumanely “killing” people with stem cell research. However, this is not the case at all. When stem cells are extracted they are extracted at such an early time that the embryo is only a few days old. Many people think scientists are extracting these cells from 6+ month pregnant women. Again  that is not the case. Many of these people wish to see stem cell research to be banned forever but to these people I ask why should we stop researching stem cells? Countless other countries are researching them as well and if we were to give up now we would be handing over the discovery of the cure to everything to another country. All stem cell research, prior to the year 2009, had been conducted entirely without any public funding or help from the government. Because of this, stem cell research has not had the proper technology or resources to conduct experiments resulting in a long pause in stem cell studies. In 2009, President Obama lifted the ban that  reinstated government funding for stem cell research, thus  opening the door for researchers to access technology they have only dreamed about. Obama states: “we will bring the change that so many scientists and researchers; doctors and innovators; patients and loved ones have hoped for, and fought for, these past eight years: we will lift the ban on federal funding for promising embryonic stem cell research” (Obama). Previous to Obama’s appeal, stem cell research had been occurring based off of scientists pockets, fundraising, or loans thus making their research extremely slow and difficult due to the hefty price stem cell research  requires. Now however, scientists have the funding they need to make advances in their studies, and hopefully they will soon have an unbelievable understanding on how to use stem cells and will change the world with them. An example of stem cells already changing the world of medicine is the curing of Timothy Brown. Brown was cured from HIV with a “transplant that came from a donor with a specific kind of mutation that made his immune cells harder for HIV to enter” (Sheridan). Brown’s transplant was so successful that the virus had become undetectable in his blood without  taking the required HIV drugs. Although scientists do not yet fully understand how Brown was cured, they will quickly discover just how this happened  due to the appropriate funding of research scientists are receiving now. This is just one example of how stem cells could transform the world of medicine into a place where anything and everyone can be cured. The clash between ethics and science has and will always be a topic of debate. As homosapiens, our main desire has been to live healthier, stronger, and longer. The human race has developed several methods of medical procedures, medical treatments, medicines, and many other developments. However, with the development of these methods, the question of ethics came  into play. The ethicality of acquiring embryonic stem cells has been excruciatingly scrutinized by the public. The process of acquiring stem cells can be done one of two ways, one way is by isolating the cells from the body in different ways depending on the type of cell. These are called adult stem cells. The second way is by extracting the stem cells from an embryo, these cells are called pluripotent cells  since  they can divide and become essentially any cell in the body. The process of acquiring these types of cells has been closely  examined since the process requires killing unborn babies. In the early 2000s, “Hwang Woo-suk, a South Korean scientist, had claimed he had figured out stem cells….but he was a charlatan, his results were bogus and he had obtained eggs unethically” (Cook). Scientists must obtain embryos that have been volunteered for science, not by stealing, forcing, or killing a pregnant woman for her embryo. The ethicality will be a big factor in whether or not stem cells take off or not. It is also important to note that embryonic stem cells are not the only type of stem cell out there and that we could potentially transform these stem cells to act as embryonic stem cells. This would eliminate all unethicality from the process of acquiring embryonic stem cells. It is also important to note that the curing of Timothy Brown was done with somatic stem cells and not embryonic stem cells. If scientists were to figure out how use these cells correctly they could potentially eliminate the use of embryonic stem cells and the belief that stem cell research is unethical.Even though there is a great amount of controversy surrounding the use of stem cells, it is essential that we persist to continue researching them as they are vital for the future of medicine. The world of medicine will benefit dramatically from the advancements in stem cell research. As of now, stem cell research is still a somewhat unproven use of medicine. However, with the proper funding and proper ethics, it will not be long until the world will feel the impact of stem cells. With funding being provided by the government, it allows for scientists to use the most advanced tests and the best labs for their research to get a full understanding of stem cells. The ethicality of extracting stem cells will become more and more ethical over time as scientists use only volunteered embryos and with the discovery of new stem cells, this could replace embryonic stem cells completely. Stem cells will change the world, it is only a matter of time before people everywhere will be receiving, or hearing of someone receiving stem cells.Works Cited Cook, Michael “Not with a Bang but a Whimper,” MercatorNet, May 31, 2013. Copyright © 2013 by Michael Cook. All rights reserved. Reproduced by permission.Obama, Barack “Remarks of President Barack Obama—As Prepared for Delivery; Signing of Stem Cell Executive Order and Scientific Integrity Presidential Memorandum,” The White House—Presidential Memorandum, March 9, 2009.Sheridan, Kate. “HIV: Scientists Edge Closer to Understanding How Timothy Brown Was Cured with Stem Cells; scientists have a powerful new way to reproduce the success.” Newsweek, 15 Dec. 2017. General OneFile,

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