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Stem Cell Research Paper Conclusion Paragraph

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Stem Cell Research

March 7, 2010

Stem cell research and its funding have caused enormous controversy over the past decade. Stem cells are pluripotent cells present in all living organisms. These cells can differentiate into any type of cell, including blood cells, nerves, cardiac muscle, and pancreatic islet cells. The scientific community is very excited about the possibility of these undifferentiated cells being used to treat catastrophic conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases, birth defects, spinal cord injuries and strokes, Type I diabetes, cancer, and severely damaged organs. Despite the enormous potential for medical advancements, controversy surrounds the sources and methods of acquiring stem cells and the possible improper uses of the knowledge gained from the experimentation with these cells. It is imperative that science pursue the needed research while addressing any ethical issues.

Stem cells can be obtained from three different sources. The first and most controversial source is an embryonic cell that comes from a three to five day old blastocyst. A blastocyst is a ball of undifferentiated cells that forms after an ovum is fertilized. These are often created by in vitro fertilization for implantation in infertile woman or gestational carriers in order for these women to become pregnant. Some of the “extra” unused blastocysts are frozen for possible future use. These blastocysts and aborted fetuses have been used to create embryonic stem cell lines. The second very rich source of stem cells is the umbilical cord. Blood cells from the cord blood of a newborn infant can be used immediately or frozen for later use by that infant, close relative, or unrelated recipient. The third and most recently discovered source is adult stem cells, or induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS). Adult bone marrow or blood cells can be artificially induced back into unprogrammed cells and then can be used as stem cells to form other somatic cell lines, such as nerves and muscle cells.

The origin of the first argument is the source and process for producing some stem cells, specifically embryonic stem cells. Often, people jump to the conclusion that all stem cells are derived from embryos meaning that a human life must be sacrificed in order to create a stem cell line. Those people who feel that life begins at conception oppose the use of unused blastocysts and aborted fetuses in research, while pro-choice groups generally support embryonic cell studies advocating that new lives were not created just for the purpose of experimentation. In August 2001, President Bush compromised by approving federal funding for research that involved only the 15 already existing stem cell lines. Other cell lines could still be developed with state and private funding. According to various polls, the American public strongly supports federal funding for embryonic stem cell research – over 60% of Democrats and independents and 40% of Republicans. In March 2009, President Obama used an executive order to lift the eight year ban on federal funding to develop new stem cell lines. Potentially, one life could save millions of people from horrendous, unnecessary, tragic illnesses and untimely deaths.

Another controversy around stem cell use is the movement to create siblings who can serve as identical-matched donors. Umbilical cord blood is the typical tissue used in these situations, but occasionally supplemental bone marrow must be used. The use of in vitro fertilization and preimplantation genetic diagnosis has allowed parents to create compatible fetuses who do not have the sibling’s genetic disease. Some people have raised moral and religious objections to creating a horde of embryos that will just get discarded without a thought if they do not meet the right criteria to help the sick sibling. Should a family create a child just to help a sibling, or should they have a baby because the new child would also be special to them? The first reported identical-matched donor case was five year old Molly Nash with Fanconi’s anemia who received cord blood cells from her newborn brother, Adam. To date, 58 siblings have been created for this purpose. In February 2010, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement that outlined strict criteria for using children as blood stem cell donors. The use of umbilical blood cells was not discouraged as long as the newborn infant was not placed at physical risk during delivery. The policy also addressed the psychological threats to both the donor and recipient children. The ongoing controversy over discarding unmatched embryos may be resolved by using the newly discovered adult stem cells.

The discovery of adult stem cells, or iPS, has excited the scientific community, but these cells still have their problems. An already differentiated body cell must be genetically reprogrammed back into an unprogrammed pluripotent cell that looks like an early embryo. The advantage is that an embryo does not have to be created, but the disadvantage is that cancer-causing oncogenes and retroviruses must be used to “unprogram” the adult cells. This could lead to an increased risk of cancer in already compromised patients. These cells could be used to treat a host of horrible human conditions from birth defects to heart disease and degenerative neurologic conditions. Scientists working in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine hope to someday use the cells from the intended recipient to create a new custom designed cell type or even a perfectly matched organ to replace damaged tissue.

With new knowledge comes a new concern about the creative misuse of this information. There are growing fears that stems cells would be used not only to clone new organs but could be used to clone whole new preferred populations. Some are concerned about the unintended consequences of new cancers or illnesses from retroviruses. Others argue that we should not mess with human life, and we should not be trying to play God. Research and medical organizations could allay the fears of the public by issuing policy statements similar to the one published by the American Academy of Pediatrics and by closely regulating the use of stem cell lines.

The potential social and economic benefits of the many that could be saved far outweigh the detriments of loss of life or limited funding. Adult and umbilical cells are emerging as the more advantageous sources with the fewest ethical controversies. Umbilical cells would be even more acceptable if genetic matches could be determined before an ovum is fertilized and an embryo is formed. That way an innocent life would not need to be sacrificed. It is essential that scientists zealously pursue stem cell research while valuing all life.





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Embryonic Stem Cells Essay - With A Free Essay Review




Oscar Alvarado; Ms. Clark; Biology; Period 5; 29 November 2011

Embryonic stem cells

Stem cells have largely been researched and used in the biomedical world by scientists and researchers. The reason why stem cells have been highly researched and studied is they have a potential to be a cure for diseases. Embryonic stem cells have been known to be very effective, but it has been a highly controversial topic. Embryonic stem cells come from a four or five day old human embryo that is in the blastocyst phase of its development. To get the stem cells you need to destroy the embryo by aborting and then extracting the stem cells. When researching and using embryonic stem cells an ethical issue comes up, and a scientist must have in their conscience whether it is worth saving a human life at the expense of destroying a potential human being. Of course there are two sides to this issue, in which one side is in favor of it because of its potential to save a human life from life threatening diseases, and the other side is against it because of its unethical practice of destroying a potential human life.

To fully understand this controversial topic and to develop an opinion, one must know what stem cells are, and how and why they are used. A stem cell is an undifferentiated cell that has the ability to differentiate into specialized cells, such as brain cells, red blood cells, muscle cells, etc. They are only two types of cells, which are adult stem cells, and embryonic stem cells as previously stated. Adult stem cells come from the body and are generally found in different types of tissue. They are normally found in the brain, bone marrow, skin, etc. A common way adult stem cells have been gotten from is a bone marrow transplantation (hematopoietic stem cells), where they are normally donated by patients with diseases. Adult stem cells are kind of like reserve cells or extra cells, in the sense that they only divide once they need to treat a disease or tissue injury. They have been known to regenerate entire organs. The reason why stem cells are used is because they the ability to regenerate damaged tissue, and they can also treat diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and cancer. With researching stem cells, we can learn about human development, and further enhance our knowledge of how genes can play a crucial role in what genetic traits or mutation we receive from our parents. They can also be used to develop better or new drugs.

After stating information and facts about stem cells, one can notice that stem cells have been very important for science in the past years. It can cure diseases, regenerate damaged tissues, and even make entire organs. Although stem cells can do all of this, embryonic stem cells are a big controversy and one must ask themselves, “when does life begin?”

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ESSAY REVIEW

You introduce and conclude your essay in such a way as to imply that you are writing about the ethics of embryonic stem-cell research. But you don't actually write such an essay. I'm not sure whether you intended to and then decided not to, or whether the ethical problematic was always peripheral to the task of explaining just what stem cells are and why they might be useful, but as it stands your essay looks incomplete.

You introduce your second paragraph in the same vein as you begin and end your essay: "To fully understand this controversial topic and to develop an opinion, one must know what stem cells are, and how and why they are used." But if the "controversial topic" is whether we should use embryonic stem cells for research, then your essay does not anywhere actually reveal your understanding of that topic, and you don't openly articulate an opinion.

You conclude your essay, then, with a question the elusive answer to which would presumably, in your view, solve the problem, but you don't explain why you think that question is important. One could argue that indeed, strictly speaking, human life begins at the moment of that glorious union of seed and egg without, for all that, thinking there is anything especially ethically problematic in sacrificing the embryo for the sake of possible cures for fully developed humans. The question for the person who argues in that way is not, When does life begin? but, When does life become worth caring about? Those are different questions, even if for some the answer to both would be the same.

An additional problem with the second paragraph is that despite the promise that a discussion of the nature of stems cells will leave one better able to form an opinion on the controversy, the paragraph doesn't in fact say anything at all that could obviously help one form an opinion, for the simple reason that the controversy concerns embryonic stem cells but the paragraph concerns adult stem cells.

What I want to suggest, then, is fairly predictable: Either drop the stuff about ethical controversy all together, and introduce your essay and, especially, the second paragraph differently, or actually enter the ethical debate, explain the ethical issues more fully, and form an opinion about the matter.

If you are going to enter the ethical debate, then you ought, I think, not rely on the usual, cliched, and flatly wrong terms of the debate. The question is not whether life is sacred (that's a religious question, not an ethical one; ethics does not recognize the concept of sanctity as such), or whether life begins at conception or birth or some indeterminate point in between the two (that's a silly, irresolvable debate, except insofar as we know, biologically speaking, that there is no reason to deny the attribute of life to any fertilized egg). Once we get rid of the false notion that life is sacred, and replace it with an ethically meaningful claim (such as: we have an interest in life, we believe life has value, we consider life a good thing, or something like that), then we can have the debate that matters: when it comes to deciding between the development of medicine and the potential for life represented by the embyro, what should we decide to sacrifice? But even that is probably a bogus debate in practical terms since there is no actual need to harvest (as it were!) embryos for the sake of getting embryonic stem cells, since there exist an excess of embryos harvested, in the first place, for in vitro fertilization.

Finally, for what it's worth, in the actual and serious matter of your last question ("when does life begin?") I am pretty confident that, after years of deliberate reflection on this question, the only correct answer is that life begins on Friday night, which is fast approaching. So happy weekend!

Best, EJ.

Submitted by: WritingSkills2011

Tagged...ethics of embryonic stem cells, stem cell controversy, ethics essay, essay writing help



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