Stem Cells: The building blocks of life

By Nazia Khan

Stem cells are the cells in the body that can change into another type of cell if there is a low count or a need of it. According to stemcells.nih.gov, stem cells are used to repair damage caused to the body for example, if the red blood cell count was dropping, then some of the stem cells would change into red blood cells.

There are two main types of stem cells; embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. Embryonic stem cells are made from embryos that have developed into fertilized eggs in an in vitro fertilization clinic, unfertilized eggs from a woman.

Adult stem cells are cells that have not evolved into a particular type of cell. They can renew themselves and change into a major organ or tissue cell. The main job is to fix the damaged cells in which organ or tissue they live in.

There is an ongoing controversy that started in August 2001, when President Bush accepted limited federal funding for stem cell research. This research has had promising or possible exceeding medical advances, such as curing the diseases: Diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

Stem cells could also cure anything from spinal cord injuries to a variety of cancers. The people who are against stem cell research believe that a fertilized egg is a person, a living, breathing human that just isn’t walking or talking with us, that still has rights to be safe, protected and defended like any another human.

An advocate of stem cell research would argue that the fertilized eggs would be given with the approval of every couple who donated the fertilized eggs to science that would otherwise be disposed of .
There are many pros and cons like there would be with any other experiment. According to healthguidance.org, this research could help the researchers know more about the development of human cells, but there are also cons to this research, such as, wiping out the blastocysts that are produced in a fertilization laboratory of the human egg.

A disadvantage with the adults stem cells is adult stem cells can only become the type of cell from where it originated, such as if the stem cell came from the heart then it could only turn into a heart cell.