Sunday, April 01, 2007

Coffee Talk

Stem Cell Research: Pros vs Cons

This past week Dem. Governor Deval Patrick announced the he will work towards the reversal of the stem cell research restriction that his predecessor Mitt Romney had put in place. Gov. Patrick believes that the scientific community should have freedom so there “imagination and creativity can have the full range of its potential”. Romney’s restrictions were put in place to eliminate the mass farming of embryos. Stem Cell research is basically focusing on stem cells to gain a better understanding of how normal cells develop.

Pros:
1. The knowledge gained on normal cell development may help lead to a way to correct the path of cells gone wrong.

2. According to the National Institutes of Health, the pluripotnent stem cell could be a "renewable source of replacement cells and tissues to treat a myriad of diseases, conditions, and disabilities including Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, spinal cord injury, stroke, burns, heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis".

3. There is a primitive stem cell in cord blood that can grow new knee ligaments or elbow tendons. This is going to be used in sports medicine in the very near future.

Con:
1. The downside of these scientific advancements is always ethics. The same ethics that are often tossed aside in the name of progress. It is not so much the use of donated human embryos, but it is the potential abuse of the ability to create an embryo, leading to the mass production of embryos. I suppose it depends on which side of the abortion issue you stand on, but in my mind an embryo is a life. The mass production of human life to then extract cell and discard the remains.

Questions: The positives are monumental in impact as more individuals find themselves with these diseases, but do the ends justify the means? Talk amongst yourselves...