Stem Cells: The Building Block Of Life

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The cell is the building block of life. The earliest form of these organisms are called stem cells, which can give rise to potentially any kind of cell. The possibilities of these revolutionary cells are vast, and are currently being applied in many scientific fields, one being the medical field. Stem cell scientists study a four to five day old organism, a ball of one hundred and twenty cells, which has the potential to give rise to a human being. Many think that the protection of human life should be extended to these cells. However, because of its known probability of saving millions, stem cell research should be continued because embryonic stem cells have shown strong evidence to treating many debilitating diseases since they were discovered, …show more content…
In 1981, “Martin Evans of Cardiff University, UK, then at the University of Cambridge, is [was] first to identify embryonic stem cells - in mice” (“Stem Cell Timeline: The history of a medical sensation”). The cloning of Dolly, a Finn Dorset sheep, proved that cloning of mammals was possible when using a procedure known as somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). Less than a decade later, a great breakthrough occurred when James Thomson with a group of scientists found the exact mixture and the right technique to withdraw stem cells from an embryo while keeping them viable. “By using the SNCT procedure to produce human embryos genetically matched to patients and using the techniques developed by Thomson to grow human embryonic stem cells, scientists hope one day to be able to replace or regenerate failing human cells and tissues without complication of tissue rejection” (Langwith 17). Thomson’s work laid a foundation for stem cell therapy, where healthy cells will replace diseased or dysfunctional cells. These cells will attack the root of the illness rather prescribing the current treatment method, which tends to the symptoms. The cells in this area of study are able to live independently under controlled conditions or they can reproduce in the special solutions of petri dishes and test tubes. In these manipulated …show more content…
Research has also shown that blindness due to the retina could be cured by replacing its cells. While many of the cures to these diseases are experimental, there are some current examples of stem cell therapy in practice today. Harvesting the stem cells from a donor 's bone marrow is known as bone marrow transplants. It has been used on patients suffering from leukemia and other cancers. This kind of therapy has seen significant results in sickle cell anemia, a blood disorder (Allman 25). Through experiments, the grafting of skin cells is shown to repair the skin of burn victims, while also showing promise in growing corneas for the blind. Pancreatic cells can be used to grow a completely new liver for diabetics, helping them a way to normally produce insulin. It is even possible that it might lengthen a human’s average lifespan, since aged or dying organs can be replaced. These early results have raised the hopes of many scientists of prospective cures, but the main goal remains for these cells to adjust to an individual’s immune system and begin to function effectively in a patient. However, cell therapy requires painstaking research, and many difficulties are present, mainly the struggle in identifying stem cells once in the body, the

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