Monday, April 16, 2012

Stem Cell Research Essay

The Guidelines and Social Responsibility of Stem Cell Research

Stem cells are said to be variable cells in the body of the human-being that are capable to reproduce themselves and to produce more cells. They possess big potential value in regenerating and repairing of cells and tissue, which were damaged. Nowadays many states can be currently or potentially treated with the stem cells introduction, that include heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, stroke and diabetes.

Stem cells can be derived from different sources. They can be derived from the foetus or older human embryo, from the early human embryo, from the newborn baby (for instance, from the umbilical cord), from the adult and from the child. Simultaneously with the development of the individual, stem cells become more connected to the definite destination in the body, but there is still space for some degree of flexibility.


Embryonic stem cells are derived from the human embryo after a miscarriage, or during or after an abortion. They can also be derived from the early human embryo after in vitro fertilization (IVF) or after procedures that are similar to it. The IVF embryo may be `reserve’, for example in case of excess to the infertile couple’s demands. As the alternative, the embryo may be specially created for experimental use.

In the near future embryos may be prepared for experimental use by means of cloning. In this process, unfertilized ovum nucleus is substituted by the body cell nucleus from an existing individual. The ovum is after stimulated to produce an embryo. As the nucleus includes approximately all genetic material of the cell, the embryo produced is the clone of the individual from which the nucleus was taken, and could be used as a stem cells source for research and transplantation in the long run.

Sometimes cloning for research is viewed as therapeutic that is opposite to reproductive cloning. During reproductive cloning, the clone is placed to the woman’s body and allowed to mature. It should be also remembered that the cloning process by itself is the same as therapeutic and reproductive cloning: the only distinction is in the purpose for which the clone is supposed to be produced.

The notions `therapeutic’ and `reproductive’ in this situation are not fully correct, as `therapeutic’ cloning is not actually therapeutic for the clone, which is going to die in the course of its cells being taken away when at the age of 5-7 days. It is possible to claim even more, as such cloning is said to be reproductive, because it implies the embryo production, even though this embryo is not supposed to live to the point of being born. Cloning followers admit that the clone embryo is a living human organism at the early stage of its development.

Law and morality are anxious with the respect that is due to human beings as moral issues. People can not be diminished to the amount of their physical parts or their biological behaviors. Competent and mature human beings are able to make decisions for themselves, for which they are supposed to be responsible both legally and morally. In fact, all human beings are members of the human community, and it doesn’t matter whether they are mature enough, as they all share the common humanity.

Human beings are not to be considered just primitive physical objects or animals, as they all have a common merit and significance. But still it is essential to point out that human beings are animals of the definite sort. People are not supposed to consider the real individual as a spirit in his head (or simple consciousness and mind) or a spiritual something that is using a body, as human body is one thing and the personality of the person is totally different.

The Greeks spoke of the human being as of the rational animal and this appears to capture something of a human being true essence, but the term rational should not be defined in too narrow meaning. In the same manner the philosopher Boethius provided the definition of the subject as an individual being which has a rational nature: persona est rationalis naturae individua substantia. Provided definitions have the big advantages of recognizing the transcendence and unity of the human being. The human individual is not just two notions bound together, physical body and spiritual constituent, but one complete being.

Human rights are to be respected by other people and protected by society. Though every separately taken definite human society is looking to restrict those who can be considered to be full members of the society, there is a definite minimum protection that is in general thought due to each human individual, whether he is considered the full citizen or not. Speaking about human rights and social responsibility, it must be taken into consideration that there should have been the universal kind of community to which all human individuals would belong and each individual would have the human rights for the simple reason that he is the human-being.

It is not the situation that embryonic stem cell research provides a real chance in the near future of revolutionary therapy for the serious deceases treatment. It is not also the situation that there are no other promising variants of research. The early embryonic cells pluripotency that is the reason they are considered to be attractive to researchers, is simultaneously the biggest barrier for their involvement. These cells flexibility makes them vagarious in the kinds of cells they create, so that they can be even dangerous for the patient if they used in transplants.

Adult stem cell research is the great promise in this area. Utilization of adult stem cells offers no ethical dilemma and, if personal cells of the patient are utilized, eludes rejection problem. Such treatment, which is already in the development process, is acceptable to the vast majority of patients from the moral standpoint. In the necessary cases, embryonic stem cell research can be made in ethically acceptable ways, on animal embryos cells or, with the parents’ approval, from foetuses who have miscarried.

Scientists are not willing to be restricted in the methods they use in their research, but social responsibility frequently makes legal limits, which appear to be essential and right in the definite case.

There are ethical possibilities which propose better or a least similar instant or/and long term potential solutions, and the government should provide strong review to the moral doubts which have been conveyed and the public concern around the situation of the involvement of embryos for research, and which is even more important- the licensing of human cloning for purposes of research. Stem cell research on clone has been made legal when research adult stem cell is the most progressive.
Cloning prohibition was recommended by the European Parliament, which covered cloning for research along with cloning for birth. It is obvious that if cloning for research is allowed, cloning for birth will be also possible.

Acceptance of cloning for research would also make unavoidable further research on human embryos extensions that are older than 14 days. There are many logical and political controversies on regard of this issue, as cloning prohibition is supported by a great amount of people from all over the world and could provide a protection against further ethical standards destruction within the area of medical research. If society cannot withstand this kind of research attraction, when the benefits are not obvious enough and world community is against it, it is difficult to suppose what it would withstand in the future.
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