Quantcast


Twitter icon


Facebook icon

About this site
About us
Our beliefs
Is this your first visit?
Contact us
External links

Recommended books

Visitors' essays
Our forum
New essays
Other features
Buy a CD of this site
Vital notes

World religions
BUDDHISM
CHRISTIANITY
Christian def'n
 Shared beliefs
 Handling change
 Bible topics
 Bible inerrancy
 Bible harmony
 Interpret the Bible
 Persons
 Beliefs & creeds
 Da Vinci code
 Revelation 666
 Denominations
HINDUISM
ISLAM
JUDAISM
WICCA / WITCHCRAFT
Other religions
Cults and NRMs
Comparing Religions

Non-theistic beliefs
Atheism
Agnosticism
Humanism
Other

About all religions
Main topics
Basic information
Gods & Goddesses
Handling change
Doubt & security
Quotes
Movies
Confusing terms
Glossary
End of the World?
True religion?
Seasonal events
Science vs. Religion
More information

Spiritual/ethics
Spirituality
Morality & ethics
Absolute truth

Peace/conflict
Attaining peace
Religious tolerance
Religious freedom
Religious hatred
Religious conflict
Religious violence

"Hot" topics
Very hot topics
Ten Commandments
Abortion access
Assisted suicide
Cloning
Death penalty
Environment

Same-sex marriage

Homosexuality
Human rights
Gays in the military
Nudism
Origins
Sex & gender
Sin
Spanking
Stem cells
Transexuality
Women-rights
Other topics

Laws and news
Religious laws
Religious news

Sponsored links

 

!!!!!!!! Search error!  If the URL ends something like .htm/  or .htm# delete the character(s) after .htm and hit return.

Morality; controversial topics

Menu

Stem cell research: All viewpoints.

horizontal rule

About stem cells:

Stem cells are a special form of human life: they are alive and contain human DNA. They have a unique feature in that they can be coaxed into developing into some or all of the 220 cell types found in the human body. Eventually, stem cells may be routinely used by doctors to generate new organs or new replacement body parts for people: They might become a new pancreas to cure a person with diabetes, or new nerve cells to cure a paralized person, etc.

There are three types of stem cells:

  • Embryonic stem cells: A pre-embryo -- a just fertilized embryo called a blastocyst -- consists of many undifferentiated stem cells surrounded by a covering. Embryonic stem cells are usually obtained by a destructive process that extracts the cells while killing the blastocyst itself.

    • Main advantage: Embryonic stem cells can theoretically become any of the 220 cell types found in the human body. Thus they can theoretically be made into any organ or body part.

    • Main disadvantage: Many religious and social conservatives who are also pro-life believe that a pre-embryo from which embryonic stem cells are removed is an actual human person perhaps one with a soul. The process of extracting the cells is then considered to have intentionally murdered that person. Others disagree, and believe that human personhood starts much later, sometime during the embryonic, fetal or newborn stage. No scientific test has ever proven the existence of a soul.

  • Adult stem cells are obtained from a person's bone marrow, from lipid cells from adipose tissue, or blood -- including blood the umbilical cord of a newborn.
    • Main advantages: Obtaining adult stem cells is a non-destructive process. The DNA in the stem cells is identical to the DNA of the person from whom the cells are removed. Thus if the stem cells are used to fabricate a new organ or body part, there is no possibility of rejection. Also, research has been underway for about 25 years more than embryonic stem cells, so that they are now routinely used in medical procedures. In comparison, embryonic stem cell reasearch are still at the initial experimental trial state.

    • Main disadvantage: They are less useful in that they have already started to specialize and can only become one of a few cell types.

  • Induced pluripotent stem cells (ipS) are specially treated adult cells that can be processed to behave somewhat like embryonic stem cells. This is a recent development that offers great promise. A Japanese research team in 2006 developed the initial iPS process. In 2014, a different Japanese team found a much simpler method. By exposing adult cells to stress, they can be converted to stem cells. The system was developed by Haruko Obokata, a stem-cell biologist at the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe, Japan. Successful stressors are a low pH (acidic) enviromnment, a bacterial toxin that perforates the cell membrane, and physical squeeing were each able to convert the cells so that they showed markers of pluripotency. According to Nature magazine, she has already:

    "...reprogrammed a dozen cell types, including those from the brain, skin, lung and liver, hinting that the method will work with most, if not all, cell types. On average, she says, 25% of the cells survive the stress and 30% of those convert to pluripotent cells — already a higher proportion than the roughly 1% conversion rate of iPS cells." 1

horizontal rule

Sponsored link.

horizontal rule

The National Institutes of Health web site states:

"To realize the promise of novel cell-based therapies for such pervasive and debilitating diseases, scientists must be able to manipulate stem cells so that they possess the necessary characteristics for successful differentiation, transplantation, and engraftment. The following is a list of steps in successful cell-based treatments that scientists will have to learn to control to bring such treatments to the clinic. To be useful for transplant purposes, stem cells must be reproducibly made to:

  • Proliferate extensively and generate sufficient quantities of tissue.
  • Differentiate into the desired cell type(s).
  • Survive in the recipient after transplant.
  • Integrate into the surrounding tissue after transplant.
  • Function appropriately for the duration of the recipient's life.
  • Avoid harming the recipient in any way.

Also, to avoid the problem of immune rejection, scientists are experimenting with different research strategies to generate tissues that will not be rejected.

To summarize, stem cells offer exciting promise for future therapies, but significant technical hurdles remain that will only be overcome through years of intensive research."

Topics covered in this section:

bullet

Overview:

bulletBackground information (Please read these first):
bulletMore quotations. What are stem cells? Existing surplus embryos
bullet More information on adult, induced pluripotent and embryonic stem cells

bulletTypes of stem cells:
bulletDo adult stem cells have potential?
bulletAmniotic stem cells discovered
bulletMethods developed to create Induced Pluripotent Stem (iPS) Cells

bulletExperimental treatments using embryonic and adult stem cells

bulletEthical and legal implications:
bulletAbout extracting new stem cells from embryos
bulletResearch performed on descendents of stem cells
bulletThe problem of surplus embryos in fertility clinics
bulletIn opposing stem cell research, are pro-life leaders ignoring the real problems?
bulletMethods of obtaining embryonic stem cells with fewer ethical concerns
 
bulletPolitical activity:
bulletPolitical concerns
bulletPresident Bush's restriction of research in 2001 & President Obama's 2009 reversal
bulletCalifornia stem cell research law, 2002-SEP
bulletMissouri amendment, 2006-NOV

 
bullet

Recent news:


bulletAdditional information:
bulletBecoming politically active; links to other information sources

horizontal rule

Sponsored link:

horizontal rule

Reference used:

The following information source wasused to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.

  1. David Cyranoski, "Acid bath offers easy path to stem cells," Nature, 2-14-JAN-29, at: http://www.nature.com/

horizontal rule

Site navigation:

 Home page > here

 Home page > Morality > here

Home page > Hot topics > here

Copyright © 1998 to 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2014-SEP-15
Author: B.A. Robinson

line.gif (538 bytes)
Sponsored link:

horizontal rule

Go to the previous page, or to the Home page or to the "Morality menu," or to the "Hot religious topics menu," or choose

Google
Web ReligiousTolerance.org

Go to home page  We would really appreciate your help

E-mail us about errors, etc.  Hot, controversial topics

FreeFind search, lists of new essays...  Having problems printing our essays?

Twitter link

Facebook icon

Google Page Translator:

This page translator works on Firefox,
Opera, Chrome, and Safari browsers only

After translating, click on the "show
original" button at the top of this
page to restore page to English.

 
 
 
Sponsored links: