The science and ethics of stem

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The science and ethics of stem

Media coverage on embryonic stem cells in particular stem cells that are taken from an early embryo has been polarised. So what are they, miracle cure or tampering with nature? What is a stem cell? A stem cell is a type of cell in our body that is undifferentiated.

That is, a cell that has yet to become a particular type such as a skin cell, a muscle cell or a liver cell. Types of stem cell There are two broad categories of stem cell: Stem cells are also classified by their potency — their ability to become other types of cells.

Unipotent — gives rise to just one type of cell. Multipotent — can give rise to several types of cells, but are limited. One example is haematopoietic cells, which can differentiate into all types of blood cells. Pluripotent — has the potential to develop into nearly all the cells in the body.

For example, stem cells isolated from an embryo. Totipotent — has the ability to create any cell. The only true human totipotent cell is a zygote when a sperm fertilises an egg. After about 4 days of replicating, they begin to specialise to create pluripotent cells.

In medicine, they hold exciting possibilities to be used in cell replacement therapies, regenerative medicine, and are useful clinical tools for drug stem cell screening and research. This is an interesting one to consider — there are no ethical considerations with the source of the cells as no embryos are used to create them, and there is no risk of immune rejection.

The donor cells are then transplanted into the patient, restoring the ability to create bone marrow. It is not known as a controversial treatment, although as it is a dangerous procedure it is only normally performed in patients with a life-threatening condition.

Dolly the sheep was the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell. However, human reproductive cloning is illegal in the UK and many other countries.

A normal adult cell somatic cell is taken from the patient and the nucleus the part containing all the genetic information is removed.Historian and philosopher Philip Sloan says the university is also looking into offering graduate training on adult stem cell issues to humanities, law, and science students.

The Human Embryonic Stem Cell Debate: Science, Ethics, and Public Policy, edited by social ethics academics Suzanne Holland, Karen Lebacqz and Laurie Zoloth and third in MIT's Basic Bioethics series edited by Glenn McGee and Arthur Caplan, gathers 20 essays by scholars (including the editors) of theology, biology, medicine, medical and Reviews: 5.

The Harvard Stem Cell Institute and Harvard Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology advance the understanding of human development and disease, support the discovery of stem cell-based therapies and cures for diseases, create collaborations across traditional institutional and disciplinary boundaries, and teach and train the next.

Stem cell research and the potential use of human embryonic stem cells in clinical therapy is a controversial issue which splits both scientific and public opinion. The current conflict over. So the ability to derive a stem cell without using human embryonic tissue changed the debate about stem cell research ethics.

Plenty of Issues But there are still plenty of hot-button topics in the field.

The science and ethics of stem

Founded in , The Hastings Center is the world’s first bioethics research institute. It is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization of research scholars from multiple disciplines, including philosophy, law, political science, and education.

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