Stem cell research essay questions

The results are presented in figure 5.

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The number of iPS cell papers related to drug development has clearly grown fast since the first iPS cell paper was published in , as it has since surpassed the numbers of ES and hES cell papers related to drug development. Source: SciVal. Stem cell research has provoked debate regarding the ethics and regulation of the research and resulting therapies. Initially these discussions focused largely on the moral status of the embryo. The discovery of iPS cells raised the possibility that ES cell research would no longer be necessary, thereby circumventing the ethical issues present in embryonic research.

This has not been the case, as the stem cell field continues to rely both on ES and iPS cell research to progress the understanding of pluripotency and potential applications 5.

Stem Cell Research : Stem Cells

Furthermore, iPS cell research is not free of ethical considerations in terms of how they may be used as well as the question of tissue ownership. Looking at the data, we see continued publications in ES and hES, but do observe that the global volume of iPS publications has surpassed the volume of hES cell publications in see Figure 6. There also seems to be an overall slowing in growth, and even a recent decrease in world ES and hES cell publication output.

We also examined the publication trends of China and the United States specifically, to see whether we can observe the impact of country level policy decisions in the publication data. China is a country which shows steady growth in stem cell research supported by its major funding initiatives.


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In , the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology MOST launched two independent stem cell programs followed by a number of funding initiatives intended to further promote stem cell research, applications and public awareness. At the same time, China has been working to strengthen ethical guidelines and regulations.

Confronted with the healthcare needs of a rapidly aging population of nearly 1. Looking at the publication data from our study, we see that stem cell publications have grown from representing 0. The United States is an interesting case study because, as reported in our study, they are the world leader in stem cell research considering that they produce the highest absolute publication volume, as well as high relative activity levels, indicating a high focus on stem cell research, and show high field-weighted citation impact.

Stem Cell Essay | Major Tests

Yet, they have had to grapple with the practical and ethical dilemmas that are inherent in this field, and changing views of different administrations, as governments changed. The result is a series of policy changes, some of which limited federal funding for hES cell research, while others loosened the limitations. In figure 8 we map such policies along with the corresponding publication output relative to total country output. Despite the restrictive policies between and , the United States show steady output growth, which has been supported through individual, state and industry funding as well as donations.

We do observe changes in hES cell publication output that coincide with changes in regulation. While such changes in publication output are probably not best explained using a one factor model, these findings are hardly surprising, as we expect science policy to greatly impact scientific activity.

Such an analysis can provide insight into the degree to which science policy has indeed affected publication output. Source: Scopus and various sources for policy decisions. In recent years, stem cell research has grown remarkably, showing a growth rate more than double the rate of world research publications from to However, this increase is not uniform across all stem cell research areas.

Our analysis showed that both ES and hES fields have grown more slowly than the stem cell field overall. In contrast, iPS cell publications have shown explosive growth, as would be expected of a new and promising field of research, and iPS cell publication volumes surpassed that of hES cell publications in However, both cell types continue to be highly active areas.

This high-growth, high-impact field encompasses research across many cell types, with a focus ranging from the most fundamental to the clinical. Stem cell research is developing fast, with some experimental pluripotent stem cell treatments already in clinical trials.

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Defining a Life: The Ethical Questions of Embryonic Stem Cell Research (Revised)

Active debates are underway to adapt regulatory frameworks to address the specific challenges of developing, standardizing, and distributing cell-based therapies, while advances in basic research continue to provide a fuller understanding of how stem cells can be safely and effectively used. Cell replacement or transplantation therapies are not the only application of stem cell research: already the first steps are being taken towards use of cells derived from pluripotent stem cells, in drug discovery and testing.

The Ethical Questions of Stem Cell Research

It is with great interest and anticipation that we watch the further development of this exciting field of science. All rights reserved. Cookies are set by this site. To decline them or learn more, visit our Cookies page. It's not easy to obtain stem cells. Once harvested from an embryo, stem cells require several months of growth before they can be used. Obtaining adult stem cells, such as from bone marrow, can be painful.

As promising as the field is, stem cell treatments still are unproven, and they often have high rejection rates. The cost also can be prohibitive for many patients, with a single treatment costing well into the thousands of dollars, as of For those who believe that life begins at conception, the blastocyst is a human life, and to destroy it is unacceptable and immoral. A similar theological problem is an idea of creating living tissue in a laboratory and whether that represents humans taking on the role of God.

This argument also applies to the potential for human cloning. For those who believe God created people, the prospect of people creating people is troublesome. In , the first published research paper on the topic reported that stem cells could be taken from human embryos. Subsequent research led to the ability to maintain undifferentiated stem cell lines pluripotent cells and techniques for differentiating them into cells specific to various tissues and organs. The debates over the ethics of stem cell research began almost immediately in , despite reports that stem cells cannot grow into complete organisms.

In —, governments worldwide were beginning to draft proposals and guidelines to control stem cell research and the handling of embryonic tissues and reach universal policies.


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  • In the U. Australia, Germany, the United Kingdom, and other countries followed suit and formulated their own policies. Debates over the ethics of studying embryonic stem cells continued for nearly a decade until the use of adult-derived stem cells—known as induced pluripotent stem cells IPSCs —became more prevalent and alleviated those concerns. Use of adult-derived stem cells—known as induced pluripotent stem cells IPSCs —from blood, cord blood, skin, and other tissues have been demonstrated as effective in treating different diseases in animal models.

    Umbilical cord-derived stem cells obtained from the cord blood also have been isolated and used for various experimental treatments. Another option is uniparental stem cells.

    Although these cell lines are shorter-lived than embryonic cell lines, uniparental stem cells hold vast potential if enough research money can be directed that way: pro-life advocates do not technically consider them individual living beings. Two recent developments from stem cell research involve the heart and the blood it pumps. In , researchers in Scotland began working on the possibility of generating red blood cells from stem cells in order to create a large supply of blood for transfusions.

    A few years earlier, researchers in England began working on polymers derived from bacteria that can be used to repair damaged heart tissue. The Balance uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By using The Balance, you accept our.